‘Once again, I feel I have something to say’
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Saeed Akhtar Mirza, who made Nukkad, Saleem Langde Pe Mat Ro and Naseem, is back after a 14-year break with Ek Tho Chance, a film on Mumbai and its people: insiders and outsiders. He talks about the changes in the fabric of a city earlier known as Bombay, its politics and his love for cinema
Why the 14-year gap between the National Award-winning Naseem and your forthcoming Ek Tho Chance?
If you remember, when I made Naseem in the year 1995, it was an insane time in our country with riots everywhere. The demolition of the Babri Masjid was the last straw. Naseem was almost like an epitaph. After the film, I had really nothing to say. I needed to regain my faith and retain my sanity. So I decided to travel around India and document it on a video camera. It wasn't that I was doing nothing. I wrote a book, Ammi: Letter to a Democratic Mother. There's another book in the pipeline but then I got the idea to make Ek Tho Chance for Pritish Nandy Corporation (PNC). I took it up because once again I feel I have something to say.
What compelled you to make Ek Tho Chance?
Though these days I spend more time in Goa, Bombay is my city. I've always been fascinated by the magnetic pull of Bombay and how it draws dreamers from all over the country who genuinely believe that they can make it. All they need is ek tho chance (just one chance). The film is an ode to this quality of Bombay. There are about seven stories crisscrossing in the narrative. The city is treated as a metaphor, a machine where we don't realise how conjoint we really are. We've shot all over the city and we've tried to depict its character.