I am often asked why I didn’t do it earlier. Venturing into production, that is. Time and again, friends, colleagues, even the media have thrown this poser at me. They all say that when actors and directors are becoming independent producers, why not me?
Well, I began my career in 1989, as an editor with Taaqatwar. In the two decades that followed, I have made over 40 films, an average of two releases a year. And mind you, making two films a year is no easy task especially when you are making them for the best banners and working with A-list actors. The job keeps you on your toes 24×7. Meetings, planning schedules, writing scripts, narrating subjects to stars, executing shoots, deciding on scenes and dialogue and then handling post-production work is enough to keep a director busy throughout the year. It’s a lot of work even if you’re making one film a year.
I had five releases in 1997– Banarasi Babu, Judwaa, Hero No 1, Deewana Mastana and Mr & Mrs Khiladi. Phew! And I did not want to add to the chaos by turning producer. I wanted to focus on one thing and I was happy doing that. Also, I had seen, first-hand, how getting into production was a huge responsibility, and, given the number of films I was committed to as a director, I couldn’t run the risk of turning producer. I was happy being on the creative side of filmmaking and was enjoying directing.
Now, with sons Rohit and Varun in the film industry, I can finally think of starting my own production house. If Rohit takes on the mantle as a director, and Varun plays the lead, I can channelise my energies and look after projects as a producer. I am seriously thinking on these lines. Besides, since I was the only member of my family in the film industry, I did not want to bite off more than I could chew at the time. Now, with my entire family involved with films, it is easier to launch my home banner.
It also makes it easier to cut deals with corporate houses. With your in-house team to assemble a project and with the backing of a corporate house, it would be a win-win situation. After mutually working out terms and conditions, projects can be launched with corporate houses on a partnership basis and the profits can be split evenly.
Once you start your own production house, you have to be very careful about many things – finances, budgets and the project itself. But the one thing I am going to be especially particular about is scripts. I have discussed this with Rohit too. Script pe dhyan do. Pay attention to the script. As a father and a producer, I would want my team to work very hard on the script. Another aspect that needs to be handled with kid gloves is budgets, and I have discussed this too with Rohit. I am determined to complete my films within their budgets and not indulge in wasteful expenditure, on elements that lend superficial appeal but do not touch the core of my subject.
I have completed Chashme Baddoor and am busy with its post-production. Once the film releases, I will start my own production house. But I want to fulfill one wish before that – to direct Varun. Mind you, it will be an absolutely professional deal, and I won’t be swayed by emotions while working with him. Only professionalism on the sets.