Meghna Gulzar feels real life has more heroes than the fictional world, and likes tracing their journeys through her cinematic endeavours. The filmmaker, who is working on a biopic on Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, says telling a true story is challenging — and feels she does a “better job” with them.
“My stories have become stronger in terms of the content, and I think it has to do with the fact that, after ‘Talvar’, that sense of fear, or lack of confidence, about telling a story which is strong, bold and not considered soft (went away),” Meghna told IANS over the phone.
“With ‘Talvar’, I got comfortable with… telling stronger stories. With that, the confidence to choose stories which are stronger has increased in me. I feel I do a better job with true life,” she added.
“Because it is extremely challenging and that challenge makes me work harder which, in turn, works for the film,” said the daughter of poet, lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar.
Meghna dabbled with the subject of surrogacy in her debut film “Filhaal” back in 2002. She narrated the ordeal of a newly-married couple dealing with incompatibility in “Just Married: Marriage Was Only the Beginning!”.
“Talvar” dealt with the infamous Aarushi Talwar murder case on the silver screen. In recent times, she hit the jackpot with Alia Bhatt-starrer “Raazi“.
Based on Harinder Sikka’s book “Calling Sehmat“, the story of “Raazi” revolves around a young Kashmiri girl who gets married to a Pakistani Army officer and becomes a spy to give inside information about the neighbouring country to protect her own.
The film drew a positive response from the audience, and now she is already busy with the project to bring alive on the silver screen the life of Field Marshal Manekshaw, who was army chief during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Meghna feels Manekshaw is a “role model and a personality people should know about”.
“His life is iconic. He is a hero… He played a very big part in the history and geography of our country. And a lot of people of our generation don’t know about him.
“He has lived a legendary life — and he was heroic and charming as well,” she added.
This is her second film around the Indian Army, and Meghna shrugs that off as a mere coincidence.
“I don’t look at it as something which was strategised. It happened to be a coincidence. ‘Raazi’ and the film on Manekshaw tell inspiring and powerful stories. The fact that they have defence as a background is a coincidence.”
Recounting her decision to make the film, she said: “It happened over a conversation about what kind of subject Ronnie Screwvala and I would like to do.
“He had expressed his desire to work with me. I felt honoured that somebody like him would like to work with me because I really look up to the work he has done as a producer. In the course of those discussions, this subject came up and I found it to be fascinating that I would be given an opportunity to tell this story.”
Meghna says she plans to meet the family of Manekshaw, but only after a “brief structure” of the film is ready.