‘With Seven Entertainment, we want to be the Miramax of the world and not just that of India’ – Anubhav Sinha

Producer – director Anubhav Sinha’s obsession with chasing and conning for money started with Dus and has continued in his forthcoming film Cash. The director’s action trilogy will finally end with a film titled Chase, which is due to go on floors by October this year.

 


The release of Cash got postponed by a week due to legal hassles and instead of its release last week on 27 July, the movie will release on 3 August.


 


His production company Seven Entertainment has already completed three films, while another 20 are under production. Apart from that he also has multiple film deals with K Sera Sera, Percept Picture Company and Moser Baer.


 


In an exclusive interview with Businessofcinema.com’s Rohini Bhandari, Sinha talks about Cash and also how his previous film Dus was the turning point in his career. Sinha also throws light on his passion to make cinema beyond Bollywood and the projects under his belt.


 


Excerpts:


 


Tell us something about your forthcoming film Cash.


Cash is about three guys who get together to rob something and once they are through with it they realize they have been conned and now they have to get back at the person who has conned them.


 


It is about stealing money, diamonds, robbing and being robbed, conning and getting conned.


 


You have been known more for Dus than any other film of yours. Dus was high on style and action and now you have followed it up with Cash, which also has a similar feel to it. Are Dus and Cash the kind of films you are looking forward to make?


Dus was planned with three new boys and without us realizing, one day it became bigger than we ever thought because of Sanjay Dutt. Cash is a follow up; it is based on market demand. Also since Dus was only my first action film I realized I could do better action films now so to actually test it, I made Cash.


 


However, these are not the only kind of films I want to be known for. I prefer intense drama more than action. I haven’t attempted it yet but I am planning to make a film on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. I want to make films, which may highlight an emotional or political issue but not necessarily a social issue.


 


I am now going to start making films that appeal to me. They will not be based on any sort of requirement.< Page Break >


 


So is Cash something that appealed to you, or is it the market and audience demand that led you to make it?


Cash did appeal to me. While shooting Dus I realized on location that I could have done a lot of sequences in a better way, but since I was not geared to do an action film, I could not make it better. In Cash I have been able to project better action than Dus.


 


The next film after Cash is again an action film, which will complete the trilogy of action films. While doing Cash I just thought that even the action on Cash could be bettered and that is what I am attempting to do in Chase. It is a very big action film being made on a budget of Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) with three new boys.


 


Can you elaborate a bit on Chase?


Chase is going to be the biggest action film ever made in India. The three new boys that I am launching are a top secret. I will also be signing a leading actress and a villain from Europe. The film will go on floors in Rome around September / October. The film is about money.


 


Now that you have made two action films like Dus and Cash, where do you think do action films stand currently as compared to Hollywood and how has it come off age?


Firstly, it is not fair to compare our action films with Hollywood action films, for the simple reason that we are smaller in terms of resources. Their action films have a budget of $100 million and our action films are Rs 200 million.


 


Maybe it’s reasonably fair to compare our drama films with theirs, but not action and sci-fi films. Hollywood is far ahead of us also because they are better equipped and their way of functioning is systematic, they get into production only once they are ready, unlike us.


 


So within the frontier of Bollywood, have actions films grown?


Action has become more stylish, bigger and technique savvy. Bollywood is in its growth phase at present. In the past one year a lot of things have changed at a very dramatic pace and this pace is only gain momentum. Very soon we will see our mainstream films also being redefined.< Page Break >


 


You were present at Cannes this year, how was the experience?


We at Seven Entertainment are making a whole lot of films and the idea is to sell it to the whole world. We were present at Cannes with a huge slate of films. Aditya Bhattacharya (director Raakh), who is directing a couple of films for us was also present. We were there to explore the possibilities to sell these films.


 


Three films are ready – Cash, Kabootar and Butterfly Chase and 20 are under production.


 


What is Butterfly Chase about?


The film is directed by Jahanu Baruha. It is a political – social film about terrorism from the point of view of a child.


 


Your films are being produced under both ASP White and Seven Entertainment. How do you divide the films?


ASP White is producing my next film Chase. Seven Entertainment is a more active banner now. ASP White existed and will continue to exist for emotional reasons. Seven Entertainment works on a business model; it has a vision and a goal. We want to be the Miramax of the world and not of India. So we have a vision and we are working towards it and it will take years.


