Being a very successful Bollywood producer, Guneet Monga in conversation with Business of Cinema explains her journey of upcoming movie ‘Haraamkhor’ . She talks about the struggle of the team in order to deliver this ‘different’ cinema on screen. Let’s see what she has to say about the film we all are eagerly waiting for!
How does it feel to be one of the very few successful women producers of Bollywood?
Thank you for saying that. I don’t think I own this title (laughing), it has not been a simple journey. It has been 4 years now that we are working for the release of this film. Took us 2 years to finance it, and then in 1 year we fought the censor battle, so it’s been a long journey. All I know is we are committed people and we want to continue doing it .
You were born in Delhi and pursued Mass communication from IP university , how did film industry attract you ?
I did mass communication and I started working with my best friend’s mother in delhi. I was her assistant intern and I worked on international films and it was great . It was great , good people , good place and from there I started in production.
Having made successful films like Gangs of Wasseypur and The Lunchbox , what made you produce Haraamkhor ?
Actually it’s a really tough story told in a very delicate manner. Its about a 14 year kid and a 35 year old teacher told by the view point of 3 kids like you can see it in the trailer.
Having seen the trailer of the movie , there is a lot of homour in the film . how do you manage to inculcate humour in an entirely different genre?
All the credit goes to Shlok Sharma . He is an incredible talented gifted filmmaker. I think its been a bunch of people, we all have worked with him and there is a collective effort . Really tough story , very delicately told in a very light hearted manner and that is why the film won MAMI (Mumbai academy of moving images ) and was awarded and when they were awarding it they said it’s a winner and the story is told in a way that is just so genius.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui , we all know is a tremendous actor. What made you cast him for Haraamkhor?
Anurag and Nawazuddin worked together in Gangs of wasseypur and that’s when shlok told him the story and he agreed to work with us and not the other way around. He is a gifted talented actor yeah I think he is the best actor we have in the country and he is translated into big films , he is translated into small films because he is the best actor and his journey has been incredible . This is something no one can take away from him.It has been because of him that we have been able to do the film and we have got the stars and the moon because we had him. This is the reason We finished the movie in 16 days .
How was Shweta Tripathi casted for the film?
Shweta was the assistant casting director and she had already acted in the Tv shows. she is an incredible actor and she is very intelligent. She did a lot of research and therefor it was the perfect blend when she was taken for the role in the film.
Haraamkhor was shot in 16 days . That’s incredible . How did you manage it ? Was it pre planned or it just happened?
That is how independent films are done. We did not know releasing will take us 3 years . It was not expected . we thought things have been happening so everything will fall in place and we will be able to release it . We havae come this far. During the shoot we were very confident that we will pull it off but then it did translate into the certificate. I really think if you want to make an independent film , tell a different story, you have to work very hard . we have outfunded this film, there are 10 investors and not a single investor who has put all the money . We have taken post production money as a grant and we have actually crowdfunded this film on facebook.
We went a mile ahead, we were thinking we are experimenting , experimenting is not the right word for Bollywood. We were doing something new and we did everything but got stuck into censor which we did not expect . They simply said ‘inko toh certificate hi nahi milna chahiye’ and recently, last week only we got the judgement and now its U/A because its educational. The struggle of 4 years has been totally worth it , the movie trailer is on #1 trending since last 48 hours on youtube and we are already in profit. We made it out of nothing . If you want to do something new , with a new director just do it. There is no shame, you should just go ahead and do it . Otherwise we ll only be able to sit in our drawing rooms and talk about the reasons of why it cant be done .
A producer has a lot of mixed feelings while the film is being made . what kind of feelings did you happen to go through ?
We were the kings of the world. Firstly we shot on 16mm , one of the last films which was shot on 16mm . we were proud of ourselves like we are the shit. It does not get better than us and then we could not release the film and it took us so long that the whole industry around us changed . but then we thought lets release it and when we won MAMI we were like we will release it because the same way some people told us people would not see lunchbox but after getting the award I thought of just finding the money to release the movie and went to the censor directly after we wont he case and now we are releasing it . We all need to coexist in this industry on different platforms , everything cannot be compared to what there is . You know its so hard for a first time director to go through all of this but winning MAMI encouraged to make this happen. I hope this encourages more people . and for everyone who thinks it was easy for us , no it was not . now it feels that the whole universe is aligning and the time is right.
Your movies are highly appreciated globally , but when it comes to Indian censor board you faced a lot of problems getting it certified. What are your views about the same ?
They should approve and not cut the scenes and give censor. They should just give the certificate. Ye film hai and itna audience from our country can see the film. That is what censor board does around the world. In the day and age of internet , kya chupaenge. Aisa kya hai jo duniya nahi dekh pa rahi hai in 2016. Kuch karna hai toh piracy band karo , kahi aur apni
What would be your message for the audiences who are waiting eagerly for the movie to release on 13th Jan’2017?
Just go and have a blast. Can’t wait for people to see it. Just go and watch it. There are people who really want to see the film but there are gatekeepers who does not let that happen. Let’s just exist!