MTV breaks Bollywood bastion with 'Bas Yun Hi'

MUMBAI: MTV is getting into film production with Bas Yun Hi, a maiden venture of the new production house Bandra West Productions. 

To be released in theatres across India in October this year, Bandra West Productions has entered into a partnership with MTV for creative input as well as for promotions. Bandra West, promoted by Raja Menon and Pratap Raju, aims to make films that will not just do well commercially but will also provide emotional sustenance for the viewer. While Raju serves as co-producer of the venture, Menon wears the director's cap. While the two are not looking at Bas Yun Hi as a litmus test, they are not talking to other television channels for future initiatives either.

"This is our first project and at this point of time our sole concentration is on Bas Yun Hi. We want the medium budget film to be commercial in the sense of dragging people into cinema halls but at the same time it shouldnt repeat the same old formula. Judging by public reaction when the film is released within the first couple of weeks in October we will proceed further." chorus the two.

Queried about the story and nature of Bas Yun Hi they say, "Well the story, which takes place within the span of ten days, is steeped in emotional urban reality. The characters are down to earth, so the audience will not have a problem making a connection. This is important, because as Indians, we express ourselves emotionally more easily. Although the story is entirely fictional, one character could be an amalgamation of a few people in real life. The friends are all at the starting points of their respective careers and their various personalities enable them to bounce off each other. For instance, Aditya harbours dreams of being a filmmaker. Another character is an aspiring actress. The story takes a dramatic twist when one character plays a prank on another."

They also explain the reason why most films released earlier this year flopped. "For us, the script was fundamental. Without the solid grounding of a healthy screenplay, the glitz and glamour of a film tends to get lost in the shuffle. This is one of the main reasons why so many films released this year have performed indifferently at the box office. Another problem is that there is not sufficient differentiation between one product and the next. We however are trying to create space of our own." 

The duo have also made a conscious attempt to avoid exaggerated melodrama that peoples Bollywood - like a hero saving the country, for instance. When a song is played, it serves a mechanism to take the story forward, they claim. So, Nandita Das grooving to a Salsa tune in the film is just an example of a glimpse into the character's mindset, they say.

Bas Yun Hi has been shot in Bangalore over a period of 40 days; post-production is currently on. While Uma da Cunha is responsible for the casting, the first time she has handled a Hindi film, the music has been supplied by Rajeev Raja & Merlin.

Noted cinematographer Jehangir Choudhary along with sound engineer Nakul Kamte have shot the film in sync sound, as with Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai, Kamte's earlier ventures. "There is no dubbing, which makes a huge difference to audio output," says Menon. Queried about the difference between making an ad and a feature film, Menon who has a wealth of experience in the ad film world said, "In the former you are dealing a product. In a span of 30-40 seconds you have to pitch it to prospective consumers. With film the time period is much more. It allows freedom. It is also a more personal experience as you are dealing with the lives of people. However if a film fails at the box office you have yourself to blame. It is a no excuse medium."

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