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|July 16, 1997||
'The Romeo-Juliet kind of love
He has no fear that without the necessary 'ingredients' his film just might not run. "One should make a film that one agrees with. My film might not have masala, but it is a commercial venture anyway," he says.
To him, films made with only one goal (read that as making money) in mind are 'wicked'. And such attempts would have plenty of 'ingredients.' ''Do not titillate,'' he says adding, "I do not want to be rich; just earn enough to be comfortable."
Mirza's association with Shah Rukh dates back to his television days when the actor was noticed in Circus. Now Shah Rukh has almost become a permanent fixture in his films. Will this continue?
"I like Aamir and would love to make a film with him. But Shah Rukh and I have this great working relationship. He is one of my weaknesses," he laughs. Apparently, Mirza was offered a top star to act in Raju, but refused to sacrifice the then unsuccessful Shah Rukh. "I could see nobody else as Raju," he says.
Shah Rukh Khan in Yes Boss
No, no, he assures you, the one after Yes Boss will not have Shah Rukh -- it will star Jai Surya with Mukul Dev and Nana Patekar whom -- hear this! -- Mirza finds funny! That, you tell him, is a bit too much. Especially considering how painfully preachy Nana is in most films. "No, he isn't (preachy) really," he says, "Have you noticed his eyes? They are full of mischief. You don't know what he is up to. I think I have captured that unpredictability..."
In all this, you get the feeling that Mirza is a pretty fussy character -- no vulgarity, no unnecessary violence. A conventional film-maker, with a conventional fixed mindset, working within his own set rules, and never stepping beyond. Everything, you feel, about the man and his project is pre-planned, nothing left to chance.
His films have a thin plot -- he prefers it that way. He is not too fond of films which start only after the hero and heroine fall in love. "The Romeo-Juliet kind of love stories are okay. My film is about how two people fall in love. The last sentence they say is 'I love you.' Now that's a love story if you must know," he says. (And no sir, the fact that his brother Saeed and friend Kundan Shah do not want to work with him because of his 'nervous energy' does not bother him. The three of them last worked together on the serial Nukkad.)
Television does not attract Mirza any more. His 'breaking out' with Kundan Shah and Saeed Mirza was the right thing, he feels. "In television serials you can try out subjects you would otherwise hesitate to on the big screen. But we are film-makers who want to make films." And he wouldn't like to go back to serial-making as 'one episode a day' is not possible for him. "Sometimes, I would take nine to ten days to shoot an episode," he says.
Mirza's first film after he stopped making serials was Raju. And after that comes Yes Boss. That was it -- nothing in between. Why did he not make hay while he could? "Please, I wouldn't work that way, though it is easy to do so. Yes Boss was delayed but it was nobody's fault really. Plus, as I work with no script, it is necessary for me to be there on the sets. So one film at a time..." he explains.
Mirza has been involved with the movie business since his childhood. His father Akhtar Mirza wrote the scripts for films like B R Chopra's Naya Daur and Waqt. His brother Saeed is a doyen of the alternate cinema. Add to this that his neighbour Kidar Sharma was always entertaining him with stories about the industry. "I don't know why he did that, but it was fascinating," he recalls.
Not being trained in the art of film-making has not deterred him from making good entertainers. And today, Mirza finds lots to do that includes making films and enjoying time with his family. So what does he enjoy most?
"Not doing anything," Mirza responds, "Absolutely nothing..."