Just when seasoned filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is all set to “expose the media” through a film comes news that director Atul Pandey is planning to explore the dearth of quality content in the fourth estate.
While Varma's film titled Rann will star known names like Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Rajat Kapoor, Purab Kohli, Manisha Koirala and Gul Panag, apart from many others, Pandey's Jalebi Culture will star newcomers.
Pandey says his film, though on a similar subject, has nothing to do with Varma's take on the media.
“Jalebi Culture is my take on the state of electronic media today. It has nothing to do with Ram Gopal Varma's film on the media. The title of my film is quite intriguing, but very relevant to the current situation. One piece of news keeps going round and round just like the shape of a jalebi (an Indian sweet),” Pandey told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
“I am ashamed to watch any news channel nowadays. There's music, spiritual gurus, yoga teachers, tarot card readers, numerologists, astrologers, supernatural shows. They show everything, but news. I thought it is a good subject for a film,” he added.
With his first film Summer 2007 that starred Gul Panag and Sikander Kher, Pandey had failed to evoke a positive response despite having dealt with a sensitive issue like farmer suicides. But the failure hasn't deterred Pandey from making “issue-based and realistic films”.
“Summer 2007 was not even close to a love story, but it was projected like that. So the audience was also expecting it to be so. It didn't work when the audience realised that the film is about farmers in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and dealt with a serious issue,” shared Pandey.
Irrespective of the fate of Summer 2007 at the box office, he is now happy that the film has been chosen to compete in the Indian Panorama section at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), starting in Panaji November 22.
“Our film was given a very step motherly treatment and we had to bear huge losses after the film's release. But now we are happy with the film and believe it was the right thing to do,” he said.
Apart from Jalebi Culture, Pandey is working on two projects - 73 and Laaton Ke Bhoot. While 73 is an international spy thriller on the global meltdown and will star German, French and Indian actors, Laaton Ke Bhoot is a children's film.
“Laaton Ke Bhoot is about the expanding web of coaching classes and how it takes a toll on a child's education. It is very much a social issue as schools are turning into luxury hotels and tuition centres are extracting thousands of rupees from students,” said Pandey.
According to him, both Jalebi Culture and Laaton Ke Bhoot would be ready for release around the summer next year and 73 might release towards the end of 2009.