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    Lack of finance hurting independent filmmakers: Manu Rewal

    [Interview by Prashant K. Nanda]
    Thursday, March 31, 2005
    As his film flounders at the box office due to lack of publicity, "Chai Pani" director Manu Rewal says it''s all because of a major finance crunch.

    "For an independent filmmaker arranging money for his film is the biggest hurdle. From production to distribution, in every step you need a huge amount of money to bring success to the movie," Rewal told IANS in an interview.
    "Had I been a rich man, 'Chai Pani' would have been running house full all over the country. It's a great subject but it faltered on the publicity front.
    "Today 'Chai Pani' is running only on word of mouth."
    For his film, Rewal had to borrow money from friends and relatives. "There was no financial help from NFDC (National Film Development Corp) or from any bank too."
    What also hurts small filmmakers like him is the entertainment tax.
    "It may not be a big deal for top guys of Bollywood but it is surely an extra burden on independent film makers like us. The government must spend some part of this revenue on the development of the industry," said Rewal, who spent Rs.15 million ($333,000) on "Chai Pani".
    The film depicts the omnipresent corruption in India, the constant greasing of palms known colloquially as "chai pani".
    And while making the film, Rewal said he had to dole out some stuff - like when had to get a certificate from the Censor Board.
    "After all they need some 'chai pani' too," laughed Rewal, who studied filmmaking in the US and France.
    In recent times, the multiplex boom has allowed filmmakers like Rewal to make small budget, niche films. "This film is not for the masses but for the sophisticated audience.
    "Its satire is aimed at exposing the bitter truths amid entertainment. My aim is not to criticize but to entertain. Sometimes reality is funnier," said the director whose short film 'Bollywood Ki Pukar' was short-listed for Cannes Film Festival in 2002.

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