Knowing Imtiaz

Knowing Imtiaz

As a seasoned and somewhat cynical film critic, I remember going to watch Socha Na Tha thinking that I really did not want to make the acquaintance of another Deol (Abhay) making his debut with an unknown girl (Ayesha Takia) directed by another first-timer (Imtiaz Ali). By the end of the film, I knew Imtiaz Ali was a name I would watch out for, his quirky handling of the off-beat love story having embedded itself into my mind and heart. And though I know it might now seem to be a fact of hindsight, I knew then that a major talent had arrived.

When he made Jab We Met and it was lauded by one and all, I felt a strange sort of pride as if my endorsement had had anything to do with its success.

My first conversation with him was over the phone during which we discussed, of all things, my caller tune. It was Chupa lo yun dil mein pyaar mera… from Mamta sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. We were on the same page with the interpretation that it was a song of equality between the man and woman and the conversation taught me two things about Imtiaz, one that he understood his music, which has been proved by the music he has extracted in every film of his and two, that he understood the nuances of the man-woman relationship.

I finally met him for the first time during the shoot of Love Aaj Kal when, even in the middle of shooting the Ahoon ahoon song with a hundred people around him, he could create a cocoon of conversation. I invited him to my office to speak to my colleagues (I was the entertainment editor at Mumbai Mirror at the time) and when he came and spoke to us, two things were established irrevocably. He was hot, judging by the open mouthed gaze my female colleagues fixed on him for the entire hour he spent with us, and that he was a consummate story teller.

If I could make one cinematic wish come true, it would be that I would one day write and produce a film in which Imtiaz would play himself. With his ruffled, curly hair and just-out-of-bed casual demeanour he could give serious competition to Ranbir Kapoor.

The Ayan Mukerji Session: Frank and Forthright

The Ayan Mukerji Session: Frank and Forthright

The Ayan Mukerji dialogue with the host of The Boss Dialogues, Indu Mirani, was a revelation. Never before has a director spoken with such disarming honesty about his insecurities, his relationships in the industry and his personal journey. And as he points out, in India we really do know our actors, but not our directors.

Indu has known Ayan since he was six years old, and we are happy to say that we got to know what makes him tick as well in our session. Ayan started off by explaining why he calls our host ‘Indu aunty’, “Indu aunty is the mother of a very good friend of mine from school. In some ways, I have been aware of her my whole life. We’ve come back as adults to this stage.” To which, Indu quipped, “This is really our first grown-up conversation!”

Ayan elaborated on their relationship by pointing out that her son helped him while he was trying to put Wake Up Sid together. “He was a big ally in figuring some of the that stuff out,” Ayan said, giving full credit where it was due.

The conversation veered in the direction of Ayan’s family next – he has two famous cousins, Rani Mukerji and Kajol, his grandfather Sashadhar Mukerji established the Filmalaya Studios and his father Deb Mukerji is an actor. With characteristic candour, Ayan spoke about how it was to “grow up close to the film industry, but not be a part of it.” He said, “The golden era of my family was during my grandfather’s time. My father wasn’t very successful. His brothers and some cousins had tried to break into films but weren’t successful. I was in an awkward place where there was this cloud of failure hanging over anyone who wanted to work in films. The best thing I did was not land up in film school, it would have screwed me up. I had two very successful cousins but neither picked up the phone to speak to Karan Johar or anyone about me.”

In a way, Wake Up Sid was an autobiographical coming-of-age story. Karan Johar produced it and the film almost didn’t feature the Kapoor charmer, Ranbir. Ayan says, “Wake Up Sid was almost an Imran Khan film.”

Working on the film established a friendship with Ranbir, which is now almost legendary. He will, in all probability, be part of Ayan’s next project as well after their last massive hit together, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

To hear Ayan talk about Ranbir, you’ll have to wait for the entire dialogue, coming up soon.

It was a revealing session that had us all on the edge of our seats. It’s rare to find such candour in an industry where artifice tends to be the norm rather than the exception. For the whole session, stay tuned. All we can say, is that it’s worth the wait.

