Mahesh Bhatt is extremely proud of his upcoming production City Lights directed by the National award-winning director of Shahid, Hansal Mehta. Excerpts from a conversation with Bhatt sahab, where he talks about his decision to back the film and its filmmaker Hansal Mehta.
City Lights seems to be a very different film from the kind of films you have produced so far. Why City Lights?
I see it as a watershed film in the narrative of Vishesh Films. This kind of cinema was a springboard, which launched the brand Mahesh Bhatt, be it Arth, Saaransh, Jaanam, Naam or Zakhm, which kind of gave me an enduring shelf life. If today, I resonate in the hearts of the nation, it is due to these films which tore into my guts and brought out the emotion that I lived in my subterranean regions. What made me stand apart was my complete disdain for whether it conformed to market acceptability or not. But like all the renegades and rebels, sooner or later you get co-opted in by the establishment and nothing is more corrupt than that. But there remains a longing in you and that is what I hope City Lights does.
The narrative where a man comes from rural India to a city with innocence and his morals intact and you feel that he is a part of you. And that is how we all began. Having all the muscle I have got and having been through the journey of highs and lows and continuously reinventing myself, there is a longing to go back to my core and that is when I stumbled into Hansal. I discovered him through a very brave film directed by him called Shahid, which reminded me of Zakhm. The NDA was in power at that time. BJP-Shiv Sena ruled and people told me how I must be mad to make that film.
And they were right as I had the toughest time to release that film. It took a lot of me to get it out of the home ministry in Delhi that was headed by LK Advani.