75th birthday Interview
“YOU GO TO A UNIVERSITY NOT TO BE A PRINCIPAL BUT TO LEARN”
TINNU ANAND tells JYOTHI VENKATESH
Today is Tinnu Anand’s 75th birthday. To mark his birthday, we at bollyy.com and Mayapuri wish him a happy birthday by reproducing the interview with TINNU ANAND by JYOTHI VENKATESH taken five years ago in which the versatile writer-actor-director talks about his journey as an actor from Saat Hindustani till today
Why have you taken several years to stage your comeback as a director after Shaehenshah?
I do not want to stage a comeback as a director, though I have worked a lot on a particular script when I was shooting Shahenshah with Amitabh Bachchan. At that time, Amitabh Bachchan wanted to start a film with me as the director for his production house ABCL. The project, which we had tentatively titled as Ek Aadmi did not materialise as some people suggested to Amitji that he should not play the role of an old man 35 years ago. It is the right time now for Amitji to play an old man as people have embraced him with open hands warmly when he acted in films like Shamitabh, Badla, Piku , Gulabo Sitabo etc
Tell me more about the subject of Ek Aadmi?
The subject of Ek Aadmi is universal by nature. I was inspired by an article which had been published in The Illustrated Weekly of India about a guy called Mani Kannan, a retired bureaucrat in Delhi. Though he loves his family, to his chagrin, he finds that he is excluded by his own family as he gets older and there is an interesting climax when we find Mani Kannan breaking the mansion which he had painstakingly built for his family and starts living in a hotel on his own terms and conditions.
Why did you disappear from films all of a sudden! If I am not mistaken, Club 60 was your last film as an actor.
I never retired from acting or for that matter disappeared from the scene. It is just that I decided to take a sabbatical after I directed Amitji in Majorsaab.
You seem to enjoy your stint as an actor now.
As an actor I am literally enjoying and having a ball in front of the camera. As an actor, I should also confess that I am getting a lot of time on my hands to read various scripts, which I never could possibly get when I was concentrating on direction earlier.
You have also dabbled in TV. What has been your experience on the small screen?
I was a part of my actor colleague Paresh Rawal’s TV serial Lagi Tujhse Lagan. I enjoyed my stint in that serial. I also did a show called Kahin To Hoga for Ekta Kapoor for Balaji. In fact, it is only thanks to my stint in that serial, that I could afford to buy a house too.
Even today you are known for your film Shahenshah though you have acted in a lot of films and also directed several films.
Yes. It is amazing but true that even today I am known for Shahenshah. Though I did not write the story of Yeh Ishq Nahin Aaansaan which was written by Kamleshwar, I wrote the story of Shahenshah. Not many who belong to the generation today are aware of the fact that the hard hitting dialogues for Shahenshah were written by my late father Inder Raj Anand. It is interesting to note that though I told my father that he was writing the dialogues in a flowery language, which would not be understood by the audiences, the masses lapped up all his dialogues. Even today people remember the dialogue Rishtey Mein Hum Baap Hai Naam Hai Mera Shehnshah.
How would you describe yourself as a director?
I am not a director who would allow the actor to take a pen in his hand and start writing the dialogues on the sets.
What did you like about Manmohan Desai, who was known as the director with the Midas touch?
Manmohan Desai was very good at Mumbaiya language because he knew the pulse of the audiences by heart. Once he told me that the film industry is a big and wide jungle and I should give the actor mutton and not vegetarian dishes. All the dialogues which were written by my father whether in Kaalia or for that matter Shehanshah are still regarded as iconic.
How many films have you directed with Amitabh Bachchan?
With Amitabh Bachchan, with whom I had also started my acting career way back in K. A. Abbas’s film Saat Hindustani, it has been my great privilege to have been able to direct as many as four memorable films like Shahenshah, Kaalia, Main Azaad Hoon, Major Saab etc.
Why do you think your film Duniya Meri Jeb Mein did not click at the box office?
Looking back in retrospect, I feel that Shashi Kapoor was not actually meant for the film because he did not suit the role to the T. To begin with it was shot at a time when Shashiji was busy shuttling from one studio to another and doing five films simultaneously. Even as I was making Kaalia with Amitabh Bachchan and Neetu Singh, I was making Duniya Meri Jeb Mein with Shashi Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor. I confess my idea of casting the actor was wrong. The film took me five years to make and it was my failure as a director.
From whom did you inherit your prowess for direction?
If I am known as a good director even today, among many, I also owe a great deal to my father Inder Raj Anandji for having inspired me a great deal. Do you know that my father had directed a film starring Raj Kapoor and Nutan, for producer Subhash Desai, the brother of Manmohan Desai but the film was shelved because Nutanji had become pregnant?
Which are the directors who you feel are very promising today?
You go to a university not to be a principal but to learn. Similarly, Raj Kapoor‘s or Satyajit Ray’s sons cannot be another Raj Kapoor or for that matter Satyajit Ray. I joined Satyajit Ray because he was the master. I assisted him in five films- Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Pratidwandi, Aranyer Din Ratri, Seema Baddha and Ashani Sanket got my confidence as a director only because of Satyajit Ray. I feel Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee etc are the promising directors of today.