August 3, 2002 
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Kaizad Gustad
'I would pay to direct a film'
The passions of Kaizad Gustad

After the popular Bombay Boys, Kaizad Gustad is back with his new film, Boom.

The films have quite a bit in common. While Bombay Boys dealt with three wannabe actors, Boom deals with three supermodels, Padma Lakshmi, Katrina Kaif and Madhu Sapre.

The underworld plays a prominent part in both films too. Gustad claims his films 'are similar in sensibility and genre but the stories are completely different'.

The Ayesha Shroff production will star real-life fashion designers Anna Singh, Hemant Trevedi, Malani Ramani, Manish Malhotra, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani and Wendell Rodricks as themselves. It also stars Zeenat Aman, Amitabh Bachchan, Seema Biswas, Jackie Shroff, Gulshan Grover and Javed Jaffrey.

Lata Khubchandani spoke to the young director about his latest venture.

What motivates you to write the kind of scripts you do?

The stories are personal to me. At the end of the day, it is difficult to write about stuff you don't know or stuff that does not interest you. I don't write for a perceived market nor do I have any formula. I like to write stuff that I find relevant, interesting or amusing. And if it works for others, that's great!

Does it mean that you are not looking at the commercial aspect?

I don't think any writer starts off writing a commercial story. I mean, what is the point? One can't define 'commercial' anymore. And I hate definitions because they end up becoming labels anyway. Writers tend to write what they like.

How much of a commercial aspect did Bombay Boys have when you review it now?

I don't really know. But we were quite surprised by the market it had or the number of people who came to see it. I think I undermined it. I try not to live my life in hindsight.

But wouldn't you have learnt from the reception Bombay Boys got?

Sure. One learns from everything. But I don't think there is a formula that says this will or not work. You can have the biggest stars, the biggest budget, and if it's not going to work, it will not. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether it is a good film or a bad one.

When Bombay Boys was a success, what kind of impetus did it give you?

I make films because I enjoy making them. I would pay for the privilege of being a director. I don't think it would have made any difference to my outlook as a writer or director at all. Fortunately, it succeeded.

There were a lot of offers. But I take a long time to write. It took me three years to bring Bombay Boys to a stage where I liked it, on paper. It took me as long to come up with Boom.

What is the highlight of Boom?

Boom is my first English, independent, offbeat film that has everyone from Zeenat Aman to Amitabh Bachchan, from Bo Derek to Seema Biswas and three supermodels. It's a very interesting cast. This combination hasn't happened before, so it will be an experiment to see how it works.

How was it directing Amitabh Bachchan?

Great. He's an amazing actor. His timing is perfect.

But directing him is no different from directing any other actor.

But does it remain that the success of your first film allowed you to make this one?

Every film stands on its own legs. How much I am worth in this industry makes no difference. So I can afford to do what I want. It is far more interesting as an artiste to be able to do what you want to do as opposed to what everyone is doing.

Have you identified what that is?

I want to always make films that I want to make and that's not driven by anything.

What drives you?

Life. It's such a miracle to wake up every day and do something new. No two days are the same in my life and I try to keep it that way. There are so many things to do.

You even have a travelogue to your credit...

Yes. It is a collection of stories from my travels at 18. Of No Fixed Address was published by HarperCollins. It did very well. When I look back, I laugh because I was just 18 and I wanted to see the world. My only possession was a backpack and a diary called Of No Fixed Address because I had no address for three years.

It was published ten years after I wrote it.

Would you direct a story written by someone else?

I have tried doing that, but it is tough. To me, the most important person in the film is the writer because the very seed of the idea has come from him. If that seed is rotten, the plant will always be rotten. So I have a lot of respect for writers. Even though I'm a writer myself, I find it very difficult to write on a blank piece of paper. Once that is there, everything falls into place.

I'd love to be able to direct somebody else's work. There are a couple of foreign films I will direct. The Film, written by John Winter, is a big Hollywood and Bollywood type of project, with international stars. Then, there is Chocolate Vanilla, which I scripted and will direct.


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