By Dr. Mohammad Aleem
Nazim Rizvi is a renowned filmmaker and screenplay writer. He has produced many films; some broke the records at the box office like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, a Salman Khan and Rani Mukherji and Priti Zinta starrer. This film had also invited many troubles to him, about which he spoke quite candidly and openly in an exclusive interview with India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper ‘IndianMuslimObserver.com’.
Mr. Rizvi also produced many films such as Under Trial, which was based on a true story and received worldwide acclaim. his other films like Hello! Ham Lallan Bol Rahen Hain was quite popular as well. These films are known for their intense subjects and delicate handling.
Mr. Rizvi is a master in his field and knows his craft well than any other big name in the Hindi film industry. It makes him a cherished personality among his contemporaries. His love for the cinematic art and craft is really a great thing to admire.
Q: You are a renowned filmmaker. How long have you been into filmmaking and why? What were the reasons to be in this field? Was it the lure of money and fame or something else?
Ans: I have been in this industry for the last 30 years. I have entered this field to convey my message through the cinema. Money has always been secondary. I knew if I was good, enough money would come automatically. When Najam Naqvi could successfully introduce police inspector Raj Kumar as an actor and Kamal Amrohi could successfully give dialogues in Mughal-Ae-Azam and direct Pakeezah, then why couldn’t I.
I, Nazim Rizvi, who also belongs to the same town, Amroha (Uttar Pradesh) as Kamal Amrohi, can as well do something big and marvellous.
Q: How you started your career in the film industry?
Ans: As an assistant director with Ram Pahwa and the other legends.
Q: Your one of the blockbusters, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, was in headlines for many good and bad reasons. What were those issues?
Ans: Ego clashes between top notch people led to those issues and I was caught in the middle of the storm without doing anything.
Q: Do you not see yourself as a victim of the circumstances? Was it not a conspiracy to malign and destroy you as a filmmaker?
Ans: Of course YES! You got it correct!
Q: Is there any truth behind the nexus of the Hindi filmmakers and the notorious underworld dons?
Ans: You should ask them. I think they would be the most suitable to reply. I can just say for myself that I had no connection.
Q: How did you carry yourself during those troubled times?
Ans: I was and never will ever be able to carry myself in any times. It was all grace of Almighy Allah, the Most High and Exalted.
Q: What happened after that when you came out of your long incarceration? How you fought with tougher time and hostile people?
Ans: I never tried to fight any situations. I just started my work again, and the honesty in my work itself helped me to stand up again.
Q: Do you take filmmaking as any other business or you adore and practice it as a true lover of the cinematic arts?
Ans: I have a strong educational background to conduct any business smoothly by the grace of Allah, yet, I chose to be a filmmaker. This itself shows that cinema for me is not only an art, but craft as well.
Q: Why Hindi films are still not much matured subject and treatment wise as we see in the global cinema? What are the basic reasons, and is there any hope to rectify or improve it?
Ans: Hindi subjects are very much matured and treated efficiently. We know what sells in the Indian markets and hence cater to that only. The answer is EMOTIONS. World cinema makers know what sells there. So they do a good job there. By the way, in recent times, the world cinema makers have also started playing on emotions. TEARS sell now and started to be sold by the Indian cinema, first.
Q: What role do you see of literature in films?
Ans: Literature is like an artist, who is not getting much role in the films today.
Q: Producing a film is not an easy thing to get done? How do you do that?
Ans: My passion sails me through.
Q: You come from a very literary background. Say something about your close and extended families.
Ans: We were nine brothers and sisters in total and so I was taught early in my life that nothing comes so easily. At the age of eleven itself I was out of my house, making sweat meet the blood.
Q: Hindi cinema is run by a few top stars. When it will happen that the content of the story and creative expression of the people concerned would be admired and valued suitably?
Ans: When the camera will start moving from the sculpted chest and six pack abs of these top stars to their faces.
Q: You had launched your son, Azim Rizvi into the films as an actor? What is the progress of his career in the field of acting? Is it smooth or bumpy, and if so, why?
Ans: Azim does what his heart and mind tells him. Heart more and mind the less, which is the reason he does not do all stories coming in his way. He judges a script by the values of the religion in his veins. If the script has such values which go beyond his religious and ethical values, he prefers to wait. Also, if the judgment is made on the terms of talent only, he will excel a lot. He wants to do something radical in life and he knows there are options bigger than the film industry to do so.
Q: Terrorism is a big issue worldwide. Especially, Muslims are targeted everywhere, many a time without any substantial reasons. What are the causes behind it?
Ans: The only cause is that Muslims are not real Muslims today. The day, they realize that a Muslim on his forehead and knees is more powerful than a king on a throne, equations will change worldwide.
Q: Hindi cinema always propagated the best secular values. Do you still find these things strong in our film industry? Do you see any kind of discrimination against Muslims here?
Ans: Hindi cinema started and took shape during the British rule. So the filmmakers then adopted secular value cinemas to generate a feeling of unity among the people. Today, we are directly or indirectly under the influence of secret societies worldwide, so the subjects have been altered to fit their mood. I don’t know about Muslims, but yes, there is a lot of discrimination against those who want to be a good Muslim.
Q: You are much closer to the superstar Salman Khan and his family. How do you judge his career as a film star and as a competent actor?
Ans: The biggest asset he has is his great reservoir of Patience. And he who has patience has always conquered the world. His second biggest asset is Humanity. And Patience and Humanity in itself are a very effective combination to make your work echo in eternity. So, of course, it must be his family who imbibed these qualities in him since childhood.
Q: We often hear about the skirmishes and rivalries between the two big stars? Do you see it as a natural phenomenon or something else?
Ans: It is of course a natural phenomenon. Any person who wants to be healthy and best in his chosen field will be a victim of these circumstances.
Q: You have worked with many legends of the film industry. Share some experiences about them.
Ans: Too big a topic to be completed so soon.
Q: Are you happy with the growth of the industry and its work culture nowadays?
Ans: I am very happy with the word ‘Growth’ itself, be it in any field. I cannot comment on work culture as people like to work with their own mannerisms and patterns. Since growth is happening, maybe the culture would be good enough.
Q: How a young person who wants to enter this fairy world of fame and money, should come equipped with the skills? What are the tips for such people?
Ans: Make sure the mind is like ice factory, the heart is like steel factory and the tongue is like sugar factory. If you have these factories in your system, you can find success in ANY/EVERY field be it SMALL/BIG, let alone the film industry.
Q: What makes a person great, either as an actor, writer, or director according to you? What are the characteristics?
Ans: If anyone has the kind of power to leave firm footprints on the sands of time, which are observed by the grounds and skies of every generation to come with awe and admiration, you know, has become legend and succeeded in writing the great epic of destiny.
Q: What are your future projects?
Ans: Future is not known. Only Allah knows the best. Currently, I am working on a bouquet of films for a corporate house.
Q: Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
Ans: Remember that the finest steel must always pass through the hottest fire. Learn to seek criticism more than appreciation in your stride, because, if you are irritated with every rub and scrub of time, how will your mirror of life get polished!
[Mohammad Aleem is Managing Editor of India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. His works can also be seen on his website www.mohammadaleem.com]