Satyameva Jayate makes a strong statement on corruption, violence against women: Milap Zaveri
Director Milap Zaveri had earlier wanted to make Satyameva Jayate as a web series.
The writer-director of John Abraham-starrer Satyameva Jayate, and screenplay-dialogue writer of several films, Milap Zaveri had never imagined the kind of damage Mastizaade (2016), an adult comedy with Sunny Leone, would do to him. His second directorial (after sci-fi romance film Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai with Jacqueline Fernandez and Riteish Deshmukh) with the adult star, not just failed at the box office but was also ripped apart by the critics, so much so that no producer or actor wanted to collaborate with Zaveri until John and Satyameva Jayate producers (Nikkhil and his sister Monisha Advani) stepped in to bail him out.
As Zaveri’s close friend and actor Riteish Deshmukh told him: ‘If Satyamev Jayate gets made with this team then it would be a miracle’. Satyamev Jayate clashes with Akshay Kumar's Gold at the box office, and both films released on Independence Day.
Not many know that Zaveri, who was supposed to direct Anil Kapoor-Arjun Kapoor's 2017 release Mubarakan, had to leave the film on the producer’s request, and had to pass on the baton to Anees Bazmee. “No actor wanted to work with me. But it was an amicable parting”, says Zaveri, adding “Not just failing at the box office, Mastizaade wasn’t respected also because it was in the adult comedy genre. The film not being a success was quite a dent to my career,” says Zaveri, who admits that it was a depressing phase for him. “Nobody wanted to meet me, talk to me, or be associated with me. It was a very tough time. I was very low and depressed.”
Zaveri belongs to the family of noted Indian jewellery retail chain, Tribhovandas Bhimji, but his obsession for Hindi movies made him take up writing instead of opting for the family business. He began his Bollywood career with writing dialogues for Umesh Mehra’s Yeh Mohabbat Hai and followed up with Jhankaar Beats, Kaante, Masti, Kyun! Ho Gaya Na and many more films, including Akshay Kumar-starrers Heyy Baby, Housefull and Desi Boyz.
However, a chance meeting with John, who Zaveri had earlier worked with on Shootout At Wadala as a dialogue writer, changed things for him.
On his close friend, Rohit Dhawan’s (director of Akshay-John starrer Desi Boyz) insistence, Zaveri followed up with John, who initially had a reservation about working with him. But Zaveri showed him his short film Raakh that he had made in the interim period to create some work for himself. Starring Richa Chadda, Vir Das and Shaad Randhawa, it was the short film that convinced John to do Satyameva Jayate.
“Rohit had told me that John is one actor who doesn't care about your past failure. John is a messiah for me. He was himself going through the worst time of his life when the Parmanu (legal) controversy was going on, but not for even one day he let that problem come on my set. He has come on time every day and if there was any stress, he didn’t let that affect him or me on sets. I am indebted to him and would want to work with him for my next film as well,” says Zaveri.
Zaveri had earlier wanted to make Satyameva Jayate as a web series. “But two of my director friends, Rensil D’Silva and Vishal Pandya, told me to make a feature film and not waste the subject. So I started writing it as a feature and narrated to Monisha (Advani) and she decided to produce it,” he says.
“I had the idea for Satyameva Jayate for last 18 years but there was something missing, and a year-and-a-half back when I came up with a big twist, I was convinced that I have to make this film. It is a true-blue masala, commercial action film with a dose of patriotism. We’ve added a very strong message that crime and atrocities against women, and corruption is a complete ‘no no’, and if John’s character finds you committing any of these, he will tear you apart,” says the director, who sounds extremely confident about the film.
“Parmanu has worked for John, we have got a great title, the trailer has been liked, songs are all super hits and we have also got a great release date; 15th August is the biggest national holiday for the country, so now only I can screw it up,” he laughs.
Zaveri isn’t bothered about clashing with Akshay’s Gold. “Gold is looking good, it is a big film. Budget-wise it is three times bigger than my film and it has a superstar who I have worked with in the past. They will do very well and I don’t want even one rupee of their share. They may become a blockbuster but as long as my film becomes a success I would be happy. It’s like a nine-day week with three more holidays in that week. I feel both the films will do very well, as John says — 'If you want to see India that was, you can see Gold and if you want to see India that is, you watch Satyameva Jayate.' These are different films, one is a sports drama with patriotism, and the other is masala commercial, vigilante action film. It is not targeting the same audience,” says the director.
Also, the film getting an 'A' certificate hasn’t disheartened Zaveri. "Satyameva Jayate is a very powerful film with lots of action and a strong stance against corruption. I never made it for children. It is not a popcorn film. We’re totally satisfied with the CBFC's (Central Board of Film Certification) decision,” says Zaveri.
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