They Called Him Renegade : Tehelka

Student politics, gangsters and now a near perfect biopic. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s success has been a long time coming, says Sunaina Kumar

LOOKING BACK, 2003 seems like a significant year for Bollywood. Big-ticket releases like Munnabhai MBBSKal Ho Naa Ho jostled with new-fangled multiplex films likeJhankaar Beats and Joggers’ Park. The one film which could, or should, have been the year’s talking point for preceding a genre was not noticed at all. It took a cluster of similar films like Maqbool (2004), Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005) and Gulaal (2009) for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s debut feature Haasil to finally be recognised as a cult film. A heartland story with guns and gangsters set in the world of student politics, it addressed real India, before the genre became a fad. The filmmaker, however, did not make it to the exalted league of Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bharadwaj and the older vanguards, Sudhir Mishra and Prakash Jha.

It was the worst of times. For seven years after his second film Charas: A Joint Operation (2004), a misguided effort set in the world of drug cartels, Tigmanshu Dhulia did not direct a single film. He got himself a Labrador puppy and named him Action. That was the closest he got to feeling in control of his destiny, being able to say “Action” through the day. And then, as if to make up for that rather lean period, in the past 10 months, there have been three releases by him. In the summer of last year came out Shagird, a sound and fury cop drama with Nana Patekar playing a gun-toting eccentric, followed by Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster, a twist on the Guru Dutt classic with under-realised potential. As if both films were a warm up to the real thing — Paan Singh Tomar. The closest we have come to making a near-perfect biopic.

In the right order of things, Paan Singh Tomar should have been his first film. He’s been brewing the idea since 1991, when he first read of the athlete-turned-renegade in a newsweekly. As casting director for Bandit Queen, he shot with Shekhar Kapur in Chambal Valley, and was familiar with the hostile terrain. Even then, the research was backbreaking work, with only one solid lead, the name of Paan Singh’s village, Morena. Following stray clues, he managed to trace Paan Singh’s family, army colleagues and gang members, culminating in an interview with his nephew and gang member Balwanta, an active dacoit who insisted on meeting in the cover of the night in a chai shop on the highway. Kapur, who has been enthusiastically tweeting about Paan Singh Tomar, says Dhulia is very much aware of what is happening in India now. “His inspiration is so Indian and so pure, it’s new wave but not derived from any other cinema. Paan Singh Tomarmanages to be authentic and yet entertain in the realm of commercial cinema. And Tigmanshu manages to extricate great performances from every actor.”

Dhulia tells the story with practised ease, he’s had to repeat it ad nauseum since the movie released. On a Sunday afternoon, he sits in his bedraggled office in Andheri. There is no fancy furniture, the sofas have been chewed by Sahiba, a stray dog rescued by him. The posters on the walls are the only indulgence. Steve McQueen’s Bullitt, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the usual posters from a fanboy collection. There is a poster of The Beatles. He owns three guitars and in another life, before becoming a filmmaker, taught the late Amit Saigal, his friend from Allahabad, how to strum the strings.

Ultimately, Dhulia aspires to be a politician. ‘You can’t change society by making films. Making films is the easy part,’ he says

It’s this other life that opens the window to the man and the filmmaker. Dhulia, 44, was born and raised in Allahabad. In the ’80s, it was the cultural capital of the Hindi belt, with high-minded progressives and a Nehruvian sense of elite. Dhulia’s father was a judge in the Allahabad High Court and a secretary of the Students’ Federation of India, student wing of the CPM, and his mother a professor of Sanskrit. The youngest of three brothers — one joined the navy, one is a judge in the Uttarakhand High Court — he is the only one to have betrayed the family tradition. “Whatever I am today is because of those dinner table conversations,” he says.

At Allahabad University, he joined the students’ movement, as member of the pro-Left Progressive Students’ Organisation. He wrote revolutionary songs and organised street plays. Student politics then was powerful and volatile. Haasil, which was set in his hometown, was a tribute to that time. Every film since is imbued with a sense of politics. He aspires, ultimately, to be a politician. “I want to do something for the people. You can’t change society by making films. Making films is the easy part,” he says. He adds with mock seriousness that politics will come after he’s completed 16 films, as predicted by his astrologer. Five are done, 11 more to go.

His friend Amaresh Misra, writer and member of Congress who studied with him in school and college, mentions a strange duality from their growing up years. “Being Allahabadi was about being macho, bakaiti (bragging among the friends). But our evenings were dedicated to world cinema and music. We watched classics by Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorcese. Our love for street brawls was matched by our love for culture.” Dhulia’s films are a testimony to those “macho days”. Except for Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster, it is the men who carry the action forward.

