Flying from city to city to promote Talaash is taking its toll on director Reema Kagti’s nerves. Suffering from a serious problem of aviophobia, Reema is going through the worst ordeal of her life.
Reliving her city to city ordeal Reema says, “It’s hell. This whole promotional spree is new to me. When I released Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd five years ago marketing was not such a big deal. In any case the film had an ensemble cast of talented actors who didn’t really need promotion. But Talaash has three huge stars in the cast. You cannot not promote the film when you have such commercially large names in the cast. So here I am traveling when I am petrified of flying. Every time I sit on the plane I think this would be my last journey. Every time we land I run out and kiss the tarmac.”
For Reema the anticipation for her film’s release is exceeded by the terror of travel that precedes the release. “I am yet to begin getting nervous about how the film would be received. I’ve done what I had to. It’s been a long gap between my first and second film. In-between I wasn’t sitting idle. I co-wrote Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and also assisted Zoya on Luck By Chance. As far as direction goes, I had to take an enforced sabbatical after directing my first film.”
The real reason for the delay in starting Reema’s second film was Aamir Khan.
Says Reema, “I wrote Talaash and wanted to pitch it to Aamir. But at that time Aamir said he wasn’t even listening to any scripts. So I set that script aside and got down to writing another script. But then I don’t know why Aamir changed his mind and agreed to hear my script. He heard Talaash and he was on. I waited four years after my first film. But it was worth it.”
Reema pooh-poohs Aamir’s reputation of interference, and the problems the other two female filmmakers Deepa Mehta and Anusha Rizvi had while working with him. “I don’t know about his experiences with others. With me the suggestions were always made in the spirit of participation and I welcomed them. Besides, he was also the co-producer on this project. So his participation was doubly valid. He has this awesome reputation as a man who delivers successful cinema. I don’t want to let him down. Not once did Aamir, Rani or Kareena make me feel as though they were big stars. They are cool and chilled-out people.”
Reema says she has never felt disadvantaged as a woman filmmaker, nor has she ever seen herself as a gender-driven filmmaker. “Let’s face it. We live in a patriarchal society. You will see men predominant in every field. But that’s slowly changing in all walks of life, even in cinema. Here we have Farah Khan, Zoya Akhtar and I .We don’t make women-centric films the way female directors used to in the 1980’s and 90’s.”
To a large extent Reema agrees her journey as a female filmmaker has been easy because of the people she is associated with. “Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani , Zoya Akhtar and their company Excel are like family to me. It’s not about a contract but relationships. I was 22 when I came from my home in Assam to Mumbai. It was relatively easy for me because I found the right support system. Would I leave Excel to explore other avenues of filmmaking? Why would I give up a great relationship just for a change?”
Watch Promo: Talaash