By Haricharan Pudipeddi
Chennai, Nov 30:
An innovative marketing strategy is needed to take independent films to the audience, feels debutant filmmaker Amit Masurkar, who awaits the release of his forthcoming indie comedy “Sulemani Keeda”.
“The reason why it’s difficult for a film like ‘Sulemani Keeda’ to release is because marketing and distribution teams have a set pattern to promote films. And when you get a film like ‘Sulemani Keeda’, they don’t know how to promote it because it needs to be innovatively marketed,” Masurkar told IANS.
“In that case, they have to change their style of functioning but big studios are resistant to change. You need a very dynamic marketing company for releasing and distributing films like ours,” he added.
He also said that for the change to happen, films like “Sulemani Keeda” have to commercially do well.
But hasn’t the success of “The Lunchbox” and “Ship of Theseus” helped?
“It has, but to be honest, distributors go by figures. I’m sure it (success) has helped us creatively. For example, I was in Europe last year at a film festival, and everybody there spoke about a Bollywood film they saw. When I asked them, they said it was ‘The Lunchbox’, which has done phenomenal business overseas,” he said.
“‘Ship of Theseus’, on the other hand, pushed the envelope subject-wise. The very fact that there was an audience for these films and they were actually talking about it on social media proved that there’s market for different content, regardless of what traditional distributors and studio marketing people feel. But indie films have to tapped in a new way,” he added.
“Sulemani Keeda”, which releases in Indian cinemas Dec 5, is about two writers who want to make it big in Bollywood.
Masurkar, who has worked as a writer on “Murder 3”, says the film is “based on the journey of this generation of scriptwriters I’m growing up with”.
“If you go to the area in Mumbai where this film is shot, you’ll find so many coffee shops with people discussing about films. I really liked this idea of people with so many stories.”
“My film is about them, about their dreams and their journey. Lot of incidents and characters in my film are based on so many people I’ve heard about in this industry,” he said.
He also clarified that his film is not a tribute to aspiring writers.
“It’s just a story about friendship. It could’ve been set in any industry, but the only reason I’ve set it against the backdrop of film industry is because I’m familiar with it. And I was aware that nobody had made a film on writers, so I made it,” he added.
Sparkling with quirky comedy, “Sulemani Keeda”, according to Masurkar, has been made “the exact way we wanted to make it”.
“I’ve always wanted to be a director and I felt I could write a couple of successful stories to earn my break, but I spent about five years of my life writing scripts that never got made. That’s when I decided that I should make something in shoestring budget that doesn’t need any studio backing,” he said.
Masurkar, who has also dabbled in “The Great Indian Comedy Show”, says it’s “extremely tough to write and direct comedy”.
“When you are writing comedy, you’re always unsure whether it’s really funny for everyone or just for the writer. And there’s always this temptation of writing something just because it’s funny. This is something I completely avoided in my film,” he added.
Starring Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari and Aditi Vasudev, “Sulemani Keeda” is that rare indie with two songs.
“The songs actually helped us enhance what we were trying to say in a particular scene. They have been used to push the story forward, unlike the way Indian films use them,” he said.