"It is certainly not in Rs. 100 crores range as is being said out there", fumes Anil Sharma who last saw such comments working inversely for his Sunny Deol starrer The Hero, "It's completely untrue. People just come up with certain imaginative figures but the real fact is something that the makers know best. Rest assured, Veer isn't as costly as some people want to believe."
His comments come with a fair reason. When released, The Hero was touted as a Rs. 50 crores film. Since it was his next release after Gadar - Ek Prem Katha, there was nothing less expected from The Hero. The film did quite well at the box office but since it couldn't match up to the kind of response that Gadar - Ek Prem Katha had, it was labelled as an under performer.
"This entire Rs.50 crore talk was a publicity stunt which backfired on us", says Sharma, "Considering half the film was shot in Manali, how could the production costs have been so massive? The budget was quite minimal actually and the film was completed in Rs. 22-23 crores. I am even willing to share the breakdown with you where the director and the actor were paid 8 crores. You tell me, where would the remainder Rs.40 odd crores have been spent?"
Unwilling to mince any words, he continues, "Just because Gadar did such huge business, this entire stunt around Rs. 50 crores budget was played up by the makers. It was all so wrong because this trend seems to be catching up even till date. It does more harm than good. In fact you people from media should also ask a question asking where did the money go? Filmmakers say that their film was made in a certain budget and everyone just trusts them blindly. But they say that, so that the film gets sold on a higher figure, however, you should also challenge such astronomical amounts before printing anything."
Meanwhile, Sharma is also pained by his long wait for awards. It's a known fact that in spite of being the biggest blockbuster of modern times (before 3 Idiots came in), Gadar - Ek Prem Katha didn't fetch a single major award for itself in spite of finding a nod of approval from the paying public.
"It is a known fact that Gadar is one of the 3-4 major movies that have come from India. It is one of the biggest blockbusters and has got me so much respect over the years. Also remember that there were no multiplexes in those times. In fact even till date, the Mumbai record for the film hasn't been broken. I am sure that if released today, the film would have done the business of Rs.100 crores just in Mumbai territory. People get excited even till date when it comes on TV", says Sharma who continues to be perplexed about the step motherly treatment that the film got at all the award functions.
"Yes, the film didn't get awards because producers (Zee) didn't pursue much", ponders Sharma, "But then this is a kind of trend that we have seen over the years when it comes to blockbusters. Even Mughal-E-Azam and Sholay didn't get many awards on their release even though they stay on to be the biggest blockbusters ever. I guess the only blockbuster which has got massive mass and class acclaim is Mother India."
Reflecting on the state of affairs, Sharma says, "Award organisers are the ones to be blamed for their wrong judgement since they just don't seem to be in sync with what audience likes. In fact media should also highlight this fact. I mean isn't it strange that Gadar didn't win a single award in the popular category when it was creating a havoc across the country? So what's the definition of 'popular' in this case?"
It appears that Sharma is continuing to hold a grudge even though close to a decade has passed by since the release of Gadar. "Oh yes, I certainly do have a grudge", Sharma lets his emotions run high here, "When public got what the film was all about, then why not jury? Did we not deserve a few awards? This is why people like Aamir are right in not going for awards functions at all."
Filmmaker Anil Sharma is exasperated. Even though his Veer has opened well at the box office, there are questions being raised around its expected eventual box office outcome, courtesy it's heavy budget. Though the film is undeniably set on a huge scale and has an extravagant look and feel to it, Veer - as per Anil Sharma - isn't really carrying a mega expensive multi crore budget tag as is being perceived.