“Cricket is my life,” says Delhii Heights director Anand Kumar in a tete-a-tete with Readers Fusion as he talks about the projects he is presently working. He also recalls the fond memories of working with veteran actor Om Puri. In this conversation, he also shares his mantra of tackling challenging situations and difficult people.
Here are excerpts of the interview:
Readers Fusion: Hi Anand, after a series of much-loved projects, what are you working on currently?
Anand: Currently I’m doing this documentary on T20 World Cup 2007. India played the T20 World Cup the first time and won too. It’s been I think 14-15 years that we have not able to win it again. So I’m talking to all 16 cricketers who were a part of the victory.
Cricket is absolutely my life, and this love started right from the childhood. This current project is purely out of passion. So I took it up, and collaborated with a London-based company and we are having a nice time. The writing has been in process; and the whole series is looking pretty good. I’m hoping that I’ll deliver something good.
Readers Fusion: We’ve seen and loved Delhii Heights & Zila Ghaziabad. Would you like to share with us some fond memories of those times?
Anand: Well, Delhii Heights was always very special because I’m a true-blue Delhiite. Making a film was a challenge. As I shifted to Mumbai, life changed.
There was a very special moment, not funny, but very special. I think it was the 8th or 9th day of the shoot. I had to shoot with the Om Puri and before that, I was shooting with Jimmy Shergill and Neha Dhupia – they were kind of friends.
But I was nervous the day when Om Puri sir was coming to the set because he was an amazing actor. So that day when he came, it was like very early in the morning. Then, this great man comes into the room, and asks, “Anand kidhar hai? (Where is Anand)” in his majestic voice. I went blank.
I was so nervous and he said: ‘Come, let’s sit’. During the 10 steps I walked with him to his makeup room, I was having jitters. And he could understand that I was anxious. But he made me very comfortable by saying, ‘You know, I tell you Anand, it is for you, we have come. The captain of the ship is you. You know what exactly you want and I would deliver it. I am here to listen to you, so chill!’
This always remains one of my memorable moments from the shoot of Delhii Heights.
Readers Fusion: During your Bollywood stint, what has been your mantra for tackling difficult people and situations?
Anand: You must be patient. It is important not to lose your cool. Mostly it is not losing it, it is just holding on and trying to understand the actor. What happens in life is, whatever we feel is correct, that is like a Bible to us and we start believing that this is it. It’s not like that. Always try to listen to the other person as well. You must keep an open mind and strike a balance between everything.
Readers Fusion: What do you enjoy more – directing or writing?
Anand: Direction is what I enjoy the most, but writing is something that comes naturally to me. “Desi Kattey” was one film where I was not involved in writing, but I am a kind of director who performs well when I contribute while the writing is going on.
The new project that I am working on has Saurabh Pandey who did “Kashmir Files”. We are working on the script, and this should go on floor in 2023. Since he also comes from a cricket background, I can talk to him for hours on the sport. It is natural thing, you putting it on paper, like the entire screenplay, would be like your own thing. I love that effortless working; my profession is something which is my hobby.
If you are not enjoying what you are doing, then it is the most monotonous thing you are doing.
Readers Fusion: One actor or actress you wish to direct soon?
Anand: Mohan Lal and Kamal Hasan – I would love to direct them. Also, I would love to direct Deepika Padukone. It will be great if I get a chance to direct Deepika!
Readers Fusion: Who is your favourite director who you look up to?
Anand: I am a die-hard fan of Mani Ratnam.In fact, few of his films were my inspiration to be in the industry. Till day, I read about him, I watch all his films. ‘Nayakan’ is one of my favourites.