Films | Artist Interviews | ABHAY DEOL – PROMOTING ‘SHANGHAI’ AT TIFF

ABHAY DEOL – PROMOTING ‘SHANGHAI’ AT TIFF

Posted by barkha on September 12, 2012 | No Comments

He comes from a film family. But that is probably the only conventional thing about Abhay Deol. From his choice of films to act, to the kind of films he has put together, to his mannerism, there is something refreshingly “non conventional” in Abhay.  The whiff of an intelligent person is apparent in his acting, but the intelligence hits you when you interact with him. Lets hope for the continuing success of Independent Indian cinema.  Here we talk to the actor during TIFF:

What propelled you towards ‘New Age Cinema’? Was it a conscious decision to work in ‘off beat films’.

I would call those films “non – formula, since lets face it, movies are made for an audience. I suppose growing up I saw cinema from all over the world, so that clearly influenced me. So I always wanted to explore a lot in cinema. Also change is happening very fast, when my debut film Socha Na Tha came out in 2005, change was happening then too, but not so rapidly. So I was able to connect with some similar mindset filmmakers and just took a chance.

What is the deciding factor for you to sign on a project?

The story has got to appeal first, and the resultant script. Then I need to also feel comfortable with the Director. The producer also should be aware of what they are doing. I guess I would be more open to first time directors, than an inexperienced producer.  It is just such a critical part of the whole process, experienced producing is.

On your decision to produce films?

Mainly to protect my films. I felt that some of the films I did, were not marketed and distributed to the right audience and with a lot of thought. I wanted to change that. The actors and the director had done their job, but I felt a lot of producers were considering a project based on how much money was on the table, then they would write the story, then they would make the film. That approach is not something I am ready to agree with. I want to associate with movies that are being made for the right reasons, they are being sold for the right reasons. I did films for example, where the promos are cut in such a way that it is totally, not what the film is about. So the audience sees those promos and comes to see the film, and they are disappointed, but that is not their fault, they have been given an incorrect message, from the promos, to what they are seeing unfold in front of them.  So in order to protect my films from falling in that strategy, is why I decided to take on the production mantle.

What are your upcoming projects?

There is Chakravyuh coming out in October.

Your film ‘Shanghai’ is being screened in TIFF. What are your expectations from this festival, considering it has  had a commercial release and was well received both by the critiques and masses?

It is very prestigious for us to be in TIFF and to also experience it first hand. Also to get the audience reaction to our film, which has already been a success in India. Also I think, through TIFF, we will be able to reach out to additional kinds of audiences and it just feels great to be here.

Abhay Deol And Dibakar at TIFF 2012

Is India your ultimate landscape or are you looking for a playground in the West as well ?

India and Mumbai cinema is definitely my landscape. I am happy being in Mumbai and doing Mumbai cinema. Although having said that we have few distributors in India and even these few tend to believe that the NRI audience want to only see formula films, which I don’t believe is entirely true. I think the NRI audience are as open to seeing non formula films coming out of India, if they are provided an opportunity to view these films.  Since my work has been a lot of non formula films, I think the landscape for me then becomes both India and outside. So as a producer I would definitely seek out to showcase my films in festivals and that is also why I tend to travel abroad a lot. As an actor, sure if something good comes my way, I would do it. But to be getting roles consistently, I guess one would have to move to LA or the West, for an extended period of time. That is not something I am ready to do right now.

Is the Indian audience warming up more to the non formula kind of films?

The Indian audience is definitely changing. That is because of a number of factors, the better economy, people are travelling a lot more and their exposure is wider. The current generation is a lot different from even the generation of the 90’s, as an example. Change happens as a process. And this process has picked up pace. Like even in 2005, as I had mentioned, change was slow, not any more. Change is also difficult, since people get comfortable in their space and they want to be they way they are, but it is certainly going in the direction of a change, which is great. I don’t think the formula has completely gone, but one sees a lot of different films emerging in the landscape now.

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