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Friday, July 20, 2018

Not A Slacker, this one

"Sulemani Keeda is about two writing partners in Bollywood - a milieu that I am very familiar with," says Amit V Masurkar.

Written by Farida Khanzada | Mumbai | Updated: January 2, 2015 12:00:18 am
Sulemani Keeda, Amit V Masurkar “Sulemani Keeda is about two writing partners in Bollywood – a milieu that I am very familiar with,” says Amit V Masurkar.

Since you have started your innings in Bollywood as a writer, is the story of Sulemani Keeda an autobiographical?
■ Sulemani Keeda is about two writing partners in Bollywood – a milieu that I am very familiar with. The film is not autobiographical, but is honest. It is about an entire generation of young creative people living and struggling to find work and acceptance in Mumbai. I have been a writer for several years and have written for TV and films. In every café and pub in Andheri West (a suburb in Mumbai) you’ll find writers, actors and film-makers discussing film concepts and throwing ideas at each other. I found this concept fascinating – a film about dreamers who show people the ultimate dream Cinema. That is the reason why I wrote a film about film writers.

Slacker comedy has not been explored much in Bollywood, so what made you foray into this genre, considering that Sulemani Keeda was your directorial debut?
■ I love watching slacker comedies. Chashme Buddoor and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron are two of my favourite slacker comedies.

In Mumbai, PVR Director’s Rare released the film and gave it a good slot. So, despite the minimal spend in advertising, there was a very good buzz online which helped us get footfalls. What are you working on next?
■ I’m writing my next film which I plan to direct. It’s a dark comedy and I’m looking forward to making it.

The film was critically-acclaimed not only in India but also at international festivals. However, it failed to garner the required numbers at the box-office.
■ The film was made on a budget of 30 lakh. We released the film in seven cities and in 40 screens. We didn’t have radio, TV, print or outdoor publicity. Despite this, purely due to word-of-mouth and good reviews, the film ran in theaters for two to three weeks. The TV rights in UK have already been sold to Channel4. We saw this release as a means to get recognition and as a way to get publicity for our online release which shall happen on January 14 through TVF Qtiyapa. So we got our money’s worth.

Today, Indian audiences are very open to new concepts. Look at the popularity of TVF, AIB and other online content creators who are known for their edgy themes. In films, we tend to be safer because there is a general tendency to aim for the lowest common denominator. However, the audience for high concept films is increasing.

Is showcasing the film at international fests the only way out for independent filmmakers like you to gain recognition?
■ International festivals definitely help films and film-makers get exposure. Films like Court, Titli, Killa will get a better release this year, because of the great reception they got at festivals abroad. Festivals also help the business selling of TV and video on demand rights. Festivals are not the only way, but is the best way for an independent film to gain recognition.

In Mumbai, PVR Director’s Rare released the film and gave it a good slot. So, despite the minimal spend in advertising, there was a very good buzz online which helped us get footfalls.

What are you working on next?
■ I’m writing my next film which I plan to direct. It’s a dark comedy and I’m looking forward to making it.

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