Knowing Ayan Mukerji

Indu Mirani in conversation with Ayan Mukerji

Strangely, for someone I have known since he was just a six-year-old, I have never really had a discussion on films with Ayan Mukerji, who was my son’s classmate from class I to X. Mostly that can be attributed to the fact that as I watched him grow from a cute six-year-old boy to a sullen 15-year-old, who preferred to hang out with his ‘Juhu friends’, there was no obvious clue to the direction his life would take.

I often wondered at the cause of his seeming sullenness, not that he was ever rude, quite the contrary in fact. Ayan was a well brought up boy by well-meaning if somewhat possessive parents. They not only dropped him to and picked him up from school every day, but also visited at lunchtime with a tiffin that fed Ayan and several other sundry kids who were otherwise bad eaters.

Maybe he was just finding himself and I would like to believe that when he made Wake Up Sid, Ranbir was not the only person who came of age, Ayan did too. And it was in the finding of himself that he could portray much surer emotions in his next film, Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani. The completeness of these characters with all the insecurities, quirks and moods that make up every young person’s life came through with an abandon that, I suspect, Ayan lives his life with now.

The illustrious Mukerji family have reason to be very proud of the latest Mukerji in filmdom.

As for me, having watched him take uncertain steps and now seeing him as a successful director who easily admits he is still learning, I’m sure his best is yet to come.

The Shekhar Kapur session: An enlightening experience

Indu Mirani with Shekhar Kapur

The Boss Dialogues session that saw Shekhar Kapur in conversation with Indu Mirani was a revelation. The director was candid, forthcoming and spoke about much more than cinema. His body of work may not be prolific, but he has made films on a diverse range of subjects which have made an impact. When asked which he doesn’t make more films, the witty director replied, “For me, making a film is like falling in love!”

So what keeps Shekhar going? “Adventure,” he said. “I’m always on the lookout for an adventure.” Bohemian in spirit, flirtatious by nature, quick with words, the erudite director charmed the audience off their feet. The questions wouldn’t stop, he indulged everyone, chatted with the enthusiastic attendees and spent some quality time after the session with The Boss Dialogues team, discussing everything from social media to Indian politics.

About the most iconic character he has created, Mogambo, he said that his only instruction to Amrish Puri was: Play a Shakespearean character, but for 10-year-olds. Shekhar also admitted that back then Mogambo didn’t really achieve the iconic status as the character has today.

We look forward to him finally directing Paani as the gap since he made a film has been too long. How did Aditya Chopra come on board as producer? Shekhar laughs, “Aditya Chopra said: Your script, my budget! It was as simple as that.”

We eagerly wait to see a film from the talented director soon! And he left us with several words of wisdom. “Hope is the illusion we all need in our survival kits,” he said. Truer words were never spoken. A fabulous dialogue and a fantastic audience to support it! What more could we ask for?

Knowing Shekhar Kapur

In the 30-odd years I have known Shekhar Kapur, I have known so many aspects of him, it’s really tough to pick and choose which ones to write about. But here goes…

I have known him first as the brother of my dear friend, the noted writer-director of plays, Sohaila Kapur. Though he was surprisingly strict with her and held fairly orthodox views regarding how a girl should comport herself, he himself led a swinging lifestyle and was always cool to have around.

I was then just embarking on my career as an entertainment reporter and my close ties to Shekhar meant I was sent to interview him every time he was featured in our magazine. As a good-looking actor starting out and as Shabana Azmi’s boyfriend this was often. Most of our interviews were held at his elder sister’s house on Pali Hill and a lot of the time would be spent having tea and staring out at the ocean in silence with Shekhar occasionally waxing eloquent about this and that. Amid all this I would find my interview but more importantly, he also shaped my lifeview in ways no one else has.

Then he got married to a Delhi girl who was actually perfect for him except Shekhar did not know what to do with perfection and eventually lost her. But they stayed such good friends, when she received a proposal, she consulted with Shekhar before she said yes.

