Nervousness ,anxiety,curiosity these are a gamut of emotions that a producer is quite familiar with when a film is set to release. But co-producer of Ek Thi Daayan,Vishal Bhardwaj took off for a vacation instead just two days before his movie opened at the box office.
The Kaminey director gives three reasons for doing that. This is the first time that I am going out on a vacation while my film is releasing. And why not? He counter questions,explaining. For the first time ever,my movie has made a table profit! Now whatever it collects at the box-office will be our bonus, He claims Ek Thi…,which he is co-producing with Ekta Kapoor,has already recovered its production cost with the sale of satellite,music and territory rights. Having said that,Bhardwajs second reason for taking off on a holiday comes as a surprise his fear of the box office. The daayan or bhoot of my life is the box office, he quips,continuing in the same vein. We keep scaring and haunting each other. But this time I decided that instead of going through the pressure,its better to be out of town around that time. Now that we have covered the production cost,theres nothing to worry, he says.
Surprisingly Bhardwaj,whos been a critics delight,with a repertoire that includes impressive films like Maqbool,Omkara,Kaminey among others,reveals that he has stopped believing in them. And thats where the third reason comes in the picture. I dont believe in critics, he says. Film-makers put in a lot of efforts for years together on a project,and the critics just dismiss these films in three hours! I feel reviewers who dont understand my work are not worth it. I only read good reviews of my films. His next sentence,however,clears the confusion as you realise that the film-maker is referring to his last film release Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola,which was was panned across board. He maintains that the film was not a disaster at BO. Matru Ki… got a mixed response from the critics. But business wise it made theatrical collections of ’42 crore,just two crore less than what Kaminey made at the BO. Matru… had an average performance,but we recovered our production cost.
And now we will recover our commission also soon,as we are expecting a good returns from the sale of the films satellite rights, he informs. Confident of his work,the film-maker is aware that his movies are more of a learning experience for the actors. Stars get appreciated for their performances in my movies. My films are not the regular run-of-the-mill,commercial movies. Therefore,I feel that in my films,stars should be paid less. May be 30 to 50 per cent lesser than their market value. Coming back to …Daayan,the movie generated a lot of buzz over the Wiccan controversy before its release,where a real-life witch,Ipsita Roy Chakraverti filed a case against negative portrayal of witches in the film. Ek Thi… is just a folklore,I dont know why she is creating such a fuss. I dont want to give her any explanation. I only came out and addressed the issue because National Commission for Women (NCW) sent us a notice. Otherwise,she is just a self-proclaimed witch and I do not believe that witches exists, dismisses Bhardwaj. Does that mean that he did not take any inputs from the Wiccan community for a film that revolved around witches? We didnt do any research as it is based on a fantasy. We just started throwing up ideas about things that weve heard about the witches. I never took the community so seriously,I thought it was just a joke, he shoots back.
The film-maker does not deny reports of having had creative clashes that he supposedly faced,with his co-producer Ekta Kapoor,while working on the project. When two headstrong people are working together,a clash of ideas is bound to happen. Ekta had the right to react to my ideas as she was putting her money in this project, says Bharadwaj,who has also written this film.
The film-maker,who is currently on a multicity tour,says that he will only come back to town once the fuss about the box office collections of his movie is done and over with. Now that hes explored folklore,hes in a mood to make a film on aliens or time travel.