There was the time when Baadshaho director Milan was infatuated with horses and wanted to work with them in some way. However, filmmaking became Milan’s calling instead and all thanks to his uncle Mahesh Bhatt (his other first cousin). Milan was asked by his uncle to assist him in the making of Zakhm. And his filmmaking journey started in 1999. And till date, he has peppered the audience with numerous box office bonanzas and some career defining performances.
Milan has made 9 movies in 18 years and pointed that he is OK with it. “I have never been into film making just for the heck of it. I have gone from a POW drama to a 24-hour story set in Mumbai to the underworld (in my films). One thing you learn in this business is that good work takes time. A couple of times you do feel that things should move faster, but it’s more about satisfaction and since I haven’t taken short-cuts or chased money, there are no regrets.”
And now he is ready with his new movie Baadshaho. With this movie, he marks 4 times collaboration with ‘muse’ Ajay Devgn. They became friends on the set of Zakhm. And over years, Ajay-Milan collaboration became become synonymous with the box-office success. So why this fascinating feeling with Ajay Devgn even after many years? For this, Milan replied, “We bring out the best in each other. When you have a comfort level, it’s good to work with the same people. At the same time, you cannot overdo it. You are not thinking about ‘what films to make with Ajay Devgn?’ — I never do that. In between there was a long gap but it did not change anything. People are amazed at how little we communicate and yet how much we understand of each other.”
Milan Luthria is attracted by the real stories and Baadshaho is no exception. He heard the stories of raids on the palace of Maharani Gayatri Devi in the year 1975 when he was busy shooting Kachche Dhaage. So why did it took 18 years for him to work on his dream project? “It’s only because it was a difficult film to make. Just as you keep catching up with old friends over a cup of coffee, in a similar way you keep revisiting old stories only to see if they still wield the power they once had. The challenge was that there had been heist films before, which have been a little disappointing to me and I wanted to make a very tight heist film.”
Milan’s fascination will take us back to the 70’s blockbusters. He explains it as, “I think they (shades of grey) give more legs to your story. If you go back in time — whether it was Deewar or Trishul — they all were very dark films where the hero dies after opting for the wrong path. Filmmakers always had to chose between sugarcoated films and films that are a little grey. People do make wrong choices and they do have a side, which is not all goody goody. In drama I think it gives you much more to play with.”
And talking about the ‘70s, Luthria bitterly regrets that the dramas have now disappeared from the Hindi filmscape. “I think today’s lives are much less dramatic. The drama of two brothers separating or two men not getting along was much more heightened in the ’70s. Today, you break up and then you make up or just move on. I think it was a time when men were men. I find that our current films are getting too light. There is not much of conflict and drama.”
Milan is also disappointed that there are no Bollywood movies which can perfectly fit the bill of heist movie. Though he considers Hollywood’s Rififi as a textbook for such types of movies. He has a feeling that it’s a genre whose potential Bollywood hasn’t milked.
Having the background from a filmmaker’s family, he learned the ropes on the sets of films directed by Dharmesh Darshan (also a relative) and Mahesh Bhatt.
On the other hand, talking about nepotism. Emraan Hashmi, another family, had been featured in 3 Milan Luthria’s movies, so now the question arises does nepotism exist in the film industry? “I definitely feel that there is a big advantage,” he says, adding, “You will get one or two chances (because of your family connections) but beyond that, whoever it may be has to be very good at his/her job. It’s a very dog-eat-dog world. (Family) does gives you an easier start but only the fittest can survive.”