Zoya Akhtar: I like to work with ensemble cast in my films

Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar prefers ensemble cast in her projects, and likes to work with realistic characters that have some sort of back stories.

"I personally like to have an ensemble cast in my projects. I like working with characters. There were five characters in 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' and 25 characters in 'Dil Dhadakane Do'. If you have an actor that comes into your film and is part of that story, he better have some heft. It's not just information but there needs to be a rounding off and there needs to be a story behind their stories. Otherwise, it becomes boring and dull," said Zoya, while addressing the media at the inaugural Thumbstoppers Summit hosted by Facebook India, on Wednesday in Mumbai. The event is touted as Asia's biggest summit for creativity in mobile video advertising.

"We do extensive interviews with people and then it's a mixture of real people, imagination and a little literature background. You mix everything and create something. I like characters and I feel it's very important for them to have a world that they come from, which may not necessarily be in the film. You write a back story and tell them (the audience) this is who they were when the film starts, so they operate from that psychology," said Zoya, about her thought process while creating characters.

All her projects -- be it "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", "Luck By Chance", "Dil Dhadakne Do", "Gully Boy" and the web series "Made In Heaven" -- have had an ensemble cast so far.

Asked which movie or show she wished she had made, Zoya said: "My most interesting one is always the one I am currently working on, so that would be ‘Ghost Stories' right now, which I am making for Netflix. There are so many things I wish I had done, like ‘Mad Men' , ‘Breaking Bad , ‘The Godfather' and ‘Joker'. There are so many films you see and you are like, ‘Oh my God! This is just genius'. There is so much that inspires you."

Zoya Akhtar's next is the Netflix project "Ghost Stories", an ensemble of four short films directed by four directors. Zoya apart, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar are associated with the project.