 


ASP White will continue to work casually and make one film a year.


 


You have a six film deal with Percept Picture Company, under which Kabootar has been readied, but no further announcements have been made?


The deal has been signed and not canned yet. So, technically the deal is still on. But there is only Kabootar that we have made in alliance with them and there is no other film under production as of now.


 


Kabootar was co-produced with my company ASP White and is a very dark and violent film about five kids in a small town in Rajasthan and how they come to Bombay for Rs 5000. The film is in post production with a few days of work left. We may not release it right after it is ready, the film may release first in New Zealand, Peru and then in India.


 


Some of these films that we are making now may not release traditionally in India. < Page Break >


 


You seem to be trying to strike a balance between mainstream and non mainstream…


As I told you, mainstream is being redefined rapidly. So mainstream is not a bracket that is closed. Mainstream has continuously changed and in the next one year there has been a dramatic change in it.


 


Right now mainstream is being redefined by the audience and it will take another year and half to settle down with the mainstream.


 


What is happening with Airport, which was to be made with K Sera Sera?


I was supposed to direct Airport for them but somehow the whole cast did not fall into place at the right time.


 


I waited for a year for Airport to happen, but now I have become busy with Chase.


 


The film is not canned. We have a script and some actors and keen on working. The project was started with K Sera Sera so morally; if not technically and legally it belongs to them. Since it was started with them, K Sera Sera’s Parag Sanghvi has the first right of refusal.


 


You also have a 12 film deal with Moser Baer.


We just signed up with Moser Baer three months back and we will start our first film soon.


 


So apart from Moser Baer and Percept are you also in talks with T-Series for any films?


T-Series is home turf so there are always talks with Bhushan Kumar. There are times when we sit and talk about a Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) film and other times when we sit and talk about a Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million) film.


 


Since you have so many deals you ought to have bank of scripts…


Yes, we have a bank of approximately 35 scripts, which are in various stages of drafting. One way of starting a production house is that you think of the idea, go the press and then go the floors and start shouting from the roof top. But since the past one and a half year my team of eight people has been reading, writing and looking for directors, music directors etc.


 


We have been trying to set up the whole platform because we understood the magnitude of what we were attempting, which is quite unprecedented. So we knew this would require a lot of preparation. There was no point in talking about it until the time is right.


 


Now I feel we are getting there where we can start telling people about what we plan to do.


 


So your small and medium budget films are going to be taken care of by Moser Baer but what about the big budget films?


For our big budget film that is due to go on floors soon we have a tie up with Adlabs. For the other films Moser Baer is there. We are in talks with another corporate house for our other bigger films.


 


We are launching three actors in Chase, and all these three actors are under contract with us. They will have six films releasing right after Chase. So within a span of a year or a year and a half they will have seven releases each. So these are the films that need tie ups.


 


Besides that we have finalized three international co-productions, which include an Indo-French film, Indo Italian and Indo American film. These are not Bollywood centric films, they are world centric films.< Page Break >


 


You had signed director Vikram Bhatt to direct films for you, but now that he has started his production under ASA Films, does the contract still stand?


Yes, he will direct for us. It is a common phenomenon worldwide that film makers get together to make films.


 


Which other films are going to go on floor now?


A film tentatively titled Fungama, which stars Chunky Pandey, Shamita Shetty, Vijay Raaz, Rahul Vaid, Yashpal Sharma, Mukesh Rishi, Manoj Pahwa. It is a fun film and is being directed by Pankaj Advani. Advani’s first film was Sunday for CFSI that won him a national award but never got released. So this is practically his first film.


 


Since you are currently dealing with a lot of corporates and will continue to do so for a long time, what do you think are the advantages?


Everything comes with facets. The advantages are that you are dealing with clean money and organized people. But then there are a lot of emails and unnecessary meetings and a lot of unnecessary intellectualization of the moment (Laughs).


 


But it’s okay and is a better way of doing it. Of the two sides that I have seen, this is a much better way of doing it; there are fewer guns and more files.


 


Everything that happens in Hollywood studios will happen here. There will be a studio that will bring in the money and infrastructure for releasing the films; a production house that will make the film and directors who will be associated in terms of a contract with either the production house or the studio. So there will be three entities that are going to co-exist – studios, production houses and professionals. This is how it works in Hollywood and this is how it will work here.

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