Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar portrayed nepotism within the Hindi film industry at its best in her directorial debut, Luck By Chance (2009). But when asked about how she steers away from it in her professional life, considering she too belongs to a family of film veterans, she explains, “Farhan and I were never spoilt. Yes, we got exposed to a lot of things, and we had everything while growing up, but we too got very limited pocket money. We weren’t given a car when we hit college; we negotiated the city and got our own odd jobs.”
Having worked with brother-director-producer-singer-actor Farhan in various capacities in the past on films like Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Zoya has no qualms admitting that they brainstorm on ideas all the time. “We’ve co-written and co-directed a music video, I’ve been the director, he’s been the producer, I’ve been the executive producer, he’s been the director, I’ve been his first assistant director, his casting director and he’s been my actor,” smiles the director, whose Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara hits theatres this weekend.
But co-directing a feature film together is an idea that gets her wondering. “I don’t know about that,” she says. “Co-directing is tough. We co-directed a music video, but a feature film is another ball game. Your outlook on a story may be different. Even though 95 per cent of the time we like the same movies, this will need us to have one vision. Usually, people who co-direct manage different functions and that’s a very different way of breaking it down. I don’t think we will.”
Currently, she is looking forward to making what she vaguely calls a ‘small film’ after the massive production ZNMD. “I want to make a small story with smaller and shorter shooting days; a tiny and quick film,” she laughs. Like her brother, Zoya too has worked in various departments of filmmaking before donning the director’s hat. But it was her days as a casting director that she treasures and credits the most for teaching her: “It was a huge learning experience for me. I had a camera, a scene and an actor. It was one of the most important things I did in my growth to eventually be a director.”