Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Small films MUST experiment' - Interview Udaan director, Vikramaditya

Vikramaditya Motwane, director of Udaan, talks about how the multiplex era has opened up the market for small-budget films, which will usher in a lot of fresh stories



Small-budget films must always explore and experiment. What’s the point making a love triangle with non-stars?,” opines first time director Vikramaditya Motwane, whose film Udaan — a coming-of-agedrama — and an official selection at Cannes, releases this Friday. “In small films, the star is the story. Look at Love Sex Aur Dhokha — who were there as actors? They are all newcomers. The subject makes it unique,” says the debutant director, who co-wrote Dev D with Anurag Kashyap and was an assistant director and sound designer to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.



Udaan is the story of an 18 year old, who is abandoned for eight years at a boarding schools. When he returns back home he finds himself amidst an authoritarian father and a younger half brother who doesn’t even know he existed!
Forced to work in his father’s steel factory and study engineering against his wishes, he tries to forge his own life out of his given circumstances and pursue his dream of being a writer.
Vikram wrote the story as early as 2003 and showed its first draft to his “out-of-work director-friend” Anurag Kashyap, who was impressed with it. He promised he would produce the film at a later stage. “In March 2009, after years of trying to get an producer on board, Anurag and his friend Sanjay Singh raised enough money for me to turn that script into a film. They packed me off to shoot and backed me all the way to make the film I always wanted to,” says Vikram. Incidentally, his initiation into the field happened because his mother worked as a production manager on documentary films. She later went on to do talk shows for television, and Vikram’s love for making movies grew from there.
Although Udaan took flight after several years, the director says he has no regrets. “The struggle period is fairly normal. I was a debutant and mine was not going to be a masala film, so I can understand the reluctance on the part of producers. Also, around that time, multiplexes weren’t that dominant, so in a way it’s good that Udaan is releasing now. This is the right time for it to release,” he says.

“Besides, all directors need reference when you narrate a story. They have to relate it to something, otherwise they don’t feel confident of it. Give them a DVD of a Hollywood film and they will find it safe. Here, I had no reference to give for Udaan,” he says.
Once the film got made, they showed it to UTV who immediately decided to buy it. “They absolutely loved the film. Its budget is just 3 crores and if you add the distribution price, it comes to 6 crores. That’s hardly much to recover. When producers and distributors are confident of not losing money, they will back you,” says Vikram.
In the days to come, Vikram believes a wide variety of films for all age groups and segments will become a viable proposition. “Things take time to evolve, but I already see it happening. We’ve had films like Dev D, Taare Zameen Par, Kameeney and LSD all managing to attract audiences,” he says.
So how confident is he feeling about his own film?
“I would like to think I’ve made a good film, but you never know. Yes, the film has won accolades at festivals, but for both me and Anurag, the focus is always on the domestic market. We want it to appeal to our own audience. It’s important that Udaan does well, because it will pave the way for other independent filmmakers to go ahead and make the films they want. There’s no time like now!” he says.
We agree with him on that.

-Sandhya Iyer

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