Faruk Kabir was all set to release Allah Ke Banday, his debut film as director, on November 14. It was a relatively clear week, ideal for a small budget film. But he had not bargained for the censors who insisted that they would pass it with an ‘A’ certificate, only after four cuts.
"They were primarily objecting to four hardcore action scenes that featured kids who were juvenile offenders," says Kabir, admitting that this put him in a fix because the film had been tightly edited and there were no extra shots that could be substituted for.
Eventually, he minimalised the effect in two shots, edited one out and insisted on retaining the fourth. After a second screening, he was able to convince the censors and get a nod from them. But the delay meant that he could not effect delivery on the overseas prints and the release had to be pushed ahead by two weeks.
The film will now be opening with Break Ke Baad, and Kabir admits that it’s a fight for show timings and theatres. In comparison to the Rs 26 crore Imran Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer, Allah Ke Banday, featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Sharman Joshi and Kabir himself, along with the kids, at Rs 5.50 crore, is a "small film". But he is hopeful that his content will speak for him.
Apparently the film’s distributors, PVR, had walked out over the delay. Kabir denies this saying that they are distributing the film in Delhi, UP, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Nizam.
“The only two territories that they let go were Bombay and Kerela. We struck a deal with Bharat Shah’s VIP Enterprises for Bombay, but will be distributing it in Kerala ourselves,” admits Kabir, adding that given the shoestring budget, it was difficult to sustain the promotion and marketing over two weeks. “We are the classic underdogs. But I’m hoping that interest sparked off by the promos and word-of-mouth publicity will help our little big film.”