Fugly may not have caught the critics’ fancy, but director Kabir Sadanand says the film has reached out to a large audience and made an impact
1. Fugly has done a business of about `16.54 crore in the first week. Were you disappointed with the collections and what were your expectations from the film?
It was ` 9.5 cr for the first weekend and the week’s figures are `16.54 cr. The cost of production of the film was `6 cr and print and advertising is approximately `6 cr. We still have the overseas collections, satellite, India and overseas DVD rights and music, besides the other revenues to come in. So, I can safely assume that we have done well. The recovery on cost is the first thing that would count from a business point of view and in that area we are doing fine, if not good. The idea was to make a film that reaches out to the youth who have a lot of questions that remain unanswered by the authorities, and we feel we have brought them to the fore. The north has been very good in terms of business, and even single screens have been reporting a decent patronage for the film, so I can say we have reached out to a large number of people. It’s human nature to expect more, but then we were up against a strong film like Holiday… and still fared well.
2. What has been the general response to the film and what has the audience liked about it?
The audience has accepted the newcomers, which is a good thing and have appreciated Jimmy Sheirgill’s character in the film. This shows that the performances have been good and the concept has moved the viewers, who have put online messages on various platforms about how the film has affected them. As a film-maker who wanted to make a strong statement through his film, I have achieved what I wanted. From the response, the audience in Mumbai have enjoyed the first half more, while in the north, people liked the second half of the film. A viewer has even sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, demanding an inquiry in what has been depicted in the film. This proves that the film has made an impact on the people. We have also been receiving some rave reviews from the youth stating that this is a picture image of what people are actually facing across the country, and is a must watch for the young.
3. The basic plot of the film, about the humiliation women are subjected to, is promising. But would you agree that somewhere the idea gets diluted and could have been put across in a more constructive and entertaining way?
As a film, at no point was the idea diluted. Fugly is about the faulty commissions that are set up without any judicial powers and which is ignited when a girl is attacked and ridiculed in public. Her friends decide not to take it lying down and decide to teach the attacker a lesson. And when they come across the law holders in the form of an abusive cop, Jimmy Shergill, it startles them and later they realise the bigger nexus between the authorities and the administration. The government sets up an inquiry commission, which in itself is a hogwash! I was a part of the Mandal Commission protests and the act of immolation by the protestors was to open the eyes of the administration. So where is the idea diluted? We started with the faulty systems and stuck to that idea throughout the film. A few might not have liked it, but then that cannot dictate the reaction for the larger audience who have definitely been impressed with the film.
4. What was the most challenging thing about making the film and what’s your take on the scene where a TV reporter is allowed to interview Mohit Marwah in the ICU? Was it a case of taking cinematic liberties to leave an impact on the audience?
The entire film was a production overdrive as we shot on 37 live locations which was a tough job in itself. As for the ICU sequence, Mohit was not in an ICU, but in a burns ward, and I must add here, that in the entire city of New Delhi there is only one burns ward! The ground realities are different and you would be astonished to know them. It’s also clear in the first scene where the reporter bribes her way into staying in the hospital to complete her report in the ward and further in the pre-climax, its clearly shown that the reporter being there was a part of the plan to get across Mohit’s voice to the nation.
We had stated at the onset that the song was a promotional tool and not a part of the film, but in hindsight I do believe that we should have used the song in the film.
Coming to the inspiration, Fugly’s script was complete before Shaitan was shot, so the question of it being inspired by the film does not arise. In Shaitan, the kids fall prey to the shaitaan in them and our film touches the issue of national interest where the kids rise to fight against the shaitaan. Having four friends seems to be the only similarity. And NO we have not been inspired by Rang De Basanti either. We were inspired by the nonsense happening in the Capital and across the country, by the attacks against women and the non- functional commissions used as a tool to silence the public.