Whose brainchild is ‘Seven Island’ and what are your roles?
Seven Island is our joint Brainchild. We were in a dialogue since three years and found that we had a similar vision for cinema. At that time, Sanjay was the CEO of Phat Phish. We both also have International degrees from Filmmaking schools like NYFA and UCLA respectively. Sanjay has been in the business since 15 years and has worked abroad at HBO, and has produced films such as Amu, Manorama Six Feet Under and Quick Gun Murugan. His track record as an Independent producer is impeccable. He brings experience, credibility and access to the creative and producing aspects. My role is that of producer as well as finding the Finance. I also bring access and networks.
Is Indian audience now ready for an Amelie or a Y Tu Mama Tambien?
We are not looking to the Indian market as our primary audience for our International films. We seek a US and UK box office opening, and international sales, and Indian can be one of the Markets. The content will be Global and will travel.
Giants like Reliance have also announced ‘big’ international tie ups? How will you manage?
There is room for everyone. Our expertise is tight budgets, great content, and lean and mean productions.
What genre or kind of cinema ‘Seven Island’ promises?
For both our Domestic and International ventures we have no Genre restriction. We believe the content needs to be original and superior.
Can you elaborate the plans, like how many films a year?
We are currently trying to work on a Business model that will entail at least 2 domestic films and one International film a year. There should be a spread.
Does it have anything for the ‘aam junta’?
Our domestic projects, be it Dus Tola or the next one, National Roaming, are out and out Aam Junta films. We don’t do arthouse cinema.
Are you considering Bollywood stars for your project?
Of course. We are currently developing two such projects. They will have original content that will excite the actors on board.
How does ‘Seven Island’ help Indian film industry?
Seven Island is a new age production company that seeks to raise the bar for the kind of commercial cinema we see in India. Our budgets are competitive and our teams are new blood.
Does ‘Seven Island’ give a breather to creative Indian artistes?
Absolutely! We believe in supporting new directors, writers and talent.
Which cinema haunts you, Korean, Iranian, European, American, French, De noir, Italian, Indian…? Why?
Personally, Iranian cinema. It is the route that Indian cinema should have taken, because of the kind of cinema we used to make. Iran celebrates artistic and cause driven cinema as a national passion. We look down on it as Arthouse unfortunately, and revel in a kind of repetitive cinema, becoming almost blinkered to cinema that makes a statement or drives home a point. Thankfully new directors and producers are lending a certain freshness to Bollywood.
Why Indian cinema has failed to make a brand on its own?
Indian cinema is very inward looking and has the critical mass to support such behavior. It is wrong to call it unbranded because Bollywood is a Brand. It just doesn’t travel to the rest of the world.
What will be the role of ‘Seven Island’ in reviving Indian cinema?
Our role will be to source and design original content and projects, and to take cinema back to the days when cinema and its makers were not driven by Project design and the box office alone. Good content always travels.
Internationally we are doing Pioneer work in getting stories that are set in India to travel to the rest of the world. We want an Indian production house to deliver a world class project.
‘Seven Island’ barks on content; is ‘content’ always the king, does star power, promotions, buzz help?
Of course star power helps give an opening, but, as many biggies in the recent past have shown, that alone cannot help a film float. The content has to be good for a film to travel over the weekend and into a two or a three week run at least. Promotions and buzz are critical for any cinema anywhere in the world.
What will be your dream project?
Getting our International film, Nuclear Tango, off the ground. It’s a big film on the lines of Syriana.