Rahul Bose on Thursday said that after the box office debacle of his last film, sports biopic, Poorna: Courage Has No Limit, he will never produce a movie that does not have a star headliner.
Poorna is based on a true story of Malavath Poorna, a tribal girl from Telangana who created history on May 25, 2014 by becoming the youngest girl in the world to scale the Mount Everest at the age of 13.
Aditi Inamdar, a Telangana girl, portrayed Poorna on screen.
The abysmal performance of the film at the ticket window especially in tier-II towns, “really broke my heart”, Bose, who also directed the film, said.
“Everybody thinks it was really gutsy to make a Rs 10 crore film on a 13-year-old girl climbing Mt Everest. I just thought it was a fantastic mainstream film. ‘Little girl climbs Everest, holds Indian flag’ what can get more mainstream than this? I wondered.
“The biggest reality check that I got after making ‘Poorna’, which also defines the Hindi film industry, this would be the last mainstream film to be made with… As a producer, never will I make a film that doesn’t have a recognisable face,” he said.
The actor-director was speaking at a panel discussion Redefining Stories at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Bose emphasised on the unwillingness of the smaller towns of giving chances to a film as “mainstream” as Poorna, which only clicked in major cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Pune and Ahmedabad.
“The film vanished everywhere else. India, apart from these 8 cities, is not interested in, forget about a good film, a mainstream film (that is) without a face. You can say there are new stories and Bollywood is changing. But if you don’t have a recognised face, go home,” he added.
As the trend of sports dramas continues to enjoy an upswing in Hindi cinema such as Gold and Soorma, Bose said such films work only if it is fronted by a known face.
“There are so many sports films made with huge actors, which are really good. But that Rs 600 thousand crore thing… Because the actor has the heft. That’s who people come to see. You don’t care about what Tom Cruise is playing. You want to see Tom Cruise, which is fantastic.”
He said Poorna recently broke even and he is planning to release the film in China soon.
“… We cracked a very good deal with Amazon Prime, Zee for overseas and on satellite, plus the box office, which we didn’t recover the Rs 10.5 crore. All in all, we crossed Rs 11 crore today.
“Yesterday, I got an offer to release the film in China. The profits will start coming in from there now – one-and-a-half years after the release of the film.”
Bose, who made his directorial debut with Everybody Says I’m Fine in 2001, credited the houseful screenings for 290 NGOs, and parents and children who went to watch the film in the theatres for their support.
Earlier, when moderator, cinematographer Aseem Bajaj asked what has been his story in films, Bose said he never had to face any struggle.
“I have never struggled. I don’t have a ‘Mera koi godfather nahi tha, phir bhi’ story. I didn’t have to change my acting or anything. Right from ‘English August’ to Poorna, I’m proud of the choices I have made, barring one or two. So I don’t have that story.