Won't fall prey to my past mistakes: Anubhav Sinha on his new phase

Justin Rao

Mumbai, Feb 27 (PTI) Anubhav Sinha's says in his current phase, dubbed as a '2.0', he aims to amplify his new voice without falling into the trap of past mistakes.

Before turning to political and socially relevant films, the filmmaker was known for helming romantic dramas like 'Tum Bin' franchise and big action spectacles, 'Ra.One', 'Dus' and 'Cash'.

With critically-acclaimed films 'Mulk', 'Article 15' and now 'Thappad', Sinha says developing a film has become easy for him today, 'but it's a trap.' 'It's not good. It's a trap that I've been in earlier. When I'd say 'Ok Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) let's do a film like this; come on Ajay (Devgn) let's do this one' and then they would agree. But then you tend to forget why you're making this film, because the logistics are taken care of,' Sinha told PTI in an interview.

The filmmaker says moving ahead he doesn't want to encash on the success of his previous films to greenlight a new project.

'I have made my mistakes and learnt from those. I'm not falling prey to it again. I should have a script everybody is wanting to be a part of, which is exciting. Not the fact that it's easier for me to call up Ayushmann, Vicky Kaushal or Rajkummar Rao to do a film.' Sinha's 'Mulk' chronicled the story of a Muslim family reclaiming its lost honour after a family member gets involved in terrorism, while 'Article 15' delved into the horrific caste realities of the country.

In his next, 'Thappad' which reunites him with his 'Mulk' lead Taapsee Pannu, the subject in focus is domestic violence and how it is normalised in the society.

Sinha understands why people call his current phase as a '2.0' as the shift in the gears is obvious but the filmmaker says he was fearless even when he was tackling big budget mainstream movies.

'I was always fearless. I'm more assured after 'Mulk'. I am doing so many things, so I haven't had the time to reflect. I think this phase is a combination of things.' Sinha says he was envious with the kind of films his close friends were making. Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia were all onto a 'different kind of inspiring work' which pushed him to work harder.

'So while I was making those films, I was getting inspired by 'Aligarh', 'Haasil', 'Black Friday', 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.' I also started reading again, when the story of 'Mulk' happened to me.' For the Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee-starrer, Sinha went against all odds as that kind of film wasn't expected of him.

'I remember Kashyap watching it pretty late and talking to me about it for hours. Then I got a message from Sooraj Barjatya. And I went 'wow, from Anurag Kashyap to Sooraj Barjatya, this is a nice spectrum.' 'After 'Mulk' I figured it's your voice that people are connecting with. So then my voice became of prime importance to me for my films.' 'Thappad' features Taapsee as an educated, upper middle-class woman, Amrita, who is forced to take stock of her relationship after being slapped by her husband.

With a simple story such as that, Sinha says it was challenge for him and co-writer Mrunmayee Lagoo to engage the audience in a two-hour plus film.

'I was very worried, scared. In the real world, that thappad is considered nothing. So you're basically making a film about nothing. Mrunmayee and I were constantly aware that they have to connect to Amrita for them to feel what she is feeling.

'Then we figured other characters in the film that we weren't initially planning to develop that much. But that developed into several tracks and that did the trick, where you could see various women with their problems,' he adds.

'Thappad' is scheduled to be released on Friday. PTI JUR SHD SHD