Young director Siddharth Anand can stake claim on knowing his mentor Aditya Chopra inside out. After all he has shared a close personal and working association with Adi (as he is fondly called) for over a decade and has been with him for the time period when Yash Raj Films was expanding its horizon and branching into multiple films by roping in newer directors.
“I take pride in the fact that I was the first in-house assistant director who was given a break by Yash Raj Films. They entrusted me with Salaam Namaste“, says Siddharth who went on to make Ta Ra Rum Pum and Bachna Ae Haseeno with Chopras as well before collaborating with Sajid Nadiadwala on Anjaana Anjaani.
He prides in admitting that he is very arrogant when it comes to his job. Though in his personal life, Siddharth doesn’t mind chilling out; when it comes to his stint on the sets he likes to be his own boss.
“People know that I will make life hell for the people who interfere with my work. I don’t listen to anybody and even Adi knew that. Even when I was an Assistant Director, I used to have my own voice”, laughs Siddharth.
Ask him if there was a different situation on the sets on Anjaana Anjaani and he reiterates that there was no diktat whatsoever in the new set up that he enjoyed. “This way I have been fortunate because Sajid has been totally non-interfering. It was a dream to be working on the film because I was totally pampered. Everyone should make at least one film with him. It seemed like I was working in my dad’s company”, he winks.
While he shares similar sentiments when reminded of his working experience with Adi, Siddharth feels sad that due to the film maker’s flexible ways, some people take an undue advantage.
“By nature, Adi never forces down ideas into director. It is his intrinsic nature that he never over-writes a director. Now while this is really great, sometimes people do take advantage of this”, ponders Siddharth, “I feel that he should put his foot down. There are only a select few people in the world who are fortunate enough to work with Adi. They should value that.”
Still, doesn’t he feel that his long stint with Yash Raj Films meant that he had to stay away from PR and marketing; reason being that the production house is known for keeping everything in control without going overboard. Does he feel that he missed on some personal mileage gaining as well?
“Yash Raj Films’ don’t stop anyone from marketing himself”, Siddharth negates the insinuation here, “However, if marketing means getting yourself self clicked at airports and events then sorry, that’s not my idea. I don’t attend a single premiere, I stay away from social culture and parties and hence I don’t get clicked. If I have to watch a film, I go to theatres because at trials or premiers, it becomes difficult for me to go and tell a person on his face that his film isn’t good. I don’t go to parties because I am a teetotaller. But hey, don’t get me wrong. I am a normal guy; I am not a recluse at all.”
But then isn’t low visibility detrimental to a film maker’s career? “Well, I may rather be under rated than over rated”, smiles Siddharth before signing off.