He was always passionate about films but when he planned Masoom, there was a whole other passion to be seen. It was the same when he was working on Bandit Queen and Mr. India but if Shekhar’s filmography has more incomplete films than complete it is a reflection of his inability to keep the passion going if all is not going well. The one story I really wish he would revisit is Time Machine, a tale that would be in sync with the times even today.

To know Shekhar is to hear stories. He can narrate a story a day for as many days as are there in the year. They all excite him, he wants to make them all but then…

With time, Shekhar has mellowed but his charm and charisma hasn’t. He is a wonderful father and generous uncle to his nieces and nephew.

Somewhere along the way he has developed a sense for business, something he lacked earlier. When he makes Paani, he will make a brilliant film, I am sure. The script is unique and very exciting.

I have often been asked how come, despite knowing him so well, I have not had the teensiest crush on Shekhar at one time or the other. The answer is simple. Shekhar is not an inclusive man, he is exclusive about everything, very contained and self sufficient without being vain and self obsessed. It is these qualities that make him the vagabond he is, quite unable to put down roots in any sense be it physical or emotional. In my long pondering interviews with him as a rookie reporter I discovered this and so am to this day, not quite sure if he is even my friend forget being the object of devotion.

Shekhar pre-event blog

Shekhar Kapur blog

In the 30 odd years I have known Shekhar Kapur, I have known so many aspects of him, it’s really tough to pick and choose which ones to write about. But here goes…

I have known him first as the brother of my dear friend, the noted writer-director of plays, Sohaila Kapur. Though he was surprisingly strict with her and held fairly orthodox views regarding how a girl should comport herself, he himself led a swinging lifestyle and was always cool to have around.

I was then just embarking on my career as an entertainment reporter and my close ties to Shekhar meant I was sent to interview him every time he was featured in our magazine. As a good looking actor starting out and as Shabana Azmi’s boyfriend this was often. Most of our interviews were held at his elder sister’s house at Nibbana on Pali Hill and a lot of the time would be spent having tea and staring out at the ocean in silence with Shekhar occasionally waxing eloquent about this and that. Amid all this I would find my interview but more important, he also shaped my lifeview in ways no one else has.

Then he got married to a Delhi girl who was actually perfect for him except Shekhar did not know what to do with perfection and eventually lost her. But they stayed such good friends, when she received a proposal, she consulted with Shekhar before she said yes.

He was always passionate about films but when he planned Masoom, there was a whole other passion to be seen. It was the same when he was working on Bandit Queen and Mr. India but if Shekhar’s filmography has more incomplete films than complete it is a reflection of his inability to keep the passion going if all is not going well. The one story I really wish he would revisit is Time Machine, a tale that would be in sync with the times even today.

To know Shekhar is to hear stories. He can narrate a story a day for as many days as are there in the year. They all excite him, he wants to make them all but then…

With time, Shekhar has mellowed but his charm and charisma hasn’t. He is a wonderful father and generous uncle to his nieces and nephew.

Somewhere along the way he has developed a sense for business, something he lacked earlier. When he makes Paani, he will make a brilliant film, I am sure. The script is unique and very exciting.

I have often been asked how come, despite knowing him so well, I have not had the teensiest crush on Shekhar at one time or the other. The answer to that is that Shekhar is not an inclusive man, he is exclusive about everything, very contained and self sufficient without being vain and self obsessed. It is these qualities that make him the vagabond he is, quite unable to put down roots in any sense be it physical or emotional. In my long pondering interviews with him as a rookie reporter I discovered this and so am to this day, not quite sure if he is even my friend forget being the object of devotion.

The Karan session: Candid, revealing, entertaining

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With a crackling introduction by the witty writer and stand-up comedian Anuvab Pal, Karan Johar, in conversation with Indu Mirani, spoke with candour about cinema and life. During our promo shoot, Karan had joked that he and Indu have watched each other age over the years in the industry. This comfort level was clearly evident at The Boss Dialogues session at Escobar, as he openly acknowledged his successes and errors of judgment, demonstrated that he knew how to take a joke at his expense and was at his wittiest best.

