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The Rediff Interview / Pooja Bhatt
'I think my next film will be a cakewalk'
Syed Firdaus Ashraf | January 29, 2004
She may be out of films (her last was in 2001) but Pooja Bhatt is definitely not out of the news.
Her last production Jism, starring first-timer John Abraham and Bipasha Basu, was a runaway success. Abraham also plays the main lead in her directorial debut, Paap.
Filmed largely in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, the film, which releases on January 30, sees another debutante, Udita Goswami.
Recently married to Munish Makhija, aka Channel [V]'s Udham Singh, Pooja still creates a stir at Mumbai's Renaissance Federation Club, Juhu. She is busy waving out to children and families, happily obliging requests for autographs when Chief Correspondent Syed Firdaus Ashraf catches up with her for a chat.
What made you turn to direction?
I have always wanted to be independent. When I became a producer, people said I would not succeed but I proved them wrong.
Actually, I had the script of Paap and was waiting for the right director. It turned out that I could not find anyone suitable enough, so I decided to try my hand at it. As a producer, I used to make sure that I arranged everything for the shoots. The only thing missing was interacting with actors. So I said, why not take another step?
I think my next film will be a cakewalk.
There are no bad actors. There are only bad directors who cannot make their actors act. If you work with someone new, he/she gives his/her 100 per cent. Udita is only 21. I could see her sense of achievement after she gave her shots. That gives me immense satisfaction. I will not be able to see that in an established star. If anyone says Udita has given a great performance, that is great satisfaction for me.
I am committed to giving a break to new talent. Most of the music of Paap has been composed by relative newcomers from Pakistan. It has unconventional music.
Aren't you taking risks?
John Abraham has been sincere in this film. He is attracted to Kaaya but she feels that love is a sin, as she has been brought up in that philosophy. So Paap is about a clash of ideology between John and Agashe, who do not agree on how life must be led.
Eight months ago, when I roped Ali in, he had to travel from Dubai to India because there were no direct flights from Pakistan to India. I am glad that today, the relations between the two countries have improved.
When I arrived in Pakistan, an old woman came to me and said, "Thank you, Pooja Bhatt, for coming to Pakistan."
How is married life treating you?
I have always wanted to get married. I was waiting for the right person. Nobody decides in the morning to get up and get married. After becoming a director, I became more responsible and was ready for marriage. I don't think I would have been ready to marry if I had not turned director.
I had known Munish for a month during the shooting of Paap. When he asked me to marry him, I agreed.
No. It was a gradual build-up of respect and affection for each other. Ultimately, your problem is your problem. You cannot expect a man to hold your hand and change your life. I did not want solutions. I wanted a companion. Marriage is about understanding and respecting each other. And I found that in my husband.
People ask me if I have changed after marriage. I haven't. If I change, there would be something wrong somewhere. He is independent and has no reason to compete with me. I am not here to compete. We are different from each other but, as they say, opposites attract!