Meghna Gulzar on Raazi’s release in Pakistan: Cultural exchanges should not be driven by politics

Published: May 9, 2018 12:10:37 pm

Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi will hit the screens on May 11. As a creative person, I want to keep shifting gears so that I don’t stagnate. Alia Bhatt portrays the role of an Indian spy Sehmat in Raazi. But yes, that awareness was there that this is sensitive territory that we are treading, but then so was Talvar. Is there any fear that the way you see the film would be different from how the audience would perceive it, given that the Indo-Pakistan relationship is so delicate? He said, ‘Look, I don’t know who will produce the film, but I am very sure that I want only you to direct it.’ And I told him that if he trusts me so much with the material then he should let me develop it and colour a cinematic story out of the book and take it to the studio. So taking the script to her was morally the right thing to do. How did you approach the script? Why are you attracted to dark narratives like Raazi and Talvar? These are made for the film and they are connected to the film. However, whether the film will release in Pakistan or not should not be relevant only because it is Raazi, a film on Indo-Pakistan subject. Tell us more. Any plans of releasing the film in Pakistan? It is about your own intent of picking the subject. Cultural exchanges should not be driven by politics. More than anything, I believe the audience is far more aware than we give them credit for. Alia Bhatt and Meghna Gulzar clicked during the shoot of Raazi in Kashmir. That’s what makes a patriotic song truly universal. I met Harinder Sikka and we had a conversation. And the audiences will get that. The talks between Harinder Sikka and the production house were not coming through. It is just that stories from there are far more compelling. It is not a conscious thing. Related News
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© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd It will subliminally seep in the way you execute the film. So I did that and took it to Junglee Pictures and Priti Sahani, as she was the first one to tell me about this book. The songs are entrenched in the film. So it is important to touch different genres and different colours in the palette. We hope that it releases in Pakistan. So it just grew from there. In an exclusive interview with, Meghna talks about the challenges of adapting a book and how she gravitated towards making films based on true stories. That has been my biggest learning as a filmmaker since Talvar. This is a prayer which is sung in the schools of Pakistan even today. Our films are anyway not releasing in Pakistan, which is a tragedy in itself. Where a decision is made for her, by her parents and that she is married off into a Pakistani military family and sent across the border where she becomes the eyes and ears of India. My father (Gulzar) used to sing it as a child at his school in pre-Partition days. I know it is releasing worldwide. I wouldn’t say fear because if there was fear, I wouldn’t venture forward and make it in the first place. Apart from that, there is her backstory, her parents’ backstory and whatever happened after that like an epilogue. That was my only guiding principle in pulling out this main thread from the book. There is a situation in the film where Sehmat’s character teaches children at an army school a song for their annual day and what I wanted was duality in the song. Her last movie Talvar had left a deep impact on the audience showing them the other side of the Arushi Talwar murder case. Not dark, but the true life genre is what I am gravitating towards. But, something inside me tells me that when the film releases you’ll realise that it’s looking at the Indo-Pakistan dynamic very differently and that there is nothing in it that it should not release in Pakistan. As of now, I don’t think there are any plans. “Ae Watan Mere Watan” is quite an impactful patriotic song, something we have seen in an Indian film after a long time. Now how this film happened is another story altogether. We’ve not made songs to fill up an album. The attempt should always be to take the written word forward, which is what I did with my approach to the film. When you read the book, the most powerful thread in the book is the journey of this girl, Sehmat. Another layer to this song is through two lines – “Lab pe aati hai dua ban ke tamanna meri, zindagi shamma ki surat ho khudaya meri”. This is the first time you’ve adapted a book. The film, which has actors Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal as the main leads, is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat. When she is teaching “Ae Watan Mere Watan” to them, the children are referring to Pakistan and she refers to India.