Monday, July 15, 2024

I won’t be able do something ambitious because Irrfan not with us: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Tigmanshu Dhulia

The death of Irrfan three years ago has slowed his growth as a filmmaker, says Tigmanshu Dhulia, firm in his belief that no other actor can portray complicated characters and situation in the way his long-time friend and collaborator did. Dhulia directed Khan in his first directorial venture “Haasil” (2003) and later in “Paan Singh Tomar” (2012), considered by many to be among the best biopics made in India, as well as “Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns” (2013).
Irrfan died at the age of 54 on April 29, 2020 following his battle with a rare form of cancer.
“He was one such actor for whom it was fun writing a character. I would love writing complicated characters and situations because I knew he would be able to understand it and play it. I believe there is no actor who has that understanding,” Dhulia told in an interview.
The 55-year-old won his first National Award for “Paan Singh Tomar” while Irrfan was recognised as the Best Actor for his role as the decorated steeplechase champion turned dacoit.
“It is not that in his last two years we talked about working together as Irrfan was also very busy. But even if I have to do something ambitious, I will not be able to do it ever because he is not with us here.”
Dhulia went on to do films such as “Yaara”, starring Vidyut Jammwal, Vijay Varma and Shruti Haasan, and two OTT shows, “The Great Indian Murder” and the upcoming OTT series “Garmi”.
“As an artist he would push me to grow more. My growth has slowed down since he has left us. (Meri growth kum ho gayi hai jab se woh gaya hai). That’s the biggest problem. He has left us, what can we do about it? But what do I do?”
Dhulia’s debut film “Haasil” will complete 20 years on May 16. The director has fond memories of making that film, which he said, was a stepping stone in his career.
“I always say this to young directors that whatever you do first, don’t do it for money, just do it in the best way possible… whether it works or not is a different thing. You will always be remembered for your first film,” he said.
After the release of “Haasil”, Dhulia said, many producers signed him for big films but they did not work out later. Among them was Sunny Deol’s period drama “Ghulami”.
“I don’t know what was happening with me… After ‘Charas’ for seven years I didn’t have a film release,” he said about the 2004 action drama set in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, that did not do well at the box office.
“But I was an expert in taking the signing amount. I don’t think any other director would have got a signing amount for films that I have received and because of that I was able to sustain for seven years. Like people would sign me (but the film would not get made),” he said.
“For seven years I was able to get work because I made ‘Haasil’. If I would have made any frivolous film, I would not have done any films in those seven years and people would have forgotten me.”
“Garmi”, created and directed by Dhulia, is set to release on April 21. The series takes the filmmaker back to the subject matter of his first film: student politics. Dhulia said he wanted to revisit the world after a gap of two decades.
“I started digging into it long back. It has been 20 years and it was an interesting thing to analyse, explore the world after 20 years, like what has happened in society.
“The world is very volatile, exciting. It is about a boy and they are all young, 22 or 23 years old, and how politics affects them. I wanted to revisit that area again, how society has changed. And it was very close to me, my first movie,” he said.
Produced by Swaroop Sampat and Hemal Ashok Thakkar, “Garmi” features Mukesh Tiwari, Vineet Kumar and Vyom Yadav.