With Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota garnering praise at the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, producer Ronnie Screwvala says building an audience before a film’s release is very important for its business.
Screwvala said, “If we would have released the film directly after its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, it would have not created the buzz it has here at the MAMI fest. I think that building an audience for a film before its release is very important.
“When a film like ‘Mard Ko…’ gets a release after a few festival rounds, the film will not only get judged by the box office but also gain popularity and good words from the festival audience.”
Screwvala has of late produced films like Love Per Square Foot and Lust Stories on OTT platform Netflix. His Uri is in the pipeline for its theatrical release.
“We are not obsessed about platforms whether it is digital, festival circuit or theatrical release. I think every film, every content has its own platform and we have to place it accordingly.”
So, is it difficult these days to release a film in the theatre?
“I would say ‘yes’… If you as a producer, over-set yourself for the theatrical release. And no, it is not difficult if you know that it is a 200 prints release and through the theatre, you are reaching to the target audience, it is all good. But releasing 2000 prints with a high expectation might just affect its business if the audience response is not good enough.”
The story of Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is quite entertaining. Director Vasan Bala has treated it very differently with action, music and skilful editing, lending the film a unique fabric of its own.
Wasn’t it risky for him to trust a new film director like Bala?
“Well, it was a calculated risk that we were taking, I was quite clear about it. I think sometimes one shouldn’t be over thinking. When I started talking to Vasan, I realised that if he wants to make more films, this story that he has been living for the longest, should go from his mind. And if anybody can give the story a different treatment, it should be him. So we had a conviction while taking the risk.”
Asked about his expectation from the upcoming Uri, which is set to release on January 11 next year, Screwvala said: “It is a very patriotic film that revolves around war and its strategy. The Indian audience is yet to watch such experience in cinema.
“We either have films like ‘Border’ or another war film. In this film, we have war, action, and strategy based on a true story. I think this combination will make the film stand out.”