Sudhir Mishra prefers actors who question him than obey diktats

Two of his films, Yeh Saali Zindagi and Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, will hit the marquee soon. He is peeved that snatches of Tera Kya Hoga… found their way to the internet last year. “Certain portions were leaked online from the editing table. It was the rough cut, without dialogues. The video quality also was bad. Thank God for that,” he exclaims.

Tera Kya Hoga Johnny will release in April, much after the flavour of the season, Yeh Saali Zindagi, which is being talked about for its edgy title and the smouldering Chitrangada. Mishra is tired of clearing the air about his equation with Chitrangada and trying to tell people that ‘saali' is not a gaali.

The A-certified film, he says, took shape from his previous flick, Is Raat ki Subah Nahin. “I wanted to make a film on its lines but not a dry thriller. It had to be emotional. It's a love story in the guise of a thriller,” he explains.

The two men in focus — Irrfan and Arunoday — put themselves in danger for the sake of love, says Mishra. “The film opens with Irrfan choosing love over work and running to Chitrangada only to find her with another man. Arunoday is a gangster who wonders why he is unable to be tough with his wife. The film tracks the journey of the two men in search of love, albeit in a roundabout way,” says the director. He underscores that Yeh Saali Zindagi is the happiest film he's made. “It's a nice feeling to make a film about love.”

He has teamed up with Chitrangada after Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and with Soha in Tera Kya Hoga… after Koya Koya Chand. “Why just them? This is the third time I am working with cinematographer Sachin Kumar Krishnan and I rely on lyricist Swanand Kirkire too. I also enjoy working with Kay Kay Menon. Moviemaking is all about people. If the director is in harmony with his cast and crew, it shows in the film. Every director shares a comfort level with certain actors. Martin Scorsese collaborated with Robert De Niro for so many films,” he says. He mentions how Chitrangada and he had many arguments on the sets. “I encourage people who question my decisions. I hate to work with subservient people,” he emphasises.

Among Mishra's forthcoming films is Dhruv with Farhan Akhtar's production house, which will begin after Farhan wraps up Don 2.