Karan is probably the only director to publicly acknowledge that what critics say is important to him. Being one of the biggest producers and directors didn’t stop him from objectively analysing his own first film (“Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is quite silly, what would Rani have written in the first five letters? Googoogeegaga? What could that child understand?”) or giving full credit to his contemporaries. He wholeheartedly praised Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai for the visual imagery or Aamir Khan’s Lagaan (“I didn’t even know what Lagaan meant at that time, and when someone told me, I thought he’s making a film about tax?!”) for great storytelling.

That is, perhaps, the hallmark of a truly successful man – the inherent sense of security to be able to distance yourself from your work, objectively analyse it and to have the grace to acknowledge other directors’ outstanding films. Karan has created his own brand of cinema, launched directors and stars and played Agony Uncle to the industry – all roles that he juggles with ease and panache.  There are few personalities with such an all-compassing vision, and it is not hard to see how he ended up as the media moghul in a tough industry.

And of course, with his wit, he made the session a dialogue to remember.

Knowing Karan

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Quite aptly, the first time I heard Karan Johar’s name, he was just a twinkle in his father Yash Johar’s eyes. Karan was making his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but to hear Yashji speak of him, it was like he had already made the biggest blockbuster. And I say aptly because like his father, Karan is a warm, positive, people’s person who, while lending a shoulder to almost every actor as agony aunt, also finds the time to produce and direct blockbusters for Dharma Productions.

I remember once when an industry conference with global delegates was on, in the break Yashji decided that he would escort a friend and me to the tea counter. He was the chairman of the conference and not surprisingly was intercepted on the way to meet some delegates. “Let me first get some tea for these two lovely ladies,” he insisted. Paying no heed to our protests he got us tea, had some himself and then went to fulfill his chairman duties. You could not leave a Dharma set without having something to eat or drink, a tradition that carries on till today.

Karan is probably the only A-list director who shows his films to critics and then takes their feedback seriously. I was vastly amused when Karan, after inviting me to a preview of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, told me quite frankly that this wasn’t my ‘type’ of film and I should therefore watch it accordingly. It wasn’t and he took my criticism without getting defensive, a first for me.

But the one gesture which endeared Karan to me as nothing else could was when he agreed to play agony aunt to the readers of Mumbai Mirror one Valentine Day. I was the Entertainment Editor and Namrata looked after the Leisure pages where this was to feature. We were flooded with requests and after choosing the most relevant questions, we couldn’t resist rolling in the aisles at the humorous and yet sensible answers he had given. His only grouse was that we had not called him agony uncle.

Karan Johar is many things to many people but to me it will always be his graciousness of spirit that makes me want to connect with him again and again.

Meeting Kabir Khan

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by Indu Mirani

When The Boss Dialogues was still at the inception stage and Kabir Khan’s name was added to our wishlist, my immediate thought was that I didn’t really know him the way I knew the others on the list. Sure, I’d met him a couple of times in relation to his films but I hadn’t done any, as we say, timepass chatting with him.

Imagine my absolute delight then, when he not only responded to a request to speak with him but also immediately consented to be a part of our series.  And having now shot the promo with him, my respect for Kabir Khan has only grown by leaps and bounds.

Kabir, in my opinion, is part of a very small and exclusive set of filmmakers who are totally unimpressed by their own success and do not take themselves seriously. It was a really funny moment when asked to say our signature line “Bollywood’s biggest directors on the The Boss Dialogues”, he paused and quizzically and asked “you want me to say that about myself?”  He sportingly did so but not without a smirk at his own temerity. That single gesture endeared him to us as almost nothing can.

Kabir’s has been an amazing career. He actually joined Jamia, where he studied Mass Communication, only because his sister was getting a form and he asked her to get one for him too. Breathtaking documentaries eventually led to Kabul Express and then New York and Ek Tha Tiger all shot in heart-stopping locations. Like he said, he writes the locations into his scripts depending on which part of the world he is keen on visiting next.

