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John was paid for Aashayein

bollywood Updated: Aug 24, 2010 18:42 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Eighteen months, that’s how long it has taken Percept Picture Company to get

Aashayein

to the theatres. Quiz him on the delay and Shailendra Singh, joint managing director, PPC, attributes it to his run-ins with partners, T-Series and Reliance Big Pictures. “When we flagged off the film, John Abraham was a hot commodity and T-Series were keen to collaborate with us on the film. Bhushan Kumar signed a three-film deal with us that included

Aashayein

and another Nagesh Kukunoor directed film,

8 x10 Tasveer

,” informs Singh.



Recession effect


Once the film wrapped up, they got Reliance on board as a marketing and promotional partner. Unfortunately, while they were working out a release strategy, the world was hit by the global slowdown that affected the new-formed partnership too. “Reliance wanted to renegotiate on the deal. We went to court but eventually, worked out an out-of-court settlement to reach a common ground. Today, Reliance is the official global distributor of

Aashayein

and has taken complete ownership of the film,” says Singh. In the interim, T-Series, that since the outset, Singh says, had been putting a lot of pressure on them to make the project more commercially viable, also stepped out as producer and today, is only associated with the film as a music prompter.



Commercial, not social


“T-Series has added two new songs on their own, that were shot after the film wrapped up. It’s a good marketing ploy but it’s not going to change the basic nature of the film,” insists Singh. He asserts that

Aashayein

is a film about relationships, like

Page 3

,

Dor

and the National Award winning

Kanjeevaram

. But he’s quick to add that it’s commercial cinema and not social cinema, as Kukunoor and Abraham have been positioning it.



“John got his full remuneration and so did Nagesh. It was Salman (Khan) and Abhishek (Bachchan) who worked for free for

Phir Milenge

and promoted it too. But I’m confident both John and Nagesh will benefit from this film,” avers Singh.



“Six-packs and bum cracks are great, but at the end of the day, it’s a performance that makes an actor and this is John’s best work yet, like

Phir Milenge

was a career turning point for Shilpa Shetty. As for Nagesh,

Aashayein

will help him reconnect with his audience in the space that he knows best.”



What about Singh as a producer? Will he commercially benefit from a long-delayed film with a Rs 10 crore-plus budget with the usual ‘masala’ elements? Is he banking on Abraham’s market to take him through?



“Except for Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman Khan, I don’t think any star today guarantees an opening. We’re back to the days when content was the king.

Aashayein

fortunately, has a screenplay that is evergreen so I shouldn’t think the delay would affect it. Had it released on schedule, I would have been singing my way to the bank,” he retorts, adding with a laugh. “Even now, if Nagesh and John make good on the statements they have been making in the press, I’d be richer by Rs 4.50 crore before the release. I’d love to do another film with John if the opportunity presented itself. As for Nagesh, he’s family, I love him as a brother. And all three of us have great hiopes from

Aashayein

.”