Grrr… was hyped as India’s first creature flick, which was to be produced by Percept Picture Company’s Horrortainment. The division was launched by PPC last February and dedicated to the horror film genre. Grr…was the first of 10 films planned, to be followed by movies like, 888 (Percept still plans to make this one), 13, Mumbai and Veham among others.
It revolved around a man-eating Royal Bengal tiger from the Sunderbans. The ghostly beast stalked its prey in the darkness of the jungle. Anyone who spotted it, never came back alive. The film was scheduled to go on the floors in June 2009, but the issue of finances cropped up and stopped the wild cat in its tracks.
“Grr… was planned as a small or medium budget song-less film, but eventually, its budget totalled Rs 18 crore. And this was without accounting for the remuneration of the actors. Given that we wanted an A-list cast, headed by Mr Bachchan (Amitabh Bachchan), and plenty of special effects, the cost would have eventually escalated to Rs 28 crore. At almost Rs 30 crore, given the market conditions last year, the project did not appear economically viable,” explains Shailendra Singh, joint managing director, Percept.
Animatrics upped the costs
He rues the decision given that director Priyadarshan and art director Sabu Cyril had wrapped up months of pre-production. The tiger was supposed to be an animated creature given that wildlife protection laws prevent shooting with real animals. “The animatrics also upped the costs,” points out Singh.
It was planned as a creature horror flick along the lines of Jaws. “Fear is maximum when it is unexpected. In the Hollywood classic, you wait for the shark to appear but it showed up only close to the interval. And many a scream rang out in the auditorium when it finally did,” Singh reminds you, adding that his computer-generated tiger too would have kept viewers on the edge. He is still hoping to revive the project, without cutting corners and by covering costs soon.
No remake rights for desi Cujo Singh’s other pet project, a desi adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel, Cujo, also hit a roadblock after he was refused the remake rights. The psychological horror thriller revolved around Donna Trenton, a frustrated suburban housewife whose life is turned upside down after her husband learns about her affair; and her five-year-old son’s best buddy, a Saint-Bernard named Cujo, is bitten by a rabid bat. Singh had hoped to cast a top-ranking actress like Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor in the role of the cheating wife and the terrorised mother.
However, Percept’s Come On Pappu with a chimpanzee in the central role is ready to roll in the coming months. “It was stuck after Akshay Kumar demanded Rs 40 crore,” says Singh. But now that he has found a co-producer, who he doesn’t want to name yet, Singh is optimistic of the film being revived with David Dhawan as the director. |
You wonder who will replace the still ‘expensive’ Akshay Kumar, and Singh sighs that he doesn’t have too many choices. “There is Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan. Irrespective of whom we opt for, the economics have to work,” he asserts. “But I’m hopeful that three years of pre-production will not go waste.