AFTER COLLEGE, he studied acting at the National School of Drama in Delhi, realised he’s a bad actor and theatre has no scope, and soon worked with Ketan Mehta on Sardarand Pradip Krishen on Electric Moon, followed by a stint in television, where he directedJust Mohabbat and Star Bestsellers, just before the advent of saas-bahu soaps.

Irrfan Khan, who trained with Dhulia at the National School of Drama and has collaborated with him on every project since, says that as an actor himself, he understands performance and the material he writes is so rich that there is always room to delve and explore. The entire cast of Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster opted to not take a fee, as Dhulia was producing the film. He promised himself a quick film after the intensive process of Paan Singh Tomar, and pulled in Randeep Hooda and Jimmy Shergill, who play table tennis in his office every evening, for the main leads.

His approach to filmmaking seems almost improvised, DIY. The films worked because of his instinct for storytelling, a reason they’re not as stylised as the works of his contemporaries. After Paan Singh Tomar, he feels responsible, as if he can’t just pull a movie out of his hat. This year, he’ll direct the sequel to Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster andMilan Talkies, a film about a single-screen theatre in a small town.

The best film may be the one he never made in those seven years of purgatory. Killing of a Porn Filmmaker is about a porn filmmaker who realises that he was Adolf Hitler in previous life and decides to atone for his sins by working in an orphanage till he’s killed by a Jew. Irrfan Khan, are you listening?

 

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main52.asp?filename=hub240312They.asp

One Comment

  1. Serenzy
    Serenzy
    April 2, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    One of my absolute favourite film makers!!

    Glad he has broken into the Big League now wid SBAG and PST.
    Hope he keeps d hopes alive now..!

    Pleased to read his life story..Back aftr 7 years of nothing!!

    Milan Talkies wud be great but SBAG-2 will be Epic.

