Zoya Akhtar


If you have followed filmmaker Zoya Akhtar’s work right from her debut film Luck By Chance (2000) to webseries Made In Heaven (2019), one commonality that you must have observed is presence of an ensemble cast in all her projects.

 

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Akhtar, whose last directorial Gully Boy (2019) has been selected as India’s officially entry to the Oscars, says she likes to have an ensemble cast in her projects. “I personally like to have an ensemble cast in my projects. I like working with characters. There were five characters in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and 25 characters in Dil Dhadakne Do (2015). If you have an actor that comes into your film and is part of that story, he better have some heft. It’s not just information but there needs to be a rounding off and there needs to be a story behind their stories. Otherwise, it becomes boring and dull,” says Zoya.

 

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Sharing her process of creating characters, the filmmaker adds, “We do extensive interviews with people and then it’s a mixture of real people, imagination and a little literature background. You mix everything and create something. I like characters and I feel it’s very important for them to have a world that they come from, which may not necessarily be in the film. You write a back story and tell them (the audience) this is who they were when the film starts, so they operate from that psychology.”

Meanwhile, Zoya Akhtar is currently working on her next digital show titled Ghost Stories, an ensemble of four short movies helmed by four directors. Besides Akhtar, other directors include Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar. Plans to make a sequel to her Amazon Prime Video show Made In Heaven are also underway.