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    I'm not nave about money: Boney Kapoor

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Saturday, September 10, 2005
    Producer Boney Kapoor is in the process of extricating himself from a financial crisis - his "No Entry" has just been released and he has managed to clear 50 percent of his Rs.400 million debt thanks to friends and "the good wishes of god".

    Admitting that his debts in the market were "definitely close" to Rs.400 million, Boney says he has learnt his lesson. "I was working like a big production house without being organized. Now I''m going corporate in a big way."

    The process, he says, is already on. The producer of 31 films says he is not nave about money but his priorities are not material. "I want to have dignity and ethics in place... I''ve always been brutally frank about everything, including my financial crisis," he says.

    There was a time, he recalls, when he was dubbed the shrewdest man in the industry who advised everyone on how to manage. He even managed his brothers Anil and Sanjay''s careers. "When luck doesn''t favor you, everything goes wrong," Boney says ruefully.

    But he is on the road to financial recovery now and has decided not to rush into any new productions right away. The producer tells IANS in this interview that the Sahara group has been extremely supportive and helped him through the crisis.

    Excerpts:

    Why Was "No Entry" stopped?

    Well, everyone knows I'm in a financial problem. Fortunately, I managed to solve it in time. But the distribution of "No Entry" suffered. Though we managed to send prints to most places on time, we couldn't reach Australia and some other overseas territories. Thankfully, there was no big release the following week. So we can safely release my film where it got left behind.

    I'm glad "No Entry" is a hit. We somehow managed a premiere of sorts on Thursday. I couldn't attend. I was busy with the delivery. I got home at 3 in the morning. All my actors came home to show support. Salman left at 4.30 a.m. I've discovered a lot about life in the last 10 days. I'm far more mature and wiser now.

    About money matters?

    I don't mean only about money. The perception that I'm foolish and extravagant about money is false. I know what I'm doing with my money. My only problem is my heart controls my mind. Sometimes I do go overboard.

    It's believed that you owe Rs.40 crore (Rs.400 million) in the market.

    The figure was definitely close to that. Thankfully, I've managed to clear a large part of my accounts with the help of friends and the good wishes of god. I've managed to clear 50 percent of my debts.

    I believe you've sold all your films' satellite rights to Sahara to bail yourself out of the crisis?

    I don't want to go into the nitty-gritty. But, yes, Sahara has been extremely supportive and, yes, they were with me during this crisis, as they've been with me all through. And I hope they continue to be with me...

    Is it true you overpay your stars?

    Not true. Only Sridevi... I overpaid her for "Mr India". I wanted to make sure that she allots me a large number of dates - and I don't mean the one boys and girls go on. Besides I reasoned, hero (Anil Kapoor) was free, so why not pay 25 percent more to the heroine? The second person I've been indulgent about is Kareena Kapoor. She's a favorite.

    You lost money on your last film "Bewafaa"?

    No, I didn't lose money on "Bewafaa". I've produced 31 films. I've four-five films on the floor at any given time. Naturally I've to depend on resources from various sources. Delays are bound to happen. I lost precious time and money on "Kyun...Ho Gaya Na" because Amitji's father passed away, then Aishwarya's, then Vivek Oberoi's accident. Are such vagaries in my hands?

    Then a major schedule of 36 days for "Bewafaa" was cancelled because of Karisma's marriage. I couldn't afford to have Kareena flying in and out of Mumbai. I've learnt my lesson. I was working like a big production house without being organized. Now I'm going corporate in a big way.

    How do you plan to do it?

    The process is on. Everything will have to be reworked. I've enough people to trust. No one can cheat me. At one point when things were going right, I was dubbed the shrewdest man in the industry who could manage my brothers Anil Kapoor and Sanjay's career. I'm not nave about money. But my priority isn't material. I want to have dignity and ethics in place.

    I've never cheated anyone. I can't do that. I've always been brutally frank about everything including my financial crisis. I believe if I'm not straightforward in my dealings I won't be able to function. If I was able to release "No Entry" on time, in spite of my financial crisis it was because of straightforwardness. I am where I am because of the way I am. At one time I was Mr. Fix-it, advising everyone on how to manage. When luck doesn't favour you everything goes wrong.

    Had your financial crisis reached a flashpoint with "No Entry"?

    Yes. I thought they'd be sorted out. But there were miscalculations on my part. I'm responsible for my situation. I'll solve it.

    During each release of yours, there's talk of a financial crunch and a subsequent crisis of release.

    One lives on hope that I'll be able to muster some resources out of the next production. Sometimes one can't guess about the interest that accumulates... For the last year-and-a-half my finances have been a roller-coaster ride for me. My intentions about my credits have always been honourable. I guess I ended up miscalculating. But now my financial condition is on the road to recovery, thanks to supportive friends.

    Will you clear your debts now that "No Entry" has clicked.

    It's too early to say. Let's hope it succeeds. Now another production, "Milenge Milenge" with Kareena and Shahid, is complete. This year I wanted to phase out the release of "Bewafaa", "No Entry" and "Milenge Milenge"...I won't rush into any new productions right away.


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