Zoya on ZNMD

Published On: 2018-09-13

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Zoya on ZNMD



Source: Telegraph India 

Date: December 22, 2011 

By: Priyanka Roy 



Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar was in Calcutta recently to receive the Best Director award for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara at the Anandalok Awards. A t2 chat. 



How special is winning your first Best Director award? 


I had won Best Debut at an awards function last year, so the Best Director award was a perfect follow-up. I felt great when I was told I had won at the Anandalok Awards. My brother (Farhan Akhtar) had won an award here a few years ago and now it’s me. So it felt pretty good. 



Is this the beginning of many more awards for ZNMD? 


I don’t know, yaar. You never know with these award shows. Everyone keeps saying, ‘You are the favourite… you will win’ and then someone else walks away with it (laughs). So it’s best not to think, ‘Oh, I got this and I hope to get many more’. I would rather think, ‘Cool, I got this and I am going to enjoy it’. 



While you were making it, did you ever think that ZNMD would become so big? 


Everybody sets out to make a film that will connect. I knew that ZNMD would work on some level, but I wasn’t really prepared for the phenomenon that it became. Even when we were going through the scenes, all of us… the actors… the technicians… realised that we were on to something extraordinary, but we had no idea that it would turn out to be so big. When it released, I just hoped that ZNMD would entertain, but the fact that it resonated so profoundly with so many was a huge, huge plus. People took it so deeply. It was so overwhelming. 



Looking back, what do you think worked? 


It was everyone’s story. Almost all of us have allowed our lives to be packed up in boxes… we don’t let go anymore. When sometimes we do, we tend to feel guilty about it. We are so bound by propriety… by the need to do what the people around us think is right. That really resonated deeply with the audience at some level or the other. 



What was the best compliment that you got for the film? 


Oh, there were loads… but the one thing that really stuck was when someone told my father (Javed Akhtar) that he dumped his fiancee after watching the film! (Laughs.) I thought that was very funny. 



How much of what we saw the guys doing in ZNMD was part of Zoya’s own wishlist? 


From the film it would be the scuba-diving bit. But one thing that I really want to do is travel. I just want to pack my bags, grab my passport, get hold of a car and drive across the world. That’s more my kind of thing. A lot of the incidents and characters that you saw were definitely drawn from my life experiences… from people I know. My brother is actually quite like Imran in real life. 



Does the success of ZNMD put a lot of pressure on you? 


Every film comes with its own pressure. But yes, the pressure now is a lot more than what it was before ZNMD. Now everyone is like, ‘So, what are you making next?’ And I am like, ‘I don’t know!’ And they stare at me in disbelief (laughs). But honestly, I don’t want to think about my next film now. The pressure just gets to me. 



With Don 2 releasing this Friday, are you glad that the pressure is now on your brother? 


(Laughs.) That’s a good way to put it! But the pressure is on everyone, even on me. Farhan has made a really good film and I am sure Don 2 will be massive. 



What are you working on now? 


I am doing one film in a short-film series called 100 Years of Indian Cinema. It is a four-film series, 20 minutes each, directed by four filmmakers. After that, I will write my feature. But it most definitely will not be made before 2013.