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I’ll never touch my father’s work, says Meghna Gulzar

Meghna Gulzar has often been offered to remake her father, iconic writer-lyricist, Gulzar’s films but the director says she will never consider the thought, as she believes “masterpieces shouldn’t be touched”.

Gulzar, 83, has helmed several celebrated films in his career such as “Ijaazat”, “Aandhi” and “Angoor”.

Meghna, 44, however, did not specify which of her father’s movies were offered to her to remake.

“I get suggestions and offers but I’ll never do it, never consider it. I can’t even imagine it because there is no need whatsoever. I was offered to remake, strangely, but yes. I don’t think masterpieces should be touched,” the filmmaker told agencies in an interview.

She says the fact that her father has never written any of her films – specially her directorial debut “Filhaal” and her second outing “Just Married” – is because he would never have the same perspective that she has. He, however, gives a few suggestions from time to time.

“The subjects I was picking, he says it himself, that he’ll never be able to write something like a ‘Filhaal’ or a ‘Just Married’ because the perspective that I have, he wouldn’t.

I can’t ever remember my father instructing me about anything. The upbringing, the support was subliminal and through suggestions. You cannot teach writing, it has to come instinctively,” she added.

Meghna, who has helmed four films in her over than 15-year-long career, had started assisting filmmaker Sayeed Mirza right after college. Surprisingly, she never worked on a set with Gulzar, a decision, which she says, was deliberate.

“On my father’s set, it was difficult not to be the director’s daughter for the rest of the crew. So learning on that set wouldn’t have been possible. I assisted my father in writing and postproduction, (but) never on the sets.

On the sets, I can be a distraction for him too. He doesn’t seize to be the father and it can be distracting for a director. I know how I feel when my son is on set,” she says.

Meghna made “Filhaal” in 2002 and then went on to direct her second, “Just Married”, five years later. The gap stretched to seven years when she made her third film, “Talvar” in 2015.

She also directed one of the 10 stories in the anthology film, “Dus Kahaniyaan” (2007).

“After ‘Just Married’, I took really long to write a script, due to I guess lack of motivation. When there’s failure, there’s lack of motivation. You do get a little deflated. But I did write three scripts, which never materialised.

But I’ve outgrown them now. ‘Filhaal’ is not my first script, it’s my second. I put the first one aside, it was a comedy…” she says.

Meghna says the seven-year gap made her question her craft.

At one point, she even wondered if she is a “bad filmmaker or a bad storyteller, may be the subjects she chose are wrong”.

The director says today she is in much more “confident” space and has found immense liking for stories based on real life, such as her latest “Raazi”, a spy thriller.

“I find true life genre very stimulating because it’s challenging, it’s a tremendous responsibility and it’s also very liberating.

You can do away with the bells and whistles, nice looking actors and blow dry hair and pristine costumes. You can just tell the story in the best possible way,” she adds.

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