Around two decades ago, when the concept of a Casting Director did not even exist in Bollywood, Tigmanshu Dhulia set a new benchmark with the realistic casting that he did for Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen. He then went on to create spectacular cinema, deeply rooted in realism through films like Haasil, Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, Paan Singh Tomar and more. An alumnus of the National School of Drama, Dhulia draws inspiration from the realities of life with his stories based in the little-known interiors of the country. In his upcoming projects for TV, the National award-winning filmmaker will offer the same realism synonymous with his films. In a brief chat, Dhulia talks about his return to television.

Tigmanshu Dhulia

Tigmanshu Dhulia

Tell us more about your newly announced Indo-Pak short film series for Zee TV?

The short feature which I have made for Zee is called Baarish aur Chowmein. This endeavor is being spearheaded by Shailja Kejariwal. It is the next project of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and is called as ‘Zeal for Unity’ which is bringing together 12 filmmakers, six each from India and Pakistan to make 12 different feature films. The revenue sources and exhibition platforms for films and any other format will see a sudden change very soon, which is already visible since Hotstar and Netflix have started operating. So this effort towards TV and short films is a conscious decision to exploit these new changes.


You are also commissioned to shoot a TV series for Rajya Sabha. How did that happen and what will this project revolve around?

For Rajya Sabha TV, we are making a feature film and a six-part TV show on the Indian National Army which was headed by Subhash Chandra Bose during 1943-45.

What about Darr Sabko Lagta Hai, which is said to make a comeback in an all-new avatar?

Darr Sabko Lagta Hai is a horror show on &TV and I was called after they had aired the first season. So we decided to eliminate the anchor and keep it simple with just horror as the selling point.

Are all your upcoming TV projects going to be realistic, which happens to be your trademark style?

Yes, it will remain in the real zone. Let the filmy people dabble with filmy content.

You graduated from TV to films and are coming back to TV again. What kind of challenges do you think you’ll face?

I had done good TV before I started my first film Haasil and now I am trying to get back to it (TV) because the times are changing. We won’t be doing the regular ‘Saas-Bahu’ shows. TV had lost its reputation but now a new evolved audience is ready for new content. There are people who want to watch exciting new content on their TV, laptops and smart phones.


What is happening with one of your most ambitious projects, Milan Talkies?

Casting for Milan Talkies is on and as soon as I decide on my lead pair I will start shooting.

What are your other upcoming projects?

Right now I am doing the post production of my film Yaara which has Vidyut Jamwal, Shruti Hassan and Amit Sadh in it. It’s a journey of four friends from the age of 12 till they are 50 years old.