Even though “Zubaan” has travelled to film festivals, director Mozez Singh says it is not a “typical festival” movie and has a commercial approach.
The musical-drama stars Vicky Kaushal and Sarah Jane Dias in lead roles. The film had opened the 20th edition of the Busan International Film Festival last year where Mozez won the ‘Rising Director Asia Star Award’.
“It is not a festival film. If anything, it is a coming-of-age commercial film. It has some 15 songs, five of them are lip-sync, it has a heartfelt story. Contrary to what some may think, it is a commercial film, not an indie cinema,” Mozez told PTI.
“Zubaan” is the story of a young boy, played by Kaushal, who loses his faith and develops a fear of music. The film chronicles his journey in fighting that fear and finding himself.
Mozez feels it is difficult for young filmmakers to make off-beat movies as there are not enough producers ready to back such projects.
“It is very challenging for a young filmmaker to make an independent film. I had this subject for seven years with me, then it took another two years to get it made. Lots of people said ‘no’ to me.
“Not many producers are ready to back off-beat content. Not every filmmaker is that lucky to get a good producer. I am thankful I had Guneet Monga and Shaan Vyas with me,” he said.
Though the film is about music and traces the life of a singer, the director insists he cannot sing and says an incident that happened with him in school formed the idea of “Zubaan”.
“I can’t sing or play an instrument. When I was in Doon school I had a beautiful voice. I was in the school choir where once Pandit Ravi Shankar had come to train us. During the rehearsals, my voice started cracking. After that, he threw me out of the group because my voice was not in tune. It was then that I decided I wanted to write a story about music,” he said.
The story of the film, which Mozez wrote over seven years, evolved as he entered the industry.
“As a young filmmaker stepping into the industry, I see people grappling with many issues. Often some people make the mistake of following the wrong dream. The film was born out of these thoughts and through the journey of what I was seeing,” he said.
The movie is “Masaan” fame Kaushal’s second outing, even though the Mozez-directed film was the first one he signed.
The director said Kaushal was discovered by him, after rejecting nearly 300 actors for the lead role.
“He was discovered by me. The funny story is, I had rejected nearly 300 boys for the role,” he said.
“For eight months I couldn’t get my hero and I was depressed. Then one day I saw a short film in which he acted. I said I want this guy, only to be told later that his was the first clipping that the casting director had sent me but I missed watching only that,” he said.
“Many people were apprehensive that he is a newcomer. Now, after ‘Masaan’ he has gained so much of credibility. ‘Zubaan’ is his immediate release and I am sure we will benefit from him,” Mozez added.