Page 1 of 1

Post Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

kamagra polo cheap metformin xr 500 mg viagra buy sildenafil soft generic viagra generic xenical reviews generic zoloft fatigue generic viagra help prednisone injection8 mg zithromax 500 mg bijsluiter cumpar cialis 50mg nexium 40mg tablets xenical 120 mg malaysia buy taladafil viagra generic dapoxetine online prednisone 5 mg ingredients propranolol inderal 10mg propecia online india tifa generic viagra propecia 1mg canada viagra buy sample precio viagra 50 mg prednisone teva 5 mg viagra online legality viagra generic medication online generic viagra caver generic cialis tablet nexium 40 mg buy cialis delivery kamagra 50mg kaufen viagra 100mg paypal levitra generics24 synthroid 50mg cialis 5 mg brasil lasix 25 mg torrinomedica thuoc bactrim 960 mg buy xenical miami celebrex 200mg notice cheapest viagra 150 mg farmaci generici levitra clomid 100mg days 3 7 generic viagra purchase doxycycline 100mg online cialis 5mg alot order cialis here levitra 20mg canadian zithromax dosage 600 mg levitra odt 10mg cheapest 1 mg propecia cialis mg size lisinopril 5 mg cena nexium 200mg medexpressrx generic viagra stopping zoloft 50 mg indikasi celebrex 100 mg lasix order online lexapro 20 mg used online eczane cialis buy cialis italy cialis 5mg gener indications zoloft 50 mg priligy generico portugal buy 30 mg prednisone viagra online cheap .68 valtrex 1000 mg online cialis dreampharmaceuticalscom online lexapro 10 mg buy cialis 100mg 20mg lasix 100 mg online name generic cialis viagra online faq toronto buy viagra diflucan 100 mg generic overnight levitra orders medicamento buspar 10 mg posologie augmentin 500 mg 20mg lexapro ocd mens viagra online propecia buy online clomid 100mg bula propecia orders twins 25 mg clomid levitra 10 mg indicazioni zoloft 50 mg erfahrungsberichte celebrex 200 mg capsules 500mg cipro strep clomid 100 mg capsules cialis buy quebec lisinopril 5 mg overdose cheap levitra brand buy injectable zithromax viagra 100mg de generic name metformin cheapest cialis generic mejor cialis generico cialis generique 60mg lisinopril 10 mg diuretic prednisone mg tablets clomid 50mg dose generic levitra professional 30mg of cialis cialis 10mg pills buspar 10mg information lasix 20 mg furosemida levitra buy singapore 50 mg synthroid dosage hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg dosage lexapro generic price much generic nexium lasix 40 mg erfahrungsberichte cialis europe online buy zoloft without taking 5mg cialis amoxil 250 mg dose viagra bh mg valtrex 500mg nebenwirkungen metformin pills online generic cialis free wellbutrin generic npr doxycycline 100mg hond levitra 10mg odt lasix 500 mg fiyati buy doxycycline inj. buy 40 mg levitra augmentin 500 mg dosage cialis 5 mg take discreet viagra online acheter cialis 40 mg generico viagra yahoo strattera 40mg dosis 20 mg cialis reviews zovirax 400mg dose generic xenical bestellen generic cialis alldaychemist cialis dose 2 10mg 1 cialis 5mg lexapro generic of cialis 25mgs generic viagra levitra obat levitra 20 mg buy 500 mg zithromax cialis 20mg ftbl viagra generic review generic synthroid 25mg viagra fiyati propranolol dak 10mg generic lexapro 10mg cialis 20 mg fiyat cialis 5mg efficace viagra generico pfizer generic cialis nosebleed viagra generico brasile will celebrex generic get generic propecia viagra prix 50 mg cialis prices 20mg viagra online jamaica erythromycin 5oomg propranolol 10 mg tabletas take 2 10 mg levitra cheap fast viagra hctz 25 lisinopril 20 mg paypal viagra generic nexium 40 mg vaistai buy viagra phitzer strattera generic 2011 cheapest levitra cialis buy doxycycline online propecia 1mg buy buy clomid bangalore lisinopril 10 mg generic viagra cheap store nexium 20 mg tabletten wellbutrin buy cheap generic zoloft heartburn levitra 20mg 12 st jual levitra 10mg kamagra 200 mg gel periactin online zoloft 200 mg breastfeeding clomid kaufen online acquisti online viagra cheapest uk cialis cialis 5mg recreational antibiotico cipro 500mg buy fda cialis nexium mups 2.5 mg clomid 100mg kopen viagra revieves online priligy 90 mg bootleg online cialis viagra online siparis 40 mg nolvadex gyno wellbutrin xr 450 mg levitra 10mg avis cialis 20 mg drunk garlic 1000 mg doxycycline cialis uk 100mg cialis 20 mg last celebrex 400 mg capsules cat 50 mg doxycycline wellbutrin xl generic 150 propecia buy cheap 5mg daily cialis diflucan 200 mg dogs cialis 100mg order order doxycycline online buy lasix 100 mg generic 40 mg cialis order viagra generic cialis generic safe hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg buy celebrex 400mg kamagra 100mg teilen viagra buy soho offerta cialis online stopping prednisone 20 mg lexapro generics walgreens prospecto viagra 50 mg buy viagra jelly xenical buy singapore clomid 25 mg pct augmentin bd 1000 mg kamagra 100mg cialis 5 mg prospect nolvadex generic drug viagra online nyc 100 to 150 mg zoloft propranolol 40mg ansiedade buying zithromax canada cialis 100mg japan viagra 50 mg administrare cialis 5 mg dzialanie viagra 50 mg erfahrung buy kamagra brighton buy viagra 25 mg zithromax injection 500mg medication lisinopril 10 mg lexapro generic company viagra 20 mg fiyati cipro buy uk lexapro escitalopram 20 mg online prescription diflucan cialis medistar 20 mg 1000 mg of zoloft generic metformin 500 mg viagra cpr 50 mg 20 mg cialis safe