Interview By: Hasti Doshi
A director sails the boat and that’s exactly what we can see R Balki doing in his films and makes sure not to sink his boat with the help of his skills of conveying the story simply with mixture of fun plus message both and at the same time engaging his audiences. In conversation with him we got to know about his funny side as well and a lot more about his views on ‘Padman’. Excerpts-
An entertaining film with a message, how challenging was it for you to keep the balance?
It’s very easy to get carried away and of course it has a message and to convert that it needs to be entertaining. So my first job was to keep it emotional, entertaining and engaging along with funny.
Is that the reason why, to have all these components in film, Akshay is casted?
I didn’t choose him, because he was only one who asked me whether I would like to do a film on this or not. My concern wasn’t anything but just that I want to do a biopic or not and then I realised that no one has done a film on menstrual hygiene and it would be the first one. Akshay Kumar is bang on with his character and I think no one else could had played such role other than him.
There were instances in your film where junior actors weren’t ready to hold pads, do you think notion of such people would let them come to theatres to watch this film?
Actually what happened was that when we went to one village where we wanted some people to act for this film and they can totally know about the topic of film they ran away and exactly that’s what is going to work for the film. We are always scared of what people will say and we don’t ask people what they want to see. If we ask to show an advertisement on pads they will deny but after showing it, they will have their own inputs and opinions about how it should be. I feel for every change to happen somebody should do it first and once you do it people get comfortable talking about it. So we need to make a film on something for which they aren’t comfortable so that they can talk about it. I don’t think that this word ‘Pad’ anyone has said as many times as they have since these 4 to 5 months. There will be change in father daughter relationship too as next time after this film they will be more comfortable talking to each other about it and there have been such stories.
Do you think the reach would be slightly tough without Akshay Kumar?
Without Akshay there’s no reach because I feel when you have great actor and big star, many people will come and see the film. What I think is these stars obviously should do other films too but doing such films with message and obviously box office numbers matter but still they should do, it’s great along with giving entertainment to people.
Is that the reason why you think of taking up such big actors for your films?
Akshay I took because he told me about the story sitting in front of me, who else will I think of then. He is an incredible actor and effortless like he won’t talk about acting like other people do. For ‘Chini Kum’ it was Amitabh Bachchan because he’s not a big star, he’s just Bachchan and I wrote the film for him only. I like to work with people of whom I am a fan.
What is your thought behind casting Radhika and Sonam?
There is no thought as they are stupendous actors.
Apart from India, this movie and issue is something now international media is also talking about and sharing their issues related to same, so how do you feel about that?
The issue is already existing in so many countries like UK, Africa, Middle East, all have big issues. It’s a global issue we are talking about and even the developed countries are facing it including Latin America, whereas there are few countries who aren’t facing but majority everyone is.
Your film was in midst of all clashes with ‘Padmavat’ and then ‘Aiyaary’ so does the subject of the film gets affected due to this?
We were supposed to come in April but we finished the movie soon so thought of coming in January. Then when ‘Padmaavat’ thing happened they really needed screens and we had a talk about it and got to the decision of releasing later so this was the date left with us to come in February. What I want from the film is the conversation happening among the people about the issue and I didn’t wanted it to be affected.