There’s nothing more enjoyable than enjoying your hot cuppa black coffee with one of Indian Film Industry’s biggest names, Ekta Kapoor. She orders her ‘pint’ of diet coke and her cup of refreshing green tea. I recall one of my most memorable experiences of meeting Ekta Kapoor during her birthday last year. My first interaction with her was when I gifted her a hand-made painting called ‘Once Upon a Time in Balaji’. It was my interpretation of the surreal rise of India’s biggest entertainment company. Today when I sit in front of her looking right in her eyes, I feel I wasn’t wrong when I painted the idea on paper. Balaji is filled with colours. It’s a mix bunch of colourful and creative people smiling all day through, of course, from the occasional Ekta outburst I’m sure. Inside, the talks are ranging from Shor In The City to Ragini MMS to Dabangg to Tusshar to Jeetuji to Kainaz Motivala to Vidya Balan. In short, all positive talks, thanks to the positive vibes one gets when they enter any of the seven floors of the Balaji office. Ekta comes as a self assured strong young woman but there is still something enigmatic about her. I’ve been reading about her since two decades – newspapers, magazines, television, gossip mongers… you name it. We’ve been able to fly to the moon for four decades and more, but one of the best known faces in the world, I can’t seem to crack in any real way. My interview gets over and off I leave Ekta’s private cabin. But just as I was about to leave the Balaji building, I stew on our conversation for a second and smile. I guess I cracked it!
“We always deliver what we promise our audiences”
Your promos and promotions promise an experience and that’s why I think every audience comes into a theatre. The audiences come to watch that experience. If Dabangg promises Salman‘s one liners and masala, they come to watch that. When one comes to watch Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, they want to watch the thrills of the seventies. You go for a Golmaal, you want to see family entertainment with loads of humour. When you go in to see an Anurag Kashyap film, you want a dark and an edgier experience. And all these films deliver what they promise. Ragini MMS promises you the scariest ‘date’ movie. I’m sure people want to take their girlfriends or boyfriends and go in to have the chills. Even Shor In The City promised a black comedy and it delivered. Mostly people go in for three hours for that experience. I’m trying to be generic because they don’t want too much but they want what they’ve been promised.
“I am not only proud of Tusshar but I think he is my prized possession”
I think it’s my dad that we all are really proud of. My father came from a chawl and became a top star in Bollywood and worked very hard for us. When I look at my dad, I feel very good that my papa did so much. With Tusshar, I am not only proud of him but I think he is my prized possession because pride is on one level, it’s only admiration. My prized possession is what I want to exhibit. Tusshar is one I want to exhibit to the world. Very rarely you come across someone who’s got impeccable manners, who is a star son doing everything on his own. There is a different kind of pride I have for my father and an exhibitionist kind of pride I have for Tusshar. I am a bad mannered, naughty and one of those few people who lands up in controversies (laughs), and that’s expected of me. I am a brat but Tusshar is so different from anyone of his background. He is not a brat, he is ethical and moral and that’s what my parents and I am proud of.
“I believe in vibes but I am also temperamental and angry sometimes”
When people walk into our Balaji office, I want them to feel the calm and that they’ve entered a relaxed zone. I am glad that you felt it that way. I believe in vibes but I am also temperamental and angry sometimes. But this place has got a lot of energy, sometime good and sometimes bad. It’s very rarely calm but the little bit of calm that does come in because of the temples here and because of Gods. They give us that positive vibe.
“With Hoonur, the process to get to Balaji is easier”
Hoonur is our new talent portal. We now have our very own Hoonur (laughs). We want to have direct access to the hundreds of talents out there. There are so many talents that go unnoticed. Now Hoonur is open to the world. Talented individuals don’t have to drive down from Punjab, Patiala and come to Mumbai to give four photographs. With Hoonur, the process to get to Balaji is easier. I feel humbled and sad because there is so much talent out there and there is only so much we can do about it. In days to come, Hoonur will prove its Hoonur (laughs).
“A good young horror movie is the perfect date movie and that’s the experience we promise”
Horror genre died soon because there weren’t many makers and the multiplexes were few back then. In the West, every summer you will find two to three horror films releasing that makes for a perfect ‘date’ movie where you go with a bunch of friends or your girl. A good young horror movie is the perfect date movie and that’s the experience we promise.
“I can’t have a Vidya or a Katrina looking at Rajkumar saying, “Have I been your first?” It’d look so fake”
I did two films that did really well and I could’ve gone with a big star but then the reality effect will be gone. I can’t have a Vidya or a Katrina looking at Rajkumar saying, “Have I been your first?” It’d look so fake. It’s a normal question that couples talk about. The film is not Bollywoodish but its got entertainment. Those are the kind of conversations that couples now-a-days share with each other. They talk dirty and that’s normal and putting it out with stars will make a mess.
“Vidya is a chameleon. She can transfer from being a house wife to a siren within a second because she has it all in her head”
But if I want to make a film like Dirty Picture, I need a Vidya Balan. I remember her cover shoot in her green blouse with her bare back. She looked stunningly beautiful. She is a brilliant actor. Vidya is a chameleon. She can transfer from being a house wife to a siren within a second because she has it all in her head. From head to toe, Vidya is the apt and the only choice for Dirty Picture. Most of the heroines can only act like a certain character because they rely so much on their body and looks but very rarely on their mind. An actor can only transform if he or she relies here (pointing the head).