I personally can’t wait for June 30 to unravel and discover what makes Kabir Khan tick.

Farah Khan: A cracker of a session

 After the witty and articulate Farhan Akhtar, choreographer-director Farah Khan was the second director to be the guest of The Boss Dialogues series.  Even though she was unwell, Farah was incredibly gracious and enthusiastic about the dialogue. With her wonderful sense of humour, she had the audience in splits for a session that went on for an hour and a half when it was slated for one.

In conversation with Indu, Farah was at her candid best as she spoke about her ‘riches to rags’ story and how her brother Sajid Khan went through a phase where they were afraid that he might turn out to be a juvenile delinquent.

“That made me grow up really fast,” she admitted. In answer to Indu’s question about her life resembling a Bollywood script, Farah joked, “A really bad Bollywood script.”

But all Bollywood scripts have a happy ending and her journey from choreographer to director has been an eventful one. “I have to thank Sarojji [Khan] for not showing up on the sets of Jo Jeeta Woh Sikander,” she says with a laugh. “I went from fourth assistant to choreographer that day.”

Farah had brought along her assistant choreographer Kiran for the interactive session. He demonstrated moves that certain stars should do or moves that stars should never do. When an audience member asked her if there is a particular move that Kareena Kapoor should not do, pat came the answer, “She should not do.”

As the audience laughed, Farah continued to speak in her characteristic forthright manner. “Vidya Balan?” she was asked. She looked at her choreographer and said ‘Tu baith jaa!’

As for her favourite star Shah Rukh Khan, Farah joked that they are the ideal combination for collaborations. “I spend too little and he spends too much,” she joked.

It was refreshing to hear a successful director like Farah speak about her strengths and weakness, her vision, her eventful life with such candor. The session was spirited, the questions from the audience endless and challenging and there was a fantastic liveliness to the interactive dialogue. We love Farah for being such a great example of how to follow your dreams and to sport an unabashed, unapologetic attitude towards life. Thank you, Farah for such a wonderful session.

Knowing Farah

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by Indu Mirani

As Farah Khan would perhaps be the first to say, there is no one that quite epitomises the word ‘boss’ as she does. Whether it is having A-list actors dance to her instructions, or act to her direction, she is in complete command of whichever set she enters.

My recollection of her goes back a long way to when she was a known choreographer but still to make it to the top rung where Saroj Khan, Rekha and Chinni Prakash and Tharun Kumar among others were comfortably ensconced. But Farah was not one to fret. She knew that her dances would appeal to the younger audience that was slowly coming back into cinema houses and she was ready to bide time. Refusing to give in to the paunchy chorus line attitude that her predecessors had, she found toned young dancers, dressed them in trendy clothes and populated her background with them. In no time, every actor worth his dancing shoes was clamouring for her and Farah had arrived.

Never one to rest on her laurels Farah went on to do her first feature film Main Hoon Naa which her good friend Shah Rukh Khan produced and the rest is too well documented to bear repetition.

Through all this there is one visual of Farah that remains deeply etched in my mind. Main Hoon Naa was on the verge of releasing and the marketing team had tied up with a popular clothing line. At a fashion show to mark the tie up, Farah , who was more than seven months pregnant with the adorable triplets she was to have later, marched down the ramp in her usual no-nonsense way only to have SRK and other members of the team jump onto the ramp to hold her and slow her down. As always Farah was in a hurry and she set a pace for herself that she shows no sign of veering from. And so, when not busy with her film she is happy to judge reality shows. Watch her later this month on DID Supermoms, a word she can be identified with completely.

Farhan on his MARD initiative

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As the horrific sexual crimes against women and children pile up, we whole-heartedly support Farhan’s initiative MARD. At The Boss Dialogues session, he told us what motivated him to initiate it, “It came together after the Delhi rape incident in December. But it was already brewing, not as an initiative, but as anger because of the news that you read every day. I remember telling myself that I have to do something after the Guwahati molestation, then the baby Falak case, and of course, the Delhi one. There have been others but these are kind of peaks in a very sad graph.

