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#Exclusive “Right kind of promotion can change the fate of the film”, says Karwan producer Priti Rathi Gupta

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A woman of multi-fold talents and passions, Priti Rathi Gupta interests for story-telling has enabled her to pursue her dream and start-up her own film production venture called Ishka Films Private Limited in 2013. She started with a film which received critical accolades – Waiting (2015) starring Naseerudin Shah and Kalki Koechlin under her banner. Her next installment is Karwan starring Irrfan Khan, DulQuer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar. which she is co-producing with RSVP Ronnie Screwvala.

Excerpts

Being so successful in finance field what drives you to showbiz industry?

I always had a creative bent of mind. I have always been inclined towards the art as I am Hindustani classical singer.  One of the key reasons was, over the last 3 years this is something that has been there and turned back. It’s a part of my DNA what I always wanted to do. At some point I did entire groundwork on creating fund for film was a part of our portfolio. When I did the entire homework I realized there is a very interesting space for great story telling and greater content which has a good life. so I set up a personal company which creates film.

Right now you are co-producing Karwaan. Tell us something about the film.

Karwaan is one the films that I was supposed to make initially. It’s a very beautiful, interesting and quirky story and I had the script for sometime. Meanwhile,  my first film Waiting, came by and I thought to produce that first. For Karwaan, I was looking for the right partnership. Ronnie Screwvala approached me to produce the film. So we started working on producing the story and Karwaan happened.

How did Irfan and Dulquer came into picture for Karwaan? 

When we begin for Karwaan, Irrfan sir was always the preferred choice to play for role of Shoukat. He totally enjoyed the narration so it was very easy to get him on board. It was a thought process by the production team for role of Avinash. DulQuer is already making waves with his films in South India and he was a part of the film produced by Bijoy Nambiar, who has written Karwaan. He also liked the script so DulQuer was in for Avinash.

The first production of Ishka Film was Waiting which was critically acclaimed across the globe. How was the experience working with living legend Naseeruddin Shah?

Waiting for me was an overwhelming experience because it’s my first film and we had great actors like Nasir ji and Kalki. Nasir ji and Kalki are such committed actors. I was amazed at their rehearsals, how they did script reading, discuss the scenes before they actually came on to the shoot. The shoot always started on time and we wrapped up the shoot a day earlier. It was a great experience making that film. I have learned a lot throughout that film..

Anu Menon received best director award in London Asian Film Festival in 2015 for Waiting. Did you expected that from your first film under Ishka Films? 

When we started Waiting shoot, Anu and me decided to be true to the film and it’s story. This decision means that we will not be trying to make it more sell-able by adding elements which don’t fit in the story. I was quite sure about it because I saw the actors giving their 200% while shooting. Anu herself was extremely passionate about turning the film exactly the way we visualized it. So I had no doubt that it would be critically acclaimed and that Anu would win accolades for direction.

Your choice of the script is very offbeat, your reason for choosing such scripts.

I realize that the people around are in the generation who is watching everything on Netflix and I have no idea how any of them really go to the theater. While India is a base for all kind of films, I think as a country we should start making films at global level, which are rich in content. I do believe that films are meant for entertainment so you can’t take away the entertainment. Story has to be entertaining but also great to relate which audience remembers for years. A film has a larger life if it is quirky and connectable. People can turn back even after 15 years and see the film if it still be relatable.

Since you are from finance field, do you really think that the promotion can change the fate of the film?

I think right kind of promotion can change the fate of the film. One should know where is your audience. If you are going to promote a film which is meant for the millennial on television then that may not be a proper promotion. You have to do your promotions in a very efficient manner. You can follow the stereotype promotion like television, radio, print or digital but typically which area should be focused on is very important. So I think if you have to promote your film well, you have to promote it in a sensible manner.

How in your opinion Economics and Films can be tangled?

It is very important to have an economic value when you make a film. You have to understand where is your audience, how much cost it is gonna take, what is the recovery you require at the end, how you are going to see this as a risk and how you will monitor this. All these are very important questions to consider before the film actually goes on floor.

Do you wish to make a film on the concept of corporate structure in India?

I am open to any interesting concept that is relevant, relatable and have an entertainment quotient. I would be happy to make film on that.

Is there any other film in the pipeline after Karwaan?

Yeah! I have another film which is there in the closet. We develop films which are hopefully going to be on international platforms/ I have about 3-4 scripts ready but on the floor just one film at a time.

Where do you feel Indian Bollywood industry stands when it compare with the other country’s film industry?

As a country we are great that we just don’t have Bollywood but also we have regional films. We have numerous amount of talent. In some ways industrial structure is to be changed which is in some sense very cliquish/ That won’t happen if we become far more corporate in internationally ways. However, we are selling global stories right now and audiences are not limited only to India. Internationally we are getting so many awards whether it is at Cannes or other International Filmfare awards. So industry is changing and changing for good.

Few Bollywood films are not so rich in content but are successful at box office, do you feel that this is actually stopping the real talents in industry? 

No! I don’t really feel that. There are production houses who own large part of entire market. People are watching something which is like a dream or like an experience. Therefore, there is space for all kind of films in our country. Production houses had wonderful films come out last 2 years and right from the beginning Dharma, Yash Raj films, they make soulful films. I think what is happening now is we have more production houses. More people getting into production because of digital medium. Digital medium has different audience who requires a different set of content and that content doesn’t necessarily has to be Star-Led even Talent-led. That allows for talent to come on the board and it allows people to produce content a film which is different from a lot of contents that comes on.

Who do you wish to work with from Indian film industry?

Two people that I have really been very keen to work with one is Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, I would love to produce a film with him because he is a talent power house and other person I always look up to is Mr. Maniratnam, I love the kind of films he make and I hope in near future there is something we could do together.

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