If I don’t like a line, I tell him: Director Meghna Gulzar on collaborating with poet-father Gulzar on Sam Bahadur
Witnessing the banter between father-daughter is like ‘Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (tennis icons) are playing their best game against each other,’ said Vicky Kaushal
Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar says she "rightfully" exploits being eminent poet-lyricist Gulzar's daughter whenever there is an opportunity for a collaboration.
Meghna, the director of critically acclaimed titles such as Filhaal, Talvar, Raazi and Chhapaak, has teamed up with the film veteran for her latest, Sam Bahadur.
The upcoming film is a biographical drama on the life of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, played by Vicky Kaushal. It will be released on December 1.
"I exploit being his daughter when he is writing my songs and 'haq se' (by right). If I don't like a line, I tell him, 'Abhi dusri line likh ke dijiye, abhi chahiye gaana, abhi poora karna hai'. Utna toh haq hai, utna toh lungi (Give me another line. I need to complete it now. That much is my right and I will claim it),' the director told PTI in an interview here.
Some of the memorable songs from their movie collaborations include the title track of Filhaal as well as ‘Ae Watan’ and ‘Dilbaro’ from Raazi.
Vicky said witnessing the banter between the father-daughter is the 'sweetest and most entertaining thing'.
"It is like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (tennis icons) are playing their best game against each other. I was blessed to see this moment between Gulzar sahab and Meghna. Gulzar sahab would tell me, 'Kya karoon beta yeh director impress hee nahi hoti' (What do I do son? It is very difficult to impress this director). I would be like, 'Beti kiski hai' (After all, whose daughter is she?)' the actor said.
Meghna said she may exploit their father-daughter relationship to get lyrics on demand, but the poet-lyricist-director has been a major influence in instilling the importance of hard work in her.
"The number of things he absorbs, the amount he reads, the amount of awareness he inculcates within himself of the time that he lives in... You are not relevant by accident, you are relevant by action and intent,” she said.
"My father says, 'Yeh karne ki vidya hai, yeh karne se aati hai (You learn it by practice)’. You cannot take yourself seriously and say, 'For one month I'll not write and then on the 31st day when I start writing, it will all come back'. This is something that he has instilled in me because he has also followed this all his life," she said.
Gulzar, one of the most respected names not just in cinema but also in literary circles, has written poems and lyrics for countless films in a career spanning over six decades.
A winner of Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, an Oscar, a Grammy trophy and multiple National Film Awards, he has also directed cinematic gems such as Mere Apne, Parichay, Aandhi, Mausam and Lekin to name a few. Rakhee, Meghna's actor-mother, is her strongest critic, the director said.
"We have had so many units (promotional material from Sam Bahadur) coming out, teasers, trailers and everything else, nothing... (but there is no reaction from her). "Vicky has gone to Delhi and some TV channel is covering it, I got one message from her saying, 'I'm seeing Vicky in Sam Bahadur coverage, good'. I'm like, I'm sending you links every day, (but) there's nothing (no reaction),” she added.
Rakhee has worked in Hindi cinema hits such as Kabhi Kabhie, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Sharmeelee, Shakti, Ram Lakhan and Baazigar, among others.
Produced by RSVP Movies, Sam Bahadur also stars Sanya Malhotra as Manekshaw's wife Silloo and Fatima Sana Shaikh as former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The movie is scheduled to be released in theatres on December 1.