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Anubhav Sinha has seen a great kick-start for his film Kabootar which was premiered last week in the competition category at Osian's Cine Fan, New Delhi. If a stunned audience response followed by a standing ovation was not good enough for his production which has debutant Maqbool Khan at the helm of direction, Kabootar now has another feather up its sleeves. It has won Govind Namdeo, one of the key protagonists from the film, an award for the Best Actor. No wonder Anubhav Sinha and Maqbool Khan are exhilarated with the response their film has got and are now geared up to travel with the film across the globe in numerous other film festivals.
Says Anubhav Sinha who is quite happy with the way his film has been received by media as well as audience, "Kabootar is my first production while for Maqbool Khan too, this is his first film where he has gone independent as a director. He has been with me for last so many years but taking complete responsibility as a director is a different experience altogether. Same holds good for me as a producer and together, for both of us, it was breaching into a completely new territory."
Talking fondly about Kabootar and Maqbool, Anubhav goes on to add, "I was sitting with the audience when Kabootar was being screened and felt extremely proud about the film as well as Maqbool when I saw the response of the audience and the world filmmaker's community. There were quite a few national and international directors who saw the film and gave their Thumbs Up to the film."
One could witness the crowd reaction being quite exemplary. "It was an emotionally charged atmosphere. The audience gave us a standing ovation. Some were crying and some were almost on the verge of breaking down (the film has a tragic ending where none of the protagonists survive and meet with a brutal end). No one left the auditorium for as long as 40 minutes and the Q&A session which followed enjoyed a very good participation", continues Anubhav who has come a long way since his ill fated Cash.
Talking more about the 'unprecedented' response that the film has received at the festival, Anubhav informs, "Abofazl Jalili, noted Iranian filmmaker who was also on the jury, mentioned thrice on the stage that Kabootar was his favorite. Coming from a filmmaker of his stature, this was a huge compliment. Overall, it has been a highly satisfying and encouraging time for me."
An award being bestowed upon the movie may have come as an icing on the cake. "Pretty much so", says Anubhav who is glad that Govind Namdeo played the important part of Bhadauria, a Mafioso from the small town Dhaulpur (Rajasthan) where the film is set, "It is a great high to have a newcomer direct a gritty film like Kabootar and an actor win an award for that as well. Now I look forward to what next is in store for all of us as we travel internationally with the film."
Debutant Maqbool Khan continues to be his humble self even as he tries to conceal his excitement over the response that his first film has got and says in a sober tone, "Govindji (Namdeo) has been a huge contributor to Kabootar. His study of the graph which the character follows was so impeccable. On behalf of the team of Kabootar, I can't congratulate him enough for the award he has won."
Was he really counting on awards while making Kabootar? "Not at all", Maqbool is quick to respond, "The film wasn't really made for a festival circuit and it is only incidental that we got an opportunity to bring it at Osian's. There have been quite a few highs I have experienced at the event. Of course, Govindji winning an award is special since it is my debut film."
Talking about the commercial aspects of the film, Maqbool comments, "What really worked for me in a big way was the audience response to the film. There were laughs and silences at just the right spots (the way I had envisioned) while the way crowds reacted to the film was just akin to what one witnesses in a hardcore commercial film. Kabootar was always meant to be a commercial film for the masses and looking at the way audience has warmed up to the film, I am now keeping my fingers crossed for it's theatrical release."
Commercial release for Kabootar is however still a few months away as an early 2009 release timing is being planned for this film which mainly stars youngsters like Ankur Khanna, Harsh Lunia, Vishal Thakkar and Nikhil Yadav.