Going back to her roots

Pooja Bhatt says film industry needs to grow up before pointing fingers at the censor board

Ians July 16, 2015
Pooja made her debut in 1989 with the film Daddy. PHOTO: FILE

NEW DELHI: Several filmmakers have criticised the working and viability of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), but actor-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt says the film industry itself has a lot of growing up to do.

“The film industry is still like a child. The number of people you need to fight within your own community before you even get to that stage [the censor board] is not funny. So, I think that there is a lot of growing up that not only the censor board has to do, but also the film industry has to do,” Pooja said in an interview.

The Indian CBFC has over the years faced flak for banning films like Unfreedom and for issuing diktats on film content or statutory warnings.

The actress, who has always stayed ahead of time with her bold yet impactful cinema through Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Sadak, Sir, Zakhm and Tamanna, added that members of the film fraternity should join hands over issues instead of concentrating on “own battles” alone.

“We only fight our own battles... I think somewhere along the line, we need to kind of understand that,” added the daughter of acclaimed filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

Pooja began her journey in the film industry as an actor with Daddy (1989) and later stepped into direction in 2004 with Paap. She continued to direct movies like Holiday, Dhokha, Kajraare and Jism 2, and even produced movies.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, the actress-producer was considered one of the boldest of her time, thanks to her controversial body paint act at the age of 17 for late fashion photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. And that boldness transpired into her films as well.

Even though bold content seems to be the order of the day in Bollywood, 43-year-old Pooja conceded that the audience was always ready for bold and experimental subjects.

“When we did Jism or Sadak, people said that it won’t work. But it did and who accepted it? The audience did. The audience was always ready; it is the people making the movies who believe that they are not ready. We need to grow up,” she said.

Pooja is also now ready to face the camera again. She says she will pick roles that suit her and that she won’t try to mould herself into some glossy image.

“I would like to play a woman who is my age and who looks exactly like me right now. I don’t want to pretend to be a 25-year-old girl or a 32-year-old woman. And I also want to do something I have never done before -- say something evil or sexual,” she added.

On the production front, she is occupied with her next project Cabaret, in which Richa Chadha plays the lead along with former cricketer S Sreesanth. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th,  2015.

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