INTERVIEW: Vikram Bhatt on Mahesh & Mukesh Bhatt split: 'Boss had no interest in making rich people richer'

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INTERVIEW: Vikram Bhatt on Mahesh & Mukesh Bhatt split: 'Boss had no interest in making rich people richer'
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On January 23, the professional fall out between brothers, Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt had made it to the headlines. According to the reports, their banner, Vishesh Films will now be controlled and run by Mukesh with his children, Sakshi and Vishesh. Mukesh had confirmed the development to the media and informed that Mahesh was serving the company as a creative consultant and he has now decided to step down from the position. Soon after, the media had reached out to Vikram Bhatt for his comments on the split, however, he had refused to speak on the same. In May, the media had quoted him saying, “Whatever I have to say I will not say because my boss Mahesh Bhatt has asked me to not talk on this subject and I have to listen to him.”

It has been three months since then and Vikram Bhatt has finally decided to break his silence on the matter. In an exclusive interaction with Pinkvilla, the hit-filmmaker for the first time spoke about the professional split, his bond with Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt on an individual level and a lot more. Excerpts from an interview.

Firstly, what do you have to say about the professional split between Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt?

I think of it as an end of a journey. Everything comes to an end. So did the journey of Boss (Mahesh Bhatt) and Mukeshji. Boss junked his career as a director almost twenty-five years ago and only looked back once for Sadak 2. He had promised Mukeshji when he gave up direction that if ever a situation arose where only he could direct a film for the company, then he would. Sadak 2 was that film, I am assuming. I believe that a man is just not his profession. There is much more to a man than how he chooses to make a living. The filmmaker is only a small part of Mahesh Bhatt. He is more a guru and a mentor to young aspiring talent. He is at a stage in life where he is not motivated by money, fame or adulation. So how can you continue to be a part of a company that obviously thrives on money, fame and adulation - like any other film company. He had no interest in making the rich people richer - so he quit so that he could help lost talent find their way. 

He (Mahesh Bhatt) is at a stage in life where he is not motivated by money, fame or adulation. So how can you continue to be a part of a company that obviously thrives on money, fame and adulation - like any other film company
Vikram Bhatt

How do you view the contribution of Mahesh Bhatt to the Vishesh Films Banner on creative front?

It’s like asking how do you view the contribution of a mother in bringing up her child. The contribution cannot be quantified or purchased. He was the one who birthed the company with Kabzaa and he saw the company through till Sadak 2. Not getting into actual numbers here, but let’s just say that Sadak 2 made hundred times the profit that Kabza had made all those years back. So, if we want to look at it mathematically, Boss's contribution to the company is from zero to hundred. I did read some interviews that called him the creative consultant to Vishesh films. Suffice to say, that statement should used by a thesaurus to explain the meaning of an understatement. Let's understand that a company in the business of entertainment runs on ideas. Ideas make money. And Boss was the fountainhead of ideas. Money cannot make ideas. Ideas make money - so you get the drift? Boss is also a 50% IPR owner of all films made in Vishesh since Kasoor. And before that a partner in Aashiqui and Dil Hain Ke Maanta Nahi. You cannot be a consultant to something you own. Reducing his contribution to that of a consultant is like reducing the role of a mother to a midwife. 

You had earlier said, "Boss Mahesh Bhatt has asked you to not comment". Could you elaborate on series of events from then till now? 

Boss was of the opinion that he is beyond all this and did not need any explanations to be given on his behalf. So, he reigned me in and asked me not to comment. However, I did a lot of thinking and decided that I am going to not listen to him this time around and say my bit. And my bit is not caustic, believe me. My bit is more a lament on the state of affairs and a prayer that it does not remain this way. 

What sort of bond you share individually with both Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt at this point of time?

Mahesh Bhatt is my Guru, my guide, the beacon of light that I follow every day. He has been there for me - solid as a rock, through thick and thin and also sick and sin. He has seen me since I was four years old and my father DOP Pravin Bhatt did almost all his films. He is the reason I wanted to be director. He made me one as well. I learned filmmaking from him because I learned how to look at life from him. 

To Mukeshji I have a lot to be grateful for - he put money in my first film. Then when no one had faith in me he gave me Fareb. He put food on my plate when I had no other means. He gave me a salary even when I wasn't directing any film. He was a pillar of support. I have a lot of gratitude for everything he has done for me. Of course, I am pleased that I gave my biggest hit film with him. And no one was happier than me that I could do something in return for someone who had done so much for me. Even my flop films made money for him and if there is a consolation for a filmmaker then it's precisely that! 

So, he (Mahesh Bhatt) reigned me in and asked me not to comment. However, I did a lot of thinking and decided that I am going to not listen to him this time around and say my bit. And my bit is not caustic, believe me.
Vikram Bhatt

Mukeshji and I have not been in touch with each other for a while now. And that's unfortunate. But from afar I can tell that he is doing a bit of what I did years ago. There was a time when I had a very public split with Vishesh films and walked away only to come back with Raaz 3. But while I had walked away, I realised that when you walk away from people who have done everything for you, it's really an act of self-immolation. You use the fuel of unsaid feelings and unexpressed woes to really do nothing but burn yourself down. I remember the day I walked back into Vishesh films. Both Mukeshji and Boss took me back with open arms and more love if that was possible. 

I pray that Mukeshji understands that there are only open arms and love that await him on the other side of the divide. I have learned the hard way through my life that no situation needs to be the way it is and that every situation can be changed. We have to decide - that's all it takes. 

Are you open to direct a film for Vishesh Films if given a chance to?

I would do anything in my power to be there for both Boss and Mukeshji. If ever there should be a time when I am called upon, I would be there without a second thought - but I would need Boss to be there as well. And who knows that might even happen. As I said, every situation can be changed. 

Also Read| Emraan Hashmi confirms Mukesh Bhatt & Mahesh Bhatt’s split: 'All good things come to an end; Equations change'

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