“It just felt like you want to numb your brain. You think I can’t take this anymore, friends come around and you start drinking beers, vent and wake up the next day hungover. You’re like, ‘I won’t drink again’ and move on. But it really felt like something has to be done. There are people doing amazing work in rehabilitating victims of sexual crimes, working towards empowering women, towards police reform, judicial reform, etc. I felt that maybe we could create something that speaks to a lot of people who are not listening to all these others.”

The initiative questions the fundamental way masculinity is perceived in society. He elaborates, “The idea is to talk to men and explain that you need to redefine the concept of masculinity. That maybe you’ve not understood it clearly enough, maybe somebody has misled you, maybe your influences are wrong but I refuse to believe that there are so many chemically-imbalanced people in this country committing such perverted crimes. There was a time when people would go, ‘iski dimagi haalat theek nahin hai’, but there can’t be so many such people! So they’re obviously feeling it’s okay to do it. There is nothing telling them that it’s not manly, or you cannot be considered a man.”

The MARD initiative deals with the psychology of the individual. Farhan explains, “You should feel small, and like a pariah if you feel like this. Everyone wants to belong to something… to a community (I don’t mean a religious community), a group, to people, to society of some kind. If you’re made to feel that all these people are thinking a certain way and you’re not, you’ll probably change yourself to be part of it. So that’s the endeavour.”

The campaign targets the next generation, so that the boys grow up with the notion of gender sensitivity. He says, “Especially with the boys who will be men, that’s the crucial lot to target. There are some people who are beyond that now. The change that we want to see will have to be a generational one. If we can reach out, educate them about gender equality and about what they need to feel about themselves when they go from 12 to 17, and when they are in the process of saying, ‘now I’m a man.’ What is it that defines it for them, that’s very crucial.”

The Dialogue

Farhan at his wittiest

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At 6 pm sharp, Farhan unobtrusively slipped into the venue and comfortably chatted with Indu as the audience settled down. The versatile actor-director was a dream guest – absolutely fuss-free, punctual to the dot, relaxed, charming, witty, classy and incredibly dishy!

The session that was slated for an hour, spilled over into an hour and a half with Farhan breezily handling tough questions with his flair for repartee. When asked if he was a party boy, he joked, ‘No, I’m an independent candidate.’ He spoke with great feeling about MARD, an initiative that The Boss Dialogues applauds. Farhan talked about his relationship with Zoya, “an absolute straight shooter”, how he has been the “ghar ki murgi” for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and much more. Check out the photos and to watch a teaser of the show, click here.

His comfort with Indu went a long way in his revealing aspects of his personality that have rarely been captured in interviews before. As he star, he is grounded and focused and he displayed a wonderfully inquisitive mind and a crackling sense of humour.

We doubt that there was a single person in the audience who was immune to this charm by the end of the dialogue! And what a fantastic audience we had – no mobile phones going off, no chatter to disturb the talk, much respect for the guest and they had genuinely sharp questions to ask and didn’t let him off the hook easily. All in all, a very rewarding session that surpassed every expectation that we dared to have. Thank you everyone for making it such a success!

The Storm Before the Calm

The big day dawns

Farhan Akhtar - TBD

While the plan was outlined, gaps filled in, loopholes plugged, nothing prepared us for the overwhelming response on the big day. Thanks to our partnerships, we were able to declare the event free. HT Cafe and Mumbai Mirror carried stories on April 20, and all hell broke loose.

Having woken up groggily at 8 am for the 9 am set-up after a gruelling few days before the event, there were 45 missed calls on the phone already, half of which were logged in between 7 am to 7 15 am. Why on earth were people even up and about at that absurd hour? By afternoon, the number had gone up to 400, registrations poured in but unfortunately there wasn’t room for more than 60 as this was meant to be an intimate affair. Our dear friend Pritesh Angane patiently fielded calls, helped execute the set design, had magical solutions at hand for every crisis and provided a wonderful support system through the event. We love you for that, Po!

