No big stars want to work with me: N. Chandra


By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Dec 18 (IANS) Long in hibernation, N. Chandra, who once made hard-hitting socially relevant films like "Ankush" and "Pratighaat", is back with his latest film "Breaking News". But the comeback was not easy, says the director who is labelled as outdated by Bollywood biggies.

Anupam Kher, Seema Biswas, Atul Kulkarni, Rajpal Yadav, Siyaji Shinde and Perizaad Zorabian form the cast of the new film."I confess no big stars wanted to work with me. Of late Indian cinema has changed drastically. The big stars feel I'm too senior to be contemporary. None of the established stars want to hear my narration," Chandra told IANS.

"The film is my way of proving them wrong. I had to come to terms with reality. And the reality was that my market value was low. 'Breaking News' takes me back to my roots. I've touched on burning issues like the Hindu-Muslim divide, anti-reservation, the migration problems in big cities and of course the rich-poor divide."

He frankly admits to being inspired by the Oscar-winner "Crash".

"I feel 'Crash' had a great concept. It looked at the malaise in American society through various episodes. I've adapted the same format. There're seven stories, all inter-linked by the characters."

Chandra has shot "Breaking News" on Panavision camera, which is a first for Indian cinema.

"So far only big Hollywood films have been shot in that format. I've got Hollywood cameraman Matthew Boyd to shoot Mumbai like never before," said Chandra.

In-between Chandra made some low-brow comedies like "Style" and its sequel "Excuse Me".

"I won't say I was uncomfortable doing them. They were the need of my hour. After 'Wajood', which I consider my best and most ambitious film, I was in a deep financial crisis. I had to face immense setbacks and I went through severe mental trauma. It took me time to get hold of myself again. I had to make those comedies, just like after 'Mera Naam Joker', Raj Kapoor made 'Bobby'. Sometimes one needs to do things for practical reasons. But 'Breaking News' marks the return of the real N. Chandra."

He cuts down rumours of remaking his all-time hit "Tezaab".

"I've lots of ready subjects. Why should I go for a remake? After 'Tezaab' I made 'Narasimha', which made even bigger money. It was like pitching a new batsman with Sachin Tendulkar, so comparisons were unfair."