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July 16, 1997


'You can't have a good and honest man,
especially if he is ambitious. To make
money, you've got to hurt somebody'

Sharmila Taliculam

Aziz Mirza
The first thing you notice about him is how white his hair is. Next, the passion he has for film-making.

For Aziz Mirza, films are a passion, but not all consuming. For him, life lies beyond films.

When Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman became a hit, it was a surprise. Its lead player Shah Rukh Khan did not then have a successful resume, it was a small budget film by a small budget film-maker, a man who first came to be known with serials like Nukkad, Circus and Manoranjan.

At a time when everybody claims to make a film with a difference, Aziz Mirza actually made a film which was different. "My film tells you about people who are ambitious, yet manage to fall in love. Yes Boss has that quality again," he says.

Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in Yes Boss
Like Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Yes Boss too has a young middle class boy wanting to strike it rich. The boy does whatever his boss asks him to. Anything short of murder, that is. (Can't have our heroes being murderers now, can we?) "Today, you can't have a good and honest man, especially if he is ambitious. To make money, you got to hurt somebody," says Mirza.

Juhi Chawla is paired opposite Shah Rukh again. But in Yes Boss -- unlike Raju -- she is a model and wants to be rich too. "It's very clear when she says that if she doesn't make money, then she will marry a rich man," says Mirza. Then we have Aditya Panscholi, the boss, who is trapped in a marriage to a lady with all the money in the world.

Juhi Chawla
So you ask him again about the similarity between the two films and pat comes the reply, "Everybody is making films -- there is bound to be similarities. But in this film my hero is a chor. He takes bribes and commissions unlike in Raju, where the hero has a conscience."

The idea for Yes Boss, he tells you, originated years ago. He had gone to see Billy Wilder's The Apartment and was much impressed by the character Jack Lemon played in the film. So he decided to make a film along similar lines, about a man who is trapped by his ambition. "But there is not a single scene that has been copied from that film," he is quick to add.

In all of Mirza's works you can find ambitious and struggling characters. Does he in any way identify with them? Or their lifestyle?

Yes, he does. "I am 55 and have lived a full life. I have had experiences and they have been used in my films. I have had my hero and heroine meet at a bus stop -- that's where I and my wife used to meet. I am conversant with that kind of life. In fact, Shah Rukh has so many of my mannerisms that my daughter commented on it."

He seems obsessed with middle class youth -- their extreme ambition, struggles and conscience all interest him very much. Richie Rich kind of stories do not excite him. The desire of the youth riding a scooter to
Aditya Panscholi and Shah Rukh Khan in Yes Boss
get behind the wheel in a Mercedes is what interests him.

But how, you wonder, can he claim to know what today's youth wants?

"I quit films when it became too commercial and got into the transport business. I did many odd jobs before making my serials. I learned a lot in that period. So I know what today's youth dreams of," he says.

Continued: 'The Romeo-Juliet kind of love stories are okay.
My film is about how two people fall in love'