Torch girl to director
Having an experience of working with the most talented directors like Shimit Amit, Anurag Basu and Imtiaz Ali, now debuting with Yash Raj films, 'Mere Dad ki Maruti', Ashima Chibber from Hyderabad is going places in Bollywood Radhika Rajamani Ashima Chibber is the new director on the block. Her film, 'Mere Dad Ki Maruti', A Yash Raj Films product under their Y films banner, will be hitting theatres nationwide on March 15. Ashima has assisted some of the most talented directors like Shimit Amit, Anurag Basu and Imtiaz Ali before she embarked in direction. Could you talk a bit about yourself? I started my life thinking I would one day be an academician like my father, but along the way more fascinating options came along. So I shifted gear and jumped into the most exciting world ever possible of film making. There has not been a dull moment in my life since I took this decision and I hope it remains thus, till the last day of my life. What drew you to films? I used to work as a torch girl in a cinema hall, when I was living in Cambridge. I watched numerous films from morning to night. I was fascinated, inspired, drawn to this awesome, mesmerising world of cinema. When we locked up the cinema hall at night, the sound and visuals would still resonate. That's what made me realise that I was drawn to films. Did you want to don the director's hat always? Within the world of film-making, and all its facets, I was sure that direction was for me. Because, when I was in school in Hyderabad I used to do plays, which is the strongest foundation for film making. So it came to me organically. You worked as AD to directors like Shimit Amin and (Ab Tak Chappan, Chak De India) and Imtiaz Ali (Rockstar). How did these stints help you hone your skills? Besides I think you also took some film courses abroad... When I reached Mumbai, completely inexperienced but wanting to be a director, I, fortunately met Shimit Amin, who was looking for a First Assistant Director for his film 'Ab tak Chappan'. I worked with him, and understood the mind of a film director, the structure of any film and its presentation. Once I understood the structure of film making it was only building my strength and creative with other directors like Anurag Basu on 'Kites' and Imtiaz Ali on 'Rockstar'. All the directors I worked with are the ones whose work I always admired and looked up to them, and hence wanted to work with them. I was fortunate. I learned from the best. I hope it shows in the film 'Mere Dad ki Maruti'. There are a lot of tributes to my directors. How did Mere Dad ki Maruthi happen? How did you choose to debut with this film? I believe a script chooses its own director. Cosmos paves the path! After I completed 'Rockstar' I got a call from YRF to direct this film, and I did. It was simple. It's scripted by Neeraj Udhwani, Pooja Desai and you? What was the triggering point to write this film? Screenplay is a part of direction. I came in last to make additions to the screenplay, which most directors do. But the script was already written before I stepped in. It was so funny. I laughed all day when I when read it. And then I re-read it the following day and it was still as funny. And now that the film is about to release, I find it funnier still! The casting seems interesting. How did you decide on Ram Kapoor, Ravi Kishan, Saqib Saleem, Rhea Chakraborthy? Were they selected through auditions? We wanted a father who was funny even when he was angry. Which is always a lethal combination for comedy. Ram was slam dunk. Saqib was auditioned extensively because he had already done a film before, so he had to be stripped from his previous character. When, that happened finally and I was convinced no one can be funnier than him, he was on. When I saw Rhea, I knew she had the spunk the play the part. And when she auditioned, she could play funny without "playing" funny which worked for her character. There was no two ways about it. Is it basically a comedy? Would the audience have a rollicking time laughing all the way? This film will be the comedy of the year! It's a hilarious story. The actors are spot on with their comic timing, it doesn't get funnier this year. Audiences will laugh out loud. I promise. What's the film about in a nutshell? It's about a boy who takes his dad's new car out to impress his girl friend and loses it. What all he has to do to replace it, makes for the funniest film. How is it to be a woman director in the Hindi film industry? Did you face any gender bias? I don't think audiences know, what gender the director is or who the director is. The film talks to them. I faced no gender bias in the industry. I would not be here, if I did. What are your future plans? Your head must be buzzing with ideas for the next film.Yes I have idea, and I am dying to make my next film. What are the kinds of films you want to make? The good ones, the romantic ones, the ones my mother would like to watch.