Dibaker Banerjee on Shanghai (Interview)

Kaajal Vashisht with Monica Gambhir

Shanghai

The director of critically acclaimed films like ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’, ‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’ and ‘Love Sex Aur Dhokha’ returns with a bigger starcast comprising of talented actors like Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin. The film released in theaters today, the response has been on the lower side, but Dibaker says the film needs just about 4.75 crores to recover it’s investment.

Below are some excepts from his interviews, as he speaks about Shanghai, on why directors need to step out of their confort zones to take the industry forward.

Q: Given the unique roles that you have given to your lead actors, was Shanghai a risk?

Dibaker Banerjee: Shanghai was not a risk. It was a well-kept secret, but now we can give out that its production and marketing cost a certain amount. We kept the cost of production low and we did our marketing so intelligently through tie-ups that today we have to recover only Rs 4.75 crores from theatrical release to become profitable. The sheer number of prints that we are going in for is 1200. So financially, it’s all good.

Q: How important is out-of-the-box thinking for filmmakers?

Dibaker Banerjee: Until and unless you step out of your comfort zone and try something new, no new grounds will be broken, no new films will be launched, no new stars will be discovered, people won’t get to see new stories and our industry will not be injected with new blood. And when you don’t do that, you keep shrinking: When you do that, you keep expanding.

Q: Look at the last six, seven, eight years. Before that, you knew how Bollywood only had flops and flops. Ninety percent films were flopping. In the last four years, have you seen any of that?

Dibaker Banerjee: We like to talk a lot about negatives; so, yes, there were some flops, but look at the number of successes we are having. Big budget and small budget films Рhow many hits did we have last year? From Dabangg to Delhi Belly and many more. New people, new directors, new actors, new voices, new writers and new stories are giving us a new lifeline. This renaissance or whatever you may want to call it, this resurgence of Bollywood is part of that.

Q: What causes filmmakers to set huge budgets in times when small budget movies with intelligent tie-ups are turning out to be so profitable?

Dibaker Banerjee: That depends on the subject, staff, format and how efficient one is in getting the maximum business. I have been producing films and ad films for the last 15 years. There’s nothing I haven’t done myself. I have stood in the middle of the road and controlled traffic myself to get my shot, I have stood on a set and painted a wall to get the right shade. I have produced each and every film personally with my partner Tejaswini. Nobody can tell us anything about how to get the cost down, and yet give better quality with the same amount of money that’s what producing means.

Q: What is the importance of box office collection in today’s time when films make money from tie-ups and by selling rights?

Dibaker Banerjee: It really does matter. I am telling you that the barest minimum we have to achieve to reach profitability. But we want to make as much money at the box-office as possible because we want money. Because we want to show the world that with a film like Shanghai, it is possible to make money.

Imagine the amount of encouragement other producers and directors will get out of this. We are already profitable, but imagine if we become much more profitable. We have already broken even. Rs 4.75 crore is an amount we will get when we release the film. It’s a mathematical quotient.

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2 Comments

  • bad luck 4 bolywud. Worst movie earn 100 crore+(eg. Ra1,don2,ready,bodyguard,housefull2,rowdy rathore) but meaningful movie earns only its budget .

    Double thumbs up 4 this movie called Sanghai.

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