When a 20-year-old Tejas Padia left tiny Mahuva in Gujarat to come to Mumbai, he lived within modest means making pencil sketches of actors and presenting it to them. His meagre means led him to take penny pinching a step further and make a film that cost him absolutely nothing.
If Padia manages to release the 90-minute Lo Ho Gayi Party in theatres, it could potentially be Bollywood's first zero-budget film. The filmmaker has not paid any one who contributed to the film in any way. "Not to the actors, not to the support crew, not even to the stationery shopkeeper from whom I took pen and paper to write the script or to the guy from whom I bought the digital tape to shoot the film on," Padia told TOI.His inspiration to go zero-budget was to show that money isn't what makes Bollywood go round, while no one bats a proverbial eyelid at the multi-crore budgets that are a norm these days. "Even if my movie runs for a few shows, it would make profits as there is no investment at all. The story idea came rushing to me. Once I finished writing the screenplay, I showed it to my friends who found it simplistic, yet entertaining," the now 29-year-old explained to TOI.
So with a borrowed PD 170 video camera and equipment, TV artists and theatre actors who paid for their own costs, Padia set out to shoot the story of 5 middle-class friends who meet up one night to celebrate their grand new acquisition - a second hand car - over a couple of drinks. The film rides on its purported comedy of errors when one of the drunk friends test drives into the building secretary's car. A house in Ghatkopar he borrowed from the Mehtas who live there (and who sometimes provided the crew with tea and food) became the set.
The charity case film even features Satish Kaushik and Manoj Joshi who, obviously, charged Padia nothing for their appearances. Padia even managed to shoot a song at Carter Road for the film.
Wonder if Padia would be interested in not charging the audience for braving his valiant first venture.