Mozez Singh: ‘A Piece of Furniture Can Be Really Emotive’
Filmmaker, TV writer, and bon vivant are just some of the ways to describe Mozez Singh who, as of last week, added to that list furniture designer, after his Mughal Pop range launched at Good Earth amidst a glitzy do of socialites and celebrities. Singh has a few other reasons to celebrate: his Mumbai-set film Peddlers about three characters whose lives collide, which he co-produced with Anurag Kashyap is heading to Cannes this month, he’s in pre-production for his next feature film and will soon release a documentary on the Sunburn music festival. Singh spoke to us about his partying ways, working on the desi version of Sex and the City and what we can expect next. Edited excerpts:
You co-produced Peddlers, which is heading to Cannes. However, most of the press is reporting that Miss Lovely is the only Indian entrant to the festival this year.
I think the press is uneducated about Cannes. Cannes has many different categories, and we are selected for Critic’s Week, which is a competitive category and puts us in competition for the Camera D’or prize. Ashim [Ahluwalia]‘s film will be screened as part of Un Certain Regard, which is not a competitive category. Anurag Kashyap’s other movie Gangs of Wasseypur will also be screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight section, which shows a director’s cut and is also a non-competitive category.
How did you come on board?
I’ve been associated with Anurag and his business partner Guneet Monga for a couple of years. I directed a film on Suburn for their production company. One day, Guneet came up to me and said “Do you want to co-produce Peddlers with us, it’s a very small film” and I said I’d love to. It had an interesting concept, and it’s my kind of cinema, and I support independent cinema completely. I’m also making a film, and I don’t have a big Bollywood banner behind it so for me it kind of resonated on all levels.
You’re sort of a man about town. What’s a typical day for you?
I get up at 7.30am , work all day, go to the gym, and I actually detest going out in the middle of the week and I only go out if I really have to. I like going out on weekends, but I don’t go out that much these days because I’m bored. There’s no place to go to.
You’ve done an array of things including a film on Sunburn, you’ve line produced on A Mighty Heart, and now furniture design. How do you decide what to do next?
The decision has now been made—and for next few years at least, it’ll be films and interiors. I really enjoy the process of both. I like to create product, it gives me a lot of joy. It’s similar to writing a film script because a piece of furniture can be really emotive, can make or break a room, can have a personality. I think in that way, in my films I have a strong sense of aesthetic where everything is going to look nice even if it’s supposed to look dirty. There’s a connection between film and interiors because you’re selling emotion at the end of the day.
You also produced the Indian version of Sex and the City called Love Marriage. How did that come about?
It was so, so far from that. I came back from America ten years ago, and moved straight to Bombay. I’m from Delhi, but I wanted to be in the entertainment business. The first thing I ever did was write and produce a television series for Zee TV [when] Sex and the City was airing in America, and I was blown away by it. But boy oh boy, they didn’t want to let me do it. They wanted all my characters to wear kanjeevaram saris and mangalsutras dangling to their knees. After six months, I went up to them and said please pull me off the show because I didn’t even know what I was doing on it. It was not Sex and the City, it was a very tragic Sex and the City.
Can you tell us more about your Sunburn documentary.
It’s more like a docu-drama. Phantom, which is a studio owned by Viacom, commissioned Anurag [Kashyap] to produce this film. So they [Phantom] commissioned six directors to make a 15- to 25-minute short film on Suburn and all of these short films are going to be clubbed together so it’s a feature film with six different parts like New York, I Love You and Paris, Je T’aime. My film is a combination of fact and fiction where I have three fictional characters running through the story.
You’re going to direct a feature film in the second half of 2012. Can you share any details about it?
I’m going to start casting in August and I hope to be shooting in six to eight months after that. It’s a very raw, edgy story set in the world of music, it’s a full-on Hindi film, but I have a new cast. It’s about singers, so I’m really keen to have everyone sing in their own voice. It’s about a guy from the heartland of Punjab who travels to the big city of Delhi and it’s about his journey.