Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster was adapted from a Guru Dutt classic. How did you make a sequel?
I will not deny we wanted to cash in with a sequel, but the more persuasive reason is I was not satiated making the first one. I could not exploit aspects of royalty due to budget constraints. Not just in production, but also in the storyline.
Which now has a larger political canvas. How did a family drama evolve into a political film?
Some filmmakers are products of cinema, like Tarantino, while some are products of life. My references in filmmaking are not cinema. I see so many changes in the country and I want to explore some of those. Politics in our country has become gross; I have no other word for it. In this film, the characters’ political ambition is explored through bedroom politics.
You have often expressed a desire to quit films and join politics. How do you square the two?
I don’t see filmmaking as an end. I know where it will lead me and that is not enough. It’s not to say I don’t enjoy it for now. But I’m not changing anything about society. If I want to do that, I can either become a vigilante and start killing people or join politics.
You harbour no illusions about politics. How then can it be a positive force?
Politics is about giving to people. My grandfather, a freedom fighter and Gandhian, won against the Congress as an independent candidate. He went to jail for the freedom struggle, that gives me hope. Our secular citizens give me hope too.
And yet you seem disillusioned about the youth.
I have no faith in the youth of this country. They have lost their enterprise, and while away their time in coffee shops or on smartphones. There are exceptions, but think of someone like Bhagat Singh, who at 23 was so evolved and inspiring.
We saw a different side to you in Gangs of Wasseypur. Are their more roles in the offing?
I only act to be with friends, like I recently did in Ketan Mehta’s Mountain Man. Directing and writing are my first love. I have an acting degree from the National School of Drama. I didn’t use it all these years, so it’s payback time now. Acting is like a diversion.