ANUJ KUMAR

After a break, seasoned filmmaker Aziz Mirza seeks his ‘Kismat Konnection’ with a young audience.

We are living in a world where instant gratification is the norm.

“It’s not a great film but at the same time I am not ashamed of it.” In an industry where every film is promoted as a product that is different, this self-appraisal sounds fresh. But with Aziz Mirza you do expect freshness.

Always a promoter of the underdog, Mirza’s cinema is all about the proverbial street smart and ambitious Raju who by intermission becomes the gentleman and by the end wins his true love. Simple! Times have changed so that Raju gives way to Raj and Mirza’s favourite Shah Rukh makes way for Shahid Kapur to try his ‘Kismat Konnection.’ “Times have indeed changed. We are living in a world where instant gratification is the norm. I have no problems with it. My only concern is our core values should not get lost in this race. So the look of my film is very today but somewhere, somehow it portrays my socio-political beliefs and concerns and I hope I will be able to strike a chord with the young audience,” says the 63-year-old director who once foretold the commercialisation of the news media with ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani.’

“I have also no problems with globalisation and homogeneity creeping into our lives as long as life is gracious and allows everyone to live with dignity. How much money is enough for a good life? It is small, but a part of the film questions it.”

Returning to the turnstiles after a long time, Mirza blames it on his laziness. “Then I lost my wife just after ‘Chalte Chalte’. It took me a long time to recover.” Creative matters do take time to take shape but of late the film industry seems to be in a mass production mode. “Not just the film industry, it is true for the news media and television as well. Where is the research, where is the integrity...?”

Realistic take

Focussing on ‘Kismat…,’ Mirza has a realistic take on the subject. “I feel as a young man if you believe in destiny you are a fool and as an old man if you don’t believe in kismat, then again you are a fool. My experiences tell me that many things that happened to me – achievements or defeats – I had little role to play in them. However, if a youngster believes whatever has to happen will happen, then he has lost it.”

On choosing Shahid over Shah Rukh, Mirza says the role demanded a young boy and Shah Rukh is over 40 now. The media has found similarities between the two and Mirza agrees. “Both are natural and have immense energy…beyond it there is hardly any similarity.”

And what happened to their Dreamz Unlimited? “The company is as good as defunct but our relations are as always warm. In fact, Shah Rukh has lent his voice as a narrator and Juhi is playing an interesting character, Haseena Bano, a clairvoyant.”

This takes us to the plot. “My daughter Rahila came up with the plot and she asked me to develop it. It is about a young struggling architect. Everything is going against him. One day Haseena suggests to him to find a lucky charm which could be a person. He meets a girl and things start changing for him.”

The pairing of Shahid and Vidya Balan is making news in gossip columns, but cynics feel that they will be an odd couple on screen. Perhaps, because Vidya is older than Shahid?

“I have heard this criticism but my point is simple. Even if Vidya is 80 and Shahid is five, as long as they have good onscreen chemistry, nobody should have a problem,” for once Mirza skips his fatherly tone.

The film marks the entry of his son Haroon as a co-director. “He is responsible for the contemporary texture of the film. He should have got the credit in ‘Chalte Chalte’ itself. At that time as I had to spend a lot of time with my ailing wife, he shot a significant portion of the film.”