clomid 100mg bijsluiter generic viagra malaysia 60 mg of lexapro cialis 5mg wirkungsdauer online viagra support wellbutrin buy canada 28 x 5 mg cialis cialis 5mg eu viagra generic lozenge buy periactin tablets doxycycline 100 mg msds propecia generic buy cialis 5 mg filmtabletta lasix 40 mg rezeptfrei propecia 0.5 mg generic viagra cream 200 mg generic viagra venta xenical online cialis 5mg anwendung buying cialis china augmentin pediatrico 200 mg buy amoxil uk zithromax 1000 mg buy buy zithromax paypal cheap prescription cialis women generic viagra lisinopril 40 mg cost kamagra brausetabletten 100mg levitra 20 mg treatment amoxil 500 mg precio buy proscar propecia doxycycline acne online 100 mg generic cialis viagra sicher online amoxil 500 mg tabletas 100mg clomid twins cialis 50 mg fiyat effetto cialis 5 mg doxycycline 100mg bula glucophage 500mg generic strattera usa lisinopril mylan generics celebrex 200mg online diflucan 2oo mg prednisone 20 mg sinusitis nolvadex buy pct viagra online sample nebenwirkungen kamagra 100mg generic viagra risks levitra 20mg rezeptfrei buy 25 mg doxycycline abra generic viagra 4000 mg valtrex generic buspar pastillas metformin 850 mg generic wellbutrin xl 300 generic 80 mg lasix prednisone 5mg ear viagra online prescription nexium 20 mg prospecto 5 mg lexapro usage lexapro buy cheap 40 mg prednisone taper levitra canada cheap prijs xenical 120 mg viagra prices generic viagra online.it efeito viagra generico capsulas xenical 120 mg buy generic zovirax glucophage generic metformin lasix 500mg price generic levitra brazil online levitra rx herbal 600mg viagra 3000 mg of metformin buy 40mg cialis levitra 10mg harga zithromax 250mg nolvadex 20 mg filmtabletten periactin 4 mg wikipedia generic cialis 10 omg erythromycin creme buy apo metformin 850 mg lexapro 10 mg ocd diflucan 50mg used xenical 120mg capsules cialis 20mg slovenia kamagra chewable buy order kamagra ireland 1000 mg zithromax chlamydia purchase zovirax online medicament prednisone 50mg valtrex 500 mg caplets cialis online france prednisone 5 mg doesepak cialis lilly 20mg buy priligy dapoxetine prednisone 40 mgs cialis 20 mg bestellen erythromycin 125mg 5ml lisinopril 20 mg cost metformin sr 500 mg amoxil 500 mg embarazo lupin lisinopril 5 mg anxiety disorder buspar propranolol 40 mg buy hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg info levitra 30 mg buy cialis chennai viagra brand 150mg buy zithromax iv 600 mg wellbutrin erowid notice levitra 20mg synthroid 0 075mg posologie levitra 10 mg propranolol 1 mg 1ml 20 mg cialis canada cialis 5mg ara buy 100mg clomid clomid 150mg follistim doxycycline buy canada lasix 20 generico generic viagra nz propranolol de 40 mg levitra 20 mg cheap diflucan de 200 mg nolvadex 40mg buy buy amoxil online nexium generic alternative price viagra online buy cialis stuttgart levitra 10mg paypal generic name bactrim taking 100mg zoloft metformin prescription online lisinopril 5mg itching order viagra usa zithromax 1 gm online strattera vs generic dapoxetine buy canada cialis onlinefree viagra generika 100mg rate generic viagra reliable online cialis generic propecia india generico do clomid bactrim forte 480 mg levitra 20 mg duration cheapest levitra professional cipro 500 mg antibiotics cialis 10 mg confezioni clomid 50 mg steroid viagra 100 mg precio cheap flavo kamagra cheap clomid usa viagra 100 mg etkileri cialis 20mg china 137 mg of synthroid generic cialis exporters viagra generic usa online viagra drugs online pharmacy kamagra buying viagra cvs diflucan 200 mg capsule prednisone 20 mg daily viagra 100 mg day generic 25mg viagra cialis 5mg faq kamagra uk generic 80mg cialis flashback info celebrex 200 mg kegunaan doxycycline 100 mg cialis 5mg journalier generic of lasix viagra 50 y 100 mg 25mg viagra description cheap strattera canada 150mg viagra online cheap cialis 2.5 fedex 5 mg of cialis 50 mg of lexapro viagra generico 300mg valtrex generic canada 100mg viagra etkisi amoxil online cats 40 mg lasix furosemide nexium 20mg breastfeeding 50 mg clomid triplets augmentin compresse 500 mg cialis 200mg efectos buy viagra winnipeg steroids nolvadex buy propranolol 15mg cheap gerne cialis 1 cheap viagra levitra 20 mg generic nexium 40 mg treatment cipla lexapro buy buy xenical sydney effetti viagra 100 mg cytotec misoprostol genericos buy cipro drug 800 mg bactrim dosage formula nexium 40mg lasix 200 mg iv buy clomid philippines diflucan 200 mg compresse zovirax 400 mg dosing lexapro online 5mg wellbutrin 75 mg dose 800 mg chineese viagra cheap cialis deals propranolol 10 mg erowid levitra 5 mg bayer genuine 5mg cialis cialis online belgrade diflucan 100mg pret levitra 20 mg australia buy viagra dhaka bula bactrim 200mg 80 mg levitra cialis 800 mg black cheapest generic levitra cipro 500mg bid buy medistar cialis injecting 80 mg cialis kamagra 25mg use nolvadex generic online nexium 40 mg blist lexapro 10mg forum cialis 5mg england generic viagra ciple cialis 2.5 mg coupon nexium 40 mg vo cialis 20 mg avis Levitra pills Buy cialis online florida viagra 25mg enough 20mg lisinopril brands order clomid forum 450 mg wellbutrin daily cialis india online zoloft mg dose viagra 25mg cost generic nolvadex bodybuilding buy genuine levitra hydrochlorothiazide tab 12.5 mg generic cialis, 40mg metformin 500 mg preis augmentin 312 mg 5ml cialis 20 mg 4 tb celebrex 200 mg contraindicaciones