Free Press Journal

For Hansal Mehta, telling stories is important


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Hansal Mehta’s films might be rich in content but the director says he gets paid modestly because for him “money comes after freedom to tell stories”. Mehta, who started his career with popular TV cookery show “Khana Khazana”, is known for critically-acclaimed films such as “Shahid”,  “Citylights”, “Aligarh” and “Simran”.

“I am fortunate that producers have shown faith in my projects. But I don’t get crazy sums of money. I make enough to manage, to make a living. What is too less and what is too much? There is no limit to that. I am happy with what I get, but I would like a little more. It will happen eventually,” he said.

Mehta believes a person’s “market value” is determined by a “variety of factors”. “I get enough. I am not complaining. For me, it is important to be able to make the film I want to. Money comes after freedom. I would rather be free to tell my stories than to make crazy amount of money.”

Like any average person, Mehta says he grapples with day-to-day problems, from paying EMI to being concerned about water scarcity. “I am an ordinary person, a citizen of this country. When I say that citizen of this country is struggling, I am saying it from my own experiences. By struggle, I mean daily challenges of life like paying taxes, EMI, rent, travelling to work, water, electricity problem.”

Mehta says he tries to draw references for his work on celluloid from his daily life. “My stories are grounded because they are born from my day-to-day experiences. I connect to my own experiences. The world that I depict is the world that I live in. There is little bit of empathy. The detailing comes from me being part of that world. I am happy being an ordinary man and managing to lead an extraordinary life and to be able to tell these stories. I feel extraordinarily blessed. My films travel across the world, are seen and reviewed by international audiences. I am full of gratitude for that.” The director’s latest film “Omerta”, about dreaded terrorist Omar Sheikh, released last week.