Zoya Akhtar: Do what you love, money will come
The director of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara shares her take on life and career.
She made her directorial debut in Bollywood with Luck By Chance, a critically acclaimed film which met with a lukewarm response. Daughter of well-known writer Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, Zoya Akhtar's second film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was a huge commercial success.
Lata Kubchandani caught up with the young director, who was described as "funky, happy, argumentative and has a mind of her own" by her brother Farhan.
Should one take on a profession that one loves or one that pays well?
Do what you love and money will follow.
You went to St Xavier's, Mumbai. What were your career plans?
I was oscillating between journalism, law and writing.
How did direction happen? Did you train?
I saw Salaam Bombay and fell in love. I worked with various directors and did a diploma in film at New York University.
Image: Zoya Akhtar
'Stay in the NOW'
Is it a glamorous profession in real life? Tell us the dark side...
You have to work very, very hard and there is still a chance you may never make it.
Did you try out other things to earn money?
Well, copy writing
And your first salary was?
Best thing about school/ college life?
Stress-free! You only realise later what a privilege it is, to be expected just to learn.
Which teacher do you remember the most and why?
Mrs Sachdev for her warmth and making me understand chemistry and Mrs Bhinde for actually getting me to love maths.
People you admire?
Long list but the common factor is that they have all pushed the boundary.
Best advice anyone has given you?
Stay in the NOW.
'Spend time with yourself -- get to know yourself'
Any memorable incidents while growing up which shaped you?
That's a book in itself (smiles).
What shaped your sensibilities?
Being allowed to make mistakes -- my parents are very cool.
Your advice to youngsters starting out in life?
Spend time with yourself -- get to know yourself.
Which one is better -- living for fun or living with a purpose?
Both are required for a full life.
Did school and college shape you?
I was in co-ed institutions with people from all strata and communities. It was fantastic.
What is your opinion of GenX?
That they have lost the langua#8805 they are 'GenX'! I don't understand why nice is 'nyc' and great is 'gr8'.
Worst subject/best subject?
Worst -- Physics; best -- literature.
Reading, music, travelling, movies and I've recently discovered cooking.