First timers ruled 2010


MUMBAI: The year 2010 stands out as the year when many newcomers came into films. It also saw filmmakers departing from the traditional ways of filmmaking and venturing into new kind of content-driven films.

Among them were directors Kiran Rao (Dhobi Ghat), Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan), Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden), Maneesh Sharma (Band Baaja Baraat) and Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Chaar); producers Pooja and Aarti Shetty (Tere Bin Laden); and actors Ranvir Singh and Sonakshi Sinha among others.

The session at Ficci-Frames on ‘Successful Film Content for the Future: Rise of the Debutants‘ was unique in the sense that the panelists Rao, Motwane, Abhishek Sharma, Maneesh Sharma, Faisal, Ranvir Singh and Sonakshi Sinha talked about the films that they debuted with.

Rao started by saying how she launched the shooting of her ambitious film, Dhobi Ghat, in a shoe-string budget. “It was always my dream to make a film on my own, even though I had Aamir besides me. I floated my own company Cinema 7, a subsidiary of Aamir Khan Productions (AKP). But all along the making, I saw that the budget didn’t go overboard and that everything was under my control. Once the film was made, it was taken over by AKP for distribution.”

Said Motwane, “ When I finished writing Udaan, the film industry was just coming out of the economic slump. Then no producer or production house wanted to back my film. Later, the time did come when producers were not averse picking up newer subjects. This gave me a good opportunity to put across the idea of my film to the UTV bosses who promptly decided to back me. Fortunately, the film was well-acclaimed and struck a chord with the viewers and eventually went on to become a success.”

Averred Maneesh Sharma, “ Initially, for the first two weeks, there was hardly anybody coming in to see Band Baaja Baraat. We were very nervous for in the next two weeks 7 Khoon Maaf was going to be released. But later, by the reviews and the word-of-mouth publicity, the film slowly gathered steam and eventually turned out to be a hit. All said and done, it was YRF’s backing that did the difference.”

Faisal’s Do Dooni Chaar (DDC) was distributed by Disney India. “ These days most filmmakers are practical in their approach. Hence by our method of approach, it wasn’t difficult for us to appease the distribution house into distributing the film. So the film to be distributed by Bang Bang Motion Pictures went into the hands of Disney. The popularity of DDC later grew and the film did well at the box office. There were two things that contributed to the film’s success -the kind of approach and the corporate handling,” detailed Faisal.

Being a medium-budget film, Abhishek Sharma’s Tere Bin Laden was well received and did a very good business across the country. Said Sharma, “Once I came to Mumbai, I joined Adlabs to gain knowledge about the business of cinema. Later through Manmohan Shetty, I came to know his daughters Pooja and Aarti Shetty. After hearing the plot, they decided to back me under their own distribution house, Walkwater Films. What they liked was initially the concept and then the screenplay. Finally, when the film clicked, our joy knew no bounds. I have vowed to work for the banner so long as they make films and ask me to helm them.”

Daughter of veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha, Sonakshi, captured the hearts of cinemagoers. Naturally, she was the first choice of both Arbaaz and Salman Khan for Dabaang. “I was previously into fashion. For the last several years, Salman used to pester me to join films. After a lot of thought, I decided upon doing a film and was lapped up by the Khan brothers for Dabaang,"she said.

Does being an actor’s daughter put extra pressure on her? “Yes, every single day, you have to prove a point. These things don’t happen when you don’t have family roots deep into films," Sonakshi observed.

Maneeesh Sharma, who directed Ranveer Singh in Band Baaja Baraat, invited the young star by disclosing as to how he was taken on board the film. “ Ranveer had to go through three screen tests. In the first he was awesome; the second saw him in a very poor shape; and in the last he performed dismally. I then went to him and said that from your first test, I could make out that you are a fantastic actor. Get in shape and perform. And the rest is history.“

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