With great regret we had to say no to enthusiastic callers and even turn down offers of bribes. One bright chap volunteered his services – will even serve Farhan chai, he magnanimously offered – and it broke our heart to say no to such an enthu cutlet. A woman left her phone number and a mildly obscene message for Farhan in a rather throaty voice. Things were hotting up now.

Meanwhile, the gallery place was transforming into a cosy filmmaker’s study. The antique roll top desk had books on cinema, photos of Farhan and Zoya as kids and Farhan on the sets. Amrita Bagchi’s eye for detail meant that we were surrounded by art and references of films that have made an impact on cinema.

By sheer miracle we were good to go as the guests began to arrive.

A Motley Crew

So the stage was set

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But where would we be without the love of our friends who also happen to be incredibly talented? DJ EFFRT aka Kenneth Lobo offered his skills as a DJ, the fantastic illustrator Janine Shroff miraculously came up with an apt logo, artist Amrita Bagchi with her unique style was roped in for creatives and set design. While our filmmaker friend Viraj Gupta was on board as our producer.

A hyper-talented motley crew of like-minded people was in place.

Finally, Ranjit Dahiya of the Bollywood Art Project agreed to create a fantastic Don painting for our event.

Partnerships are Formed

Testing the idea

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While we tested the idea on our unsuspecting but incredibly enthusiastic friends and family, Farhan’s nod of agreement was a huge shot in the arm. We furiously launched into pre-production for the event and  our first and eternally supportive partner – artist Julius Macwan – offered us his lovely, quaint art residency Last Ship as the intimate venue. The Pint Room said ‘Cheers’ to the idea of our F&B partners, Bombil Times, the social media geniuses who know the city inside out, came on board as the social media partners. Mumbai Boss, our favourite read for discovering all the secrets this city holds, were a dream addition to our list of formidable partners.

Then by sheer fortitude we bumped into Rajesh Jog at The Bagel Shop. As a financial wiz, he has an eye for interesting projects and introduced us to our web partners Bitmoji. A bit of magic. Arjun and Tara helped us put up a website overnight and now the project was real.

Finally, we love Twitter for connecting people. We connected with the lovely Deepti Dadlani of Indigo Deli who dished up a wonderful hamper for Farhan. No sorry bouquets, but delicious fresh goodies from the deli.

A Plot is Hatched

So all good ideas have their root in an interesting story. Here’s how inspiration for The Boss Dialogues struck

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Indu Mirani and I have worked together in the Entertainment section of a popular daily, hit it off immediately and she continues to be a friend, guide, philosopher and partner-in-crime even after we both found different jobs. During our time at the daily, I tagged along for certain interviews if the star happened to be on the dishy side or had a brilliant sense of humour. The perks of the job, of course. During one of her interviews with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, the mutual courtesy and comfort was evident and since then the seed for The Boss Dialogues was sown.

One confesses that all one did at the interview with the superstar was goggle like a goldfish (such is his aura) while Indu chatted away comfortably. Over time, we realised that today it is impossible even for journalists to bond with the stars like in the good old days when one could go and hang about the sets and become part of the scenery to the cast and the crew. The PR machinery and agenda-driven appearances left no room for a real ‘dialogue’ and what filtered through to the unsuspecting public were promotional bytes and carefully constructed personas.

So we thought why not start with directors who were changing the game? Our wishlist started with the versatile Farhan Akhtar and included Farah Khan, Kabir Khan, Karan Johar, Raju Hirani, Vishal Bhardwaj, Imtiaz Ali… so many fantastic talents who were the ‘bosses’ of cinema. Farhan was gracious enough to agree immediately as he intuitively understood that we were trying to go beyond the superfluous and initiate a real dialogue about the art of cinema and storytelling. Farah Khan and Kabir Khan have been equally wonderful and forthcoming for the May and June line-up. We are hoping to be as fortunate with the rest of our wishlist.

If there is a director/film personality you’d like to see featured in The Boss Dialogues, please mail us here namratab@thebossdialogues.com

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