The last time he wore the hat of a film director was in 1999, with the film "Kartoos". Since then, Mahesh Bhatt has nurtured many new talents in Bollywood. As the veteran gears up for his new directorial venture "Sadak 2", he says that the movie is not his 'comeback' film as director.
"Sadak 2" is the sequel to the 1991 film "Sadak".
"I have never thought that I will come and direct a film like 'Sadak 2' after 20 years, but you know, I am not intending to call it my second innings or a new beginning as a filmmaker. It just happened… I do not know what tomorrow brings but I am certainly not getting into that phase with lots of scripts where I will keep on directing films," Bhatt told IANS here.
He has made his acting debut this year with the film "Yours Truly", directed by Sanjay Nag, and which went live on OTT platform ZEE5 on Friday. It also features his actress wife Soni Razdan.
Talking about his acting debut, the "Arth" maker said: "I was surprised myself when Sanjay called me and very sincerely urged me to play a part in 'Yours Truly'. It is a special appearance. I told him that, 'Look, I am not an actor. I have always been behind the camera, but if you think that I fit the part, I will do it for you'."
"One of the reasons why said 'yes' to the offer is quite close to my heart. This is the first time my wife Soni is playing a lead role in a film and I was offered a role in the same film. My children will get a chance to see their parents together on-screen," the 70-year-old filmmaker said with a smile.
As the film is set in Kolkata, sharing his experience of working over there, Bhatt said: "It was wonderful to shoot there. My scene was set in a railway station. It was an early morning shot and Sanjay comes with a very minimalist approach. So we shot it in half a day.
"It was interesting to be directed by Sanjay because he is very precise with his scene. He is good."
In the 1990s era, Bhatt made his space with films like "Daddy", "Zakhm", "Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke" and "Gumraah" among others. All his films are narrative-driven as opposed to star-driven.
He says he has been a believer of a story over star power.
"I think it takes us a lifetime to understand that if it is not in the page, it is not in the stage. No matter what, the story has to work. All the characters, stars, how we are mounting the film, comes later. If the story works overall, things will flow automatically.
"But then, a good story is a miracle, it is certainly not easy to churn out a good narrative."
Isn't it more challenging?
"Yes, it is challenging. If you are making cinema that is personal, that does not conform to the direction of the market, it is always challenging and you should not expect the world to roll out a red carpet for you to make it. But there comes the choice. You, as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, take a call. There comes the conviction of a filmmaker.
"So make a film only if you believe in the story because there are two phases of challenges waiting for you. Initially, getting finance to make the film. Eventually, getting a good release… This is expensive. But without a good release, you won't reach the audience. Yes, filmmaking is a tough journey."