"Khosla Ka Ghosla is perhaps the first ever "organised" film in the country": Tandav Films Entertainment's Savita Raj

When an advertising agency decides to get into feature film making, you can be sure it's going to be a methodical affair.The Savita Raj promoted Tandav Films Entertainment Ltd is doing just that. A subsidiary of Usha Kaal Advertising, the company will make its film debut this year with Khosla Ka Ghosla, slated for a March 2004 release. A neat brief, research into potential audiences and a studied script, KKG has all the ingredients of a well made ad.

Khosla Ka Ghosla is written by Jaideep Sahni, who has scripted films like Company, Jungle, Road and Bhoot and is directed by debutante Dibakar Sen. To be presented by Padmalaya Films and distributed by Zee International, KKG boasts a cast that includes Anupam Kher, Tara Sharma, Parveen Dabas and Kiran Juneja.

Savita Raj spoke to about her company, its plans and of course, Khosla Ka Ghosla. Excerpts:

Tell us about your journey from advertising to film production.

It is a natural progression. Just an extension of our creative efforts. Advertising kept us a bit restricted since we had to work on a set brief, while film making is more liberal in many ways. We are only trying to take some liberties, though the creative work continues.

What about the production house - Tandav Films Entertainment Ltd? How was it born?

It's a subsidiary of Usha Kaal Advertising, set up in 2002 to develop quality content for cinema and other popular media. Its board has professionals from the world of advertising, cinema and marketing.

You've really been creative with the title of your film - 'Khosla Ka Ghosla'. What is the film about?

It is about a family whose only son plans to settle abroad. And is bascially about a house. So we were thinking of all kinds of metaphors for a house - need (nest in Hindi), ghar, gharoanda?

Someone came up with ghosla and we rhymed it with Khosla which is the family surname. Initially the family name was Kalsi, but then we changed it to Khosla. It's a north Indian Punjabi household, and so the film has been completely shot in Delhi. In fact, this particular background was a deliberate decision since all of us working on the film hail from Delhi. And mind you, it's not the stereotyped aloo-gobi Punjabi family. We've tried to stay away from stereotypes. The film does not even have a routine Punjabi marriage dance number.

"In our movie 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' we've tried to stay away from stereotypes. The film does not even have a routine Punjabi marriage dance number"

Two years ago, Percept India had also made a similar attempt at filmmaking with 'Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi'. But the production house - Tyger Productions - disappeared soon after the film bombed. What are your expectations with Tandav Films and 'Khosla Ka Ghosla'?

Khosla Ka Ghosla is perhaps the first ever "organised" film in the country. We've done an extensive study before venturing into this field. We've actually worked it out on a brief - what we wanted, who we were targeting, the content, everything. In fact, the script was written after detailing Jaideep on all the nitty gritties. We didn't start off with the film simply on an idea or a storyline.

Besides, advertising professionals have been very successful in cinema so we are definitely very hopeful. It's a fun film and should appeal to the people.

Not all advertising professionals have been successful in cinema? For instance Rakesh Mehra's 'Aks' was a disaster despite big names like Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai and Nandita Das. Shashank Ghosh's recent 'Vaisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II' didn't do well either.

Well, this is our first effort and I'm being optimistic. Otherwise there are successful films and there are unsuccessful films. You cannot generalise.

Do you think going excessively into experimentation scripted their debacle?

I don't know. But let me make it clear that Khosla Ka Ghosla is a very simple film. I don't categorise films as experimental or otherwise. As for me, I am a simple person who loves Indian values and traditions and so we've tried to weave a story around these values. A story of the life of the common man - sweet and sour - just as it is. It's a social, situational comedy, a Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of film. But certainly not run-of-the-mill.

"Advertising professionals have been very successful in cinema so we are definitely very hopeful"

You are talking about the common man when most films today target NRIs...

Khosla Ka Ghosla is as much for the NRIs as it is for people in India. We are not slotting it anywhere. It just talks about the common man, doesn't mean NRIs can't watch it. For that matter even Bend It Like Bekham was the story of a common man. The secret lies in the appeal and how you can create an audience for it.

I must tell you here that the international theatrical rights of Khosla Ka Ghosla have already been picked up and the film is also lined up for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

You said film production was a natural progression from advertising. Why film, why not television production?

Well, I'm a very impatient person. I can't wait for long to see the response to my work. Nor can I go on doing something which never seems to come to an end. Besides, the idea of saas-bahu never really fascinated me. So television certainly wasn't my kind of work.

But doesn't advertising teach you to be different?

Yes, but then I told you I'm an impatient person.

What are your future plans for Tandav Films?

We plan to produce and release 10 full length feature films in the next five years.

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