Filmmaker Hansal Mehta has moved on from Simran, the controversial film with a super-controversial leading lady. Kangana Ranaut and Hansal are still in touch. “She is busy with her work I am busy with mine. But we do connect. In fact I just recommended a beautiful short story to her to read. But having said that, we’ve both moved on from Simran. I don’t think there has been a female protagonist in our cinema like the one that Kangana played. I am proud of Simran. It wasn’t the disaster that it’s being made out to be.”
Hansal is equally proud of Bose Dead/Alive, “It’s been seen via streaming by more people than any other film of mine. We worked on it like a full feature film. No cutting of costs no compromises. We had a new director Pulkit while I served as a creative director. It was challenge to bring Netaji’s life to life. Rajkummar Rao gained oodles of weight in the middle of his other assignments so that he ‘d look convincing and credible as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.”
Rajkkumar Rao is an actor Hansal is tremendously proud of. “He is not scared of taking on any role and going to any lengths for it. 2017 was a watershed year for Rajkummar. I am very proud of him. I take all his achievements very personally. Every award he wins is a reward for me.”
Hansal is all set to begin work on another bio-pic, this time on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Says Hansal, “Again I am associated only as a creative consultant. But my involvement with bringing alive the politician’s story is complete. We did a photo session with Anupam Kher who plays Manmohan Singh. And the resemblance was uncanny. I think we’re on to something special here. We go on the floors in February 2018.”
Something more special in Hansal’s life… “My son Jay Mehta is turning into an independent director in 2018.He has finished his script and his film begins shooting early next year.”
In the meanwhile Hansal prepares for a battle with the censor board for the clearance of his film Omerta on the life of the alleged 26/11 mastermind Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. “We’ve had screenings of the film the world over. We showed it at the Toronto Film Festival to packed houses. We did a screening at MAMI. And I’ve recently returned from a screening of Omerta at the Florence Film Festival where the audience was almost fully Italian. They understood the context of the point I was making about State-sanctioned terrorism. I hope our censor board will get the point too. If they don’t I am ready for battle. I won’t take any cuts,” says Hansal who has never ceased to be a fighter.
“If I don’t respect my own thoughts and ensure its sanctity why would the audience respect what I make?” reasons Hansal and adds, “I couldn’t have asked for a better year than 2017.”