Film's music has turned out to be excellent. How did you catch hold of composers like Vivek Philip and Mithoon?
Vivek is someone with whom I have worked earlier in 'My Brother Nikhil' too hence there was no question of him not being a part of 'Bas Ek Pal'. In fact I have known him and Pritam [guest composer for 'Bas Ek Pal'] for around 10 years now when they were sound engineers at FTII.
I met Mithoon by accident though at a recording studio. I was informed that he had some good tunes to show. On hearing the music I liked it a lot and we decided to do something together when an opportunity came. While creating music for 'Bas Ek Pal'. I remembered him and thought of roping him for a number or two.
Since Vivek doesn't work with a music bank or so with a readymade tune to throw for an opportune situation, I asked him that for a particular situation could I go ahead in get some music from Mithoon? Vivek is not a man with any egos and he told me to go ahead.
Still, the point is that inspite of three composers coming together [Pritam, Vivek, Mithun], the film's music has come out as ONE which is the bottom-line. Also both Vivek and Mithoon continuously interacted to ensure the consistency factor.
You seem to be working with a lot with new people.
That's true and I like it that way too since I am a newcomer myself!
When compared to 'My Brother Nikhil', publicity of 'Bas Ek Pal' seems to be on a much larger scale. How did it become possible this time around?
I will tell you an incident. When we were trying to sell the music of 'Bas Ek Pal', music company TIPS had come up with some kind of a figure. I simply asked them to watch the whole film and then we would discuss the price.
I know that some people may call it foolish but then I was confident of the film. In fact the film was not even completely ready at that time but when Mr. Taurani [TIPS head] saw the film he more than doubled the price! No doubt I was thrilled since I always believed that the music was an integral part of this film.
Currently TIPS is publicizing the music quite well while even the producers are pumping a lot of money in, which was something missing in case of 'My Brother Nikhil' since it was an independent film and all the money that was being spent was from our own pockets.
With the film's release coming close, I have even approached MTV and told them that I was not expecting a vast publicity campaign from them since my film was indeed small in comparison to other biggies in the town. But what I did make them do was watch the film and help in its promotion if they liked the end result.
The outcome was quite promising and today the situation is that we are working together on the publicity charter of the film. You would be seeing something on the channel soon!
See, the fact is that I need support from people for my film to get visibility and I don't feel awkward about admitting it! That's the reason why I am actively participating in the entire publicity campaign unlike some other film makers who choose to leave the film with the producers to take it on from their once the post production is done! I want to take the film till it hits the screens and reaches out to it target audience.
So, what is the target audience for the film?
It is an urban audience that watches films in the multiplexes. But again it is not like we would be flooding the market with 300-400 prints. I will be looking at a medium level release on around 75-100 screens and would be adding prints if the need arises.
Coming back to the characters of the film, which one is the most complex of all?
Aaah..that's a difficult question to answer. For me, each of the 5 characters have a lot of layers to them and hence quite complex. Ok, if I have to really decide on the most complex of all then I can come with three of them - Sanjay, Jimmy and Juhi.
Hey, the more I think of it the more complex they all start sounding. Let me say it back that each of the 5 have complexities woven around their characters!
'Bas Ek Pal' seems like a film that is dark with number of complex characters. How do you account for the entertainment factor here?
It's simple. If you have a good story to tell which doesn't offend the sensibilities of an audience, why can't it be entertaining? See, I will give you an analogy. On a particular day you want to read comics while on another day the flavor may be a novel. People love to laugh and they also don't mind to cry at times.
If you look in the past some of the biggest successes have been films with a dark theme. My film has tragic angle to it but I am sure audience would be kept interested in the narrative.
Yes, I have taken a risk to create something interesting as a filmmaker but I am sure it won't be ignored. People may love it or hate but they won't be able to ignore it. The film is surely going to arouse a lot of debates and will invite reactions which are only going to help it further!
You just mentioned that a film shouldn't offend the sensibilities of a viewer. Any film in recent times that did offend you?
[Has a hearty laugh] Yes, there has been one but I won't name it. [Adds after a brief pause] Ok, what the hell, let me talk about it as well. The biggest problem here is that people actually keep things secret due to which number of problems come up. I am talking about 'Tom Dick and Harry' which I just didn't enjoy.
Yes, at the end of it one needs to respect the fact that the film has done an average business that means there is an audience which has liked the film. But then this too can't be denied that it is a demand and supply formula. What you give is what people would see but then emphasis should also be on making people see what they could be interested in and what you too want to show as a film maker. There should be a step from both the ends.
To be continued