Farhan Akhtar is set to return as director with Jee Le Zara, a road trip film starring the exciting trio of Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt. After the successes of past travel films like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, fans of Hindi cinema had to wait for several years to finally come across the announcement of an all-female film in the popular genre. At FC Producers Adda 2021, producer Zoya Akhtar spoke about how the concept and the star cast fell into place.
Anupama Chopra (AC): You have described Tiger Baby Films as a hybrid of mainstream and indie. One of your most exciting projects for me is Jee Le Zara, frontlined by three massive female stars, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt. Why has it taken us so long to get to a place where we have a big-budget movie with three big women acting in it? How are the economics making sense now? What has changed?
Zoya Akhtar (ZA): Honestly, the only reason why you can do it now is because all the players involved want to do it. Even 10 years ago, if it had to happen, it could have happened if three big female stars, the filmmakers and producers wanted to do it. I think it's about alignment. And firstly, it's about the intent.
The three of them [Katrina, Priyanka and Alia] are huge, and they are amazing. What's beautiful about them is that they are very distinct personalities. There's nobody that's like the other. I think we, as Excel Entertainment, with Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, have created a world with these journey films – a universe of its own. And it was serendipity. Farhan had an idea, which he had bounced, saying that he wanted to do it with girls. He had come up with it and and he told me one line about the project. And then, independently, I was contacted by the actresses, who hadn't known about Farhan's project, saying that they wanted to work together. Priyanka had called them.
AC: Priyanka had called Katrina and Alia?
ZA: Yes. It all just aligned. I think it would have happened even 10 years ago if these were the same players.
AC: So, raising money on the project was never an issue.
ZA: No. I really think it about intent. If you're convinced about doing something, you are going to do it.