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A chit chat with Sameer Hanchate

 
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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Now this is a true tale of being there till the end for something that you really believe in. Sameer Hanchate wrote, produced and directed his film Gafla and went through lots of financial crises to get the film made. Finally his hard-work has paid off and the film will see the light of day today. On the day of the release of the film, IndiaFM spoke to him about his trials and tribulations and more.

Gafla was in the making for a long time. How was the ordeal?
It wasn't in production for a long time. However, yes, it was in the making in terms of conceptualization and scripting. Research lasted for 6 months and scripting lasted for a year. But production started on 14 September last year and went on for about 40 days. My film was ready in May. It hasn't been a very long time. After the final print was ready I was in process of finding a proper distributor.

How did the idea of film come to you?
The stock markets scams in the last 10-15 years are a known fact. What is interesting is that this is a phenomenon that has occurred and recurred. Stock markets may not be as popular as cricket in out country but are definitely popular among investors. The stock markets are the financial parameters of the country. What is surprising is that this dramatic world of the stock market has never been explored on Indian celluloid.

Tell us about the film
It is a fictional film with bites from reality. It's a rag to riches story of an ordinary man who comes to Bombay. From the various options available to him he chooses the path of the stock market. His journey in the market is what the film is all about.

Is it based on the real life of Harshad Mehta?
It is a completely fictional film with fictional characters. The whole film is fictional.

But you said that there are bites of reality in it?
I won't say that there are bites from reality but would say that they are inspired from reality. When I was researching and scripting, all the facts that happened in the last 15 years was my reference point. So that becomes your sketch book and helps you develop your project.

How did you finalize the cast?
Casting took some time. Initially it was only me who tried to bring out the best possible option. I wanted to have stars in the film but unfortunately that didn't work out because it's difficult for a first timer to get stars. Because I couldn't get stars, I couldn't get a producer. After a certain point I decided to produce it on my own. So being the producer the casting option was completely up to me. So it gave me an opportunity to cast actors who are experienced in the field of television and theatre. I worked really really closely with the actors and their performances.

Are there any songs in the film?
There are two songs in the film. One is a song Bade Shehar which opens with the film. The song colours the ambition and emotions in an urban setup. It talks about our dreams and how we follow them and how crazy we are about them. The second song is the title song of the film which comes in the climax of the film. That song talks about the irony of our life and how in some small way we are initiators of scams.

 You apparently had a tough time in selling the film? Is it true you had to sell or mortgage your property?
I had to face a lot of financial obstacles. Not to get the film released but to get the film made and then trying to find the right distribution network. Now ADLABS is supporting my project all over India and I am distributing on my own.

What is your target audience for the film?
The target audience is anybody and everybody who has discussed various scams pertaining to the stock market. Though the investor's community will be very interested in watching the film, it is not just about them. Apart from them it is also for people who wish to know about the stock market. That becomes an investment option for them in the future. The community has been growing through leaps and bounds over the years which is why we see the SENSEX rising and volumes of trade growing. The awareness of the common man in the last few years has grown over many levels.

In the absence of star-value and an unconventional theme, do you think your film will work commercially?
The way I look at it - if a film does well at the box-office then it is a commercial film. If it doesn't do well then it can be labeled as an art film or a niche film. With the way people are viewing films nowadays, they look at films which have interesting stories and which evoke curiosity and intrigue. I hope it will be appreciated by viewers all over.

What is more important - critical acclaim or commercial success?
Both! I think it is important for any film-maker to exhibit ones work and try and take the next step forward.

 You assisted Ghai on Yaadein. What did you learn from him? It was a great experience working with Subhash Ghai and Mukta Arts. It was a very large and vast setup. Later I worked with Vidhu Vinod Chopra who comes from a different school of thought. So I was fortunate enough to work with two of the finest directors in the country.

In what capacity were you associated with Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Fifth Move? Tell us something about that film. It was announced long back but still hasn't progressed.
I won't be able to comment on that. The latest updates can only come from Chopra's office. Later Chopra got busy with Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and I got busy with Gafla.

Topics: Sameer Hanchate

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