My film, his film
Squabbles between producer and director are increasing. Communication is the solution, say both sides. Diganta Guha and Arindam Chatterjee report.entertainment Updated: May 31, 2007 20:00 IST
Cheesy, melodramatic sagas are being played out by agitated producers and disgruntled directors with increasing frequency.
Producer-director Karan Johar has encouraged young filmmakers under his Dharma Productions banner, but he's also had clashes of will with protégés like Nikhil Advani and Soham.
More recently, producer Bipin Vohra and director Goutam Ghose fell out over budgetary problems on Yatra.
In the Hindi film industry, ego clashes are part of the landscape. Advani, allegedly miffed that his debut film Kal Ho Naa Ho was promoted more as Johar's production, moved on to a new producer for Salaam-e-Ishq.
Similarly, Ram Gopal Varma was so upset with James' director Rohit Jugraj that he decided to remake the same film as Shiva.
"It depends on the status of the director," says Anil Nagrath, secretary, Indian Motion Pictures Association, adding, "If there's a big director the producers won't intervene. But when it's a youngster and there's lots of money at stake, most won't shy away from involving themselves."
Some producers manage to be on happy terms with their directors. Yash Raj Films' Aditya Chopra is known to be involved in his productions but there have been no clashes of will with Siddharth Anand who has directed two films under the banner.
"You have to work with them to know the truth," says Anand.
Although most producers and directors are tight-lipped about incidents from the past, they also believe it can serve as a lesson for the future.
"I guess more interaction is required. Mutual respect could help camaraderie," says director Anjan Das, who cast Yash Pandit and Manjari Fadnis in Faltu because of his producer.
"Producer Arindam Chaudhuri had a commitment to keep… and I respected that. Generally, my producers and I figure out the details during scripting but also keep in mind excesses that can crop up during production," adds Das.
Production houses like UTV, Vishesh Films and Mukta Arts have a more corporate structure with a clear-cut division of labour, something that directors prefer. Says Anurag Basu, who has worked with both Vishesh and UTV, "I've had just a few sessions with UTV for Life In A Metro and everything was discussed right then."
Director Subrata Sen feels some leeway on finances is necessary. "It takes a combined effort to make a film. So suggestions can come from any quarter during shoots.
"It's up to the director to see what he wants to incorporate. The producer's involvement is equally important since he can take care of matters like buying raw stock during production," says Sen.
Ashok Dhanuka is one such producer.
"I'm like a production boy... I try to take care of the artistes… talk to the director to know about the following day's schedule. The director should only worry about the film he is making. I am a producer not a financier," says Dhanuka.
Both Dhanuka and producer Bijoy Khemka feel directors should understand the economics. "Some directors get selfish; they seek fame at the cost of the producer. The relationship between the producer and the director should be practical," says Khemka.
Sen points out, "Ultimately, producers too want to create a good film where the banner gets highlighted… they want the film to win awards," he adds.
Deepak Bajaj, who produced Iti Srikanta, seconds that, "I didn't want a run-of-the-mill film. The film did well at the National Awards."