Miffed with critics for panning his Victory, director Ajitpal Mangat alleges that his film was badly treated by reviewers as they disliked cricket and the lead actor Hurman S. Baweja.
"Critics are very important nowadays when watching a film is such an expensive thing. And, I think, a film about cricket should've been reviewed by critics who at least didn't dislike the game," Mangat told IANS in an interview.
"Most reviews are talking about Hurman's performance. There's more to 'Victory' than the leading man's performance. My film shouldn't have been panned just because Hurman's first film didn't do well. You can't poison the audiences' mind against the film," he added.
The debutant director asserted that top-notch cricketers were impressed with the cricket scenes.
"Some critics said the cricket scenes were not shot well. That's not what Yuvraj Singh, Jayasurya and Sachin Tendulkar said," Mangat said.
How much do you think Zoya Akhtar's Luck By Chance affected your film?
Honestly, I thought my film won't get affected because we belonged to different genres. But I was apprehensive about the two heroes (Hurman and Farhan Akhtar) being compared.
You mean because both Hurman and Farhan were doing their post-debut films?
Yes, and compared unfavourably. But for reasons completely unknown to me the critics decided to take off on my film. Why? Because I'm not from the industry and I don't fraternise with big stars?
My film shouldn't have been panned just because Hurman's first film didn't do well. Most reviews are talking about Hurman's performance. There's more to Victory than the leading man's performance. You can't poison audiences' mind against the film.
You're giving too much important to reviewers?
Critics are very important nowadays when watching a film is such an expensive thing. And I think a film about cricket should've been reviewed by critics who at least didn't dislike the game.
So what worked against your film, cricket or Hurman?
I definitely think it was Hurman. Some critics said the cricket scenes were not shot well. That's not what Yuvraj Singh, Jayasurya and Sachin Tendulkar said. I had told Hurman that the critics would be very harsh because I'm an outsider. They hate my lead actor for some reason.
So you think Victory would've been better received without Hurman?
I can't say that. All I can say is I'm happy I chose him. Hurman is a fine actor and he has done the cricket scenes very effectively. Sections decided to hate the film even before seeing it.
Apparently you and Hurman were at loggerheads during the film's making?
Not true at all. We had absolutely no problem with one another. I don't know why my film was punished. I don't belong to a film family. I don't know about the workings of the industry. I thought filmmaking was only about making a film. Whoever has seen Victory has liked it. Unfortunately, not enough people were encouraged to see the film. The critics were terribly harsh on me.
Do you think Luck By Chance was treated too kindly?
I haven't seen Zoya's film. I'm sure she has made a good film. But why was my film rammed? All of us have slogged hard on Victory. Why are you ripping it when I know I've made a good film? Just because my film doesn't have a superstar in the lead? Just because my actors are not media savvy? Just because I'm not close to powerful sections of the industry and don't wine and dine with the who's who?
Whatever the reason, I'm very hurt. I made a film on cricket and we all love the game. So why slam a film on the game?