Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Friend,Producer and Mentor

Even as they find a foothold in the industry,directors are turning producers to back new talent.

Even as they find a foothold in the industry,directors are turning producers to back new talent.

When they came across the script for Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi,Balaji Motion Pictures was impressed. Apart from being strong on content,the proposed film — Aman Sachdeva’s directorial debut — was being backed by Bejoy Nambiar as its co-producer. It did not matter to the production house that Nambiar himself was only a film old — his debut Shaitan was critically acclaimed and his second,David,was in the making at that time. “It didn’t matter to us how many films Bejoy had worked on. As a production house,we viewed it as a good script being produced by a filmmaker known to push the envelope and willing to take the creative onus for it,” says Tanuj Garg,CEO,Balaji Motion Pictures. They are now co-producing the film,set to release in May.

Just like Nambiar,several other directors are turning producers very early in their career. They are now giving other aspirants a chance at moviemaking. Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK recently produced Telugu film D for Dopidi. Vikramaditya Motwane,who co-owns production house Phantom,is backing Vikas Bahl’s Queen,apart from Motwane’s own Lootera. Anubhav Sinha has directed a few movies in the past,which failed to impress at the box office,but after the success of Ra.One,he launched his production house,Benaras Films. It is now making Madhuri Dixit-Nene’s comeback film,Gulaab Gang. R Balki,after the success of Cheeni Kum and Paa,produced English Vinglish last year,while plans for another movie with a debut director are underway.

In this competitive industry,it is a challenge for most filmmakers to find the right producers for their own films. Therefore,cases where directors choose to back others’ projects are laudable. They view it as an advantage as it allows them to explore other aspects of filmmaking. “Working with another creative person can offer fresh perspective on content,” says Nidimoru. Nambiar adds that it also helps him build a strong portfolio. “I get to dabble in the kind of movies that I always want to be part of,even though it hasn’t been my vision. Also,it adds to the credibility of my production house,” he says.

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Writer-director Anurag Kashyap can perhaps be credited for the trend. He turned producer with Udaan,which was directed by Motwane,soon after his first two box-office successes — Dev.D and Gulaal. In an earlier interview,the filmmaker had explained that his role as a producer also ensures that talented filmmakers don’t have to go through the same struggle that he did. “I can become the medium through which a good script can reach the right producer,” he had said.

Often the content that these directors back is the kind they feel they themselves won’t be able to do justice to. Nambiar believes that he could not have directed Kuku Mathur or Pizza,his next production. However,he adds a word of caution: “It is important that the parties involved believe in similar cinema.” For this reason,the people these directors mentor are often who they know well. For instance,Sachdeva and Nambiar are friends. Ditto is the case of Motwane and Bahl. Dopidi’s director Siraj Kalla was an assistant director on Nidimoru’s Shor,and English Vinglish’s director Gauri Shinde is Balki’s wife.

It is important,however,say these filmmakers,that they limit their role to creative production and guidance. “It is easy to cross the line since as directors ourselves,we are bound to have our own opinions. Hence,it is best to move out once the project is set up and return only in the edit stages,” Nidimoru says.


Apart from the mutually beneficial relationship that such co-production models result in,the biggest gainer is the final product — the movie in question. Garg explains,“Often,such films are made on a low-budget with new faces. Given that the director is also a debutant,having two co-producers who are brands in themselves,lends the film credibility and makes it easier to promote. For Kuku Mathur,therefore,we can leverage both Bejoy and Ekta Kapoor’s popularity.”

First published on: 22-03-2013 at 03:36:03 am
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