Newbie director Akshay Roy, who has made his debut with Meri Pyari Bindiu
For Akshay Roy, it’s been an organic growth. From being an assistant director to making awad winning documentaries, he’s finally got the big break. Falling in love is easy; but moving on excruciating and Akshay’s directorial debut, Meri Payari Bindu, searched the way out. The film featured Ayushman Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra. The Yash Raj Films’ and Maneesh Sharma production was set in Kolkata.Given that his surname is Roy, one would assume that Akshay is a Benhali. He chuckles and says it isn’t so.
“I’m half Parsi and half Punjabi. Whe I was an assisting director on Mira Nair’s The Namesake, we shot for a month in Kolkata. I fell in love with the city,” he claims. He worked hard to make the set up look authentic and got the costumes rifht as the film spanned eras beginning from 1983. Meri Pyaari Bindu was regarded as a comeback film of sports for Parineeti Chopra. Though the film didn’t actually sweep the box-office, the performances of the Pair was appreciated. “Adi sir (Aditya Chopra) and Maneesh (sharma ) maintained that Parineeti is going to be your Bindu and you can make her play the role keeping with your vision,”says he of his female lead.
Akshay further adds, “Ayushmann’s biggest strength is his eyes, his vulnerability, while Parineeti is spontaneous.She played a singer in the film. Composers Sachin jigar, Manesh Sharma and I know she sings well. So having her render the song Maana Ki hum Yarr Nahin for the film seemed but natural,” he says. Akshay, a Delhi boy, spent his early years in Nigeria. At the age of 10 he joined Mayo college, Ajmer. “I remember watching my father’s collection of Raj Kapoor films again and again during the vacation,” he says pointing out that cinema always fascinated him. He regards the years he spent studying at St Stephen’s College Delhi, as the defining years given his brus with theatre there. “ I realised that the perforing arts was my passion,” he smiles. Subsequently, he joined Jamia Millia Islamia university for a degree in Mass Communication. He came to Mumbai after finishing his course in 2003.
“For six-seven months I ran around trying to land a job as an assistant director. Finally, I got a call from the Lakshya (2004) team and got a chance to assist Farhan Akhter. Then I assisted Mira Nair on Vanity Fair and Namesake, Deepa Mehta on water and Hollywood director Paul Greengrass on The Bourne Supremacy,” he reveals. He branched out independentaly making short films including A Shoe Story, All Is Well, The Last Dance and the Finish Line. The latter even won a National award. Akshay’s association with Meneesh dates back to their college days.”We were studying together in Delhi University. We knew each other as we were both doing theatre. Then Maneesh went to the US to study and I went to Jamia.
I cae to Mumbai before him, while he joined YRF. We have kept in touch since then,” he maintains. Akshay was trying to break into the feature film scene, when one day he got a call out the blue from Maneesh, who offered him Meri Pyaari Bindu. “Maneesh said he was producing a script and he believed I’d be able to do justice to it knowing my sensibilities. I read it and immediately releated to it. I believed I could add to it in a certain way and bring my life into it,” he shares. Akshay praises his producers saying how he was given complete creative freedom. “Maneesh understands that a film should have the director’s voice. He never came on the set. He allowed me to express myself completely. Yet I knew that if I got stuch somewhere he’d be available even at 3am. And Yash Raj is a fantastic Place to work. There were no hurdles in production.
They ease things for you.” He says.Apart from movies, Akshay loves sports ad reading. “I used to play state level basketball. I love watching cricket. I also read a lot and my favourite author is Ruskin Bond,” he shares. Ask about his next film and he says wistfully, “I’ve written some sports bassed scripts and some are Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of films. Let’s see how the future unfolds