Filmmaker Dipesh Jain made his Bollywood debut with highly acclaimed film Gali Guleiyan recently. The film, Dipesh and lead actor, Manoj Bajpayee received great praises from everyone who watched it at film festivals. However, sadly the film couldn’t receive a warm response in theatres.
Gali Guleiyan also known as In The Shadow released at the Indian Box Office on 7th September after a lot of struggle. But it was still a very small release because cinemas didn’t give it space the space it deserved.
In an exclusive interview with Glamour Alert, Dipesh Jain talks about his struggles to release Gali Guleiyan for the audience, his next film and lots more.
It’s your Bollywood directorial debut. Tell us about the struggles you faced to provide it a theatrical release?
I have experienced two challenges, two phenomenon when it comes to a theatrical release –
– firstly, there’s a big fight with the distributors and cinemas to get good showcasing of the film in cinemas, appropriate number of shows and screens and decent length of play (not just one week). Some films take time to pick up even with word of mouth. Lack of cinemas and competition from so many films releasing every week, the entire pressure is on first Friday or that weekend at the most. Even though we had the best reviews and great word of mouth, our film was a slow pick up (the film is almost first of it’s kind in Bollywood, so we are creating a fresh demand for something new and unique and need time). But there’s no time. First weekend or you are out. Imagine a film like SHOLAY releasing in today’s time. The film will be labelled a flop instantly and out of theaters in week 1.
Present system of distribution is killing cinema as it only allows your formulaic films a decent chance to run and pick up at the BO.
I also feel the ticket prices should lower so watching films in cinema is not a luxury for the elite. Cinema watching is a communal activity and we should encourage mass viewings by making pricing work for everyone.
– secondly, I would like to place responsibly on the audience as well. People here make a big deal about not getting good cinema/stories, and when we give them such films, they don’t show up to cinemas. They want to wait for film to come out on Netflix/Amazon. Our audience, the ones who demand good cinema, is not loyal anymore. They are always looking at alternate options. They have to realize that their consumption culture where they don’t make such cinema watching a priority in their leisure budget – such cinema will cease to exist. The fight to bring good films to audience can’t be fought alone. If consumers won’t show a demand, supply will end. Simple economics. Netflix and Amazon are not an alternative for cinemas. Cinematic films must be experienced on big screen.
Do Box Office numbers matter for you?
A. Yes and No. I’m not in the game of mad numbers where value of art is reduced to a mere number. This race to reach a certain crore club, I think it’s useless. I used to be an accountant and I know very well there’s a difference between price and value of something. Films are also business – so as long as the BO and other revenue streams recover money for the investors with some decent returns, I’m happy. I won’t set out to make anything with an intention to hit a target number.
How it felt when Manoj Bajpayee received IFFM Award for Best actor? Do you expect some mainstream awards for the film?
I was supremely happy about Manoj sir winning all the awards. He has surpassed the best of the best in acting with his role in our film. Such acting has not been seen in Indian cinema which is typically very dialogue centric. Those nuances and silences, changing voice quality, performing through body language is par excellence. I keep telling him Daniel Day Lewis does this. And the fact critics, people and awards are acknowledges it only makes him and I very happy. It was a risk, this role, which paid off. We will apply for all awards we can qualify for, without any expectation.
Do you plan to get the film released on OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon?
What’s your next project or anything that you are working on currently?
A STONE’S THROW AWAY – a political drama – whose casting is going on LA (the leads in the film will be Hollywood /British Actors). Another project is a series which is currently in development. We plan to pitch it to HBO/Netflix soon.
Pick the best amongst these two Bollywood actors. Shah Rukh Khan or Manoj Bajpayee?
Sorry, I don’t like to rank artists. The script is always the supreme and everyone is below it – merely serving the story.
OK last one, Kangana Ranaut or Alia Bhatt?
Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Totally depends on the story and if they are cast well for that role.