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'Poor marketing marred Ahista Ahista'

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 13:46 IST
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Director Shivam Nair feels pace and climax have nothing to do with the box-office performance of his directorial debut Ahista Ahista.

"I strongly feel that if Ahista  Ahista had been marketed properly, it'd have got a larger audience. I personally feel we've made a decent film," Nair told IANS.

However, he is happy with the critical acclaim the film has got. "I'm told that even the films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee weren't blockbusters. They got acclaim, so did my film."

Excerpts:

Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee seem to be your inspiration for Ahista Ahista. Aren't they outdated?
Can emotions such as love, warmth, generosity and sacrifice ever be outdated? I've always felt that in our fast-paced living we are losing hold of the most precious emotions.

In Ahista Ahista I saw the simple and honest story of a simple and honest human being. I never thought about the pace and the mood. I just went by the need of the script.

Audiences have rejected the honest character and film
Well, I'm told even the films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee weren't blockbusters. They got acclaim; so did my film. I guess audiences have become impatient with slow-paced films. They want to see films that are edited like ads. 

Soha    Ali Khan plays a runaway girl in Nair's directorial debutAhista Ahista.

But if you look at Iranian cinema, they elaborate on simple situations in simple films. But my favourite is Martin Scorsese. I've used that style in my television serials. Now I'll use it in my future films. I'm doing two thrillers for Shemaroo. Maybe then people won't find my films slow-paced.

It is said that you are unfamiliar with feature-film pacing because you come from TV?
Even the writer Imtiaz Ali of is a product of television. I guess I was too attached to the project to know where I was going wrong. I executed the runaway girl's (Soha Ali Khan) story exactly the way I thought it right.

The other characters like Abhay Deol were supposed to pour energy into the main character's story. I couldn't generate forced energy. I didn't want to make a regular drama. Simplicity is the hallmark of Ahista  Ahista.

The atmosphere of the Jama Masjid area of Delhi seems to have been pushed into the plot?
It is a story set in Old Delhi and we shot on actual location. We therefore had to show the characters who actually live in the area. Ours was a small production and we did what we could within our limited budget. Both very small films and the very big films need proper marketing. No need to state which category we fell into.

Why did you select Soha and Abhay?
Firstly, it was the economics. Then it was dates and the suitability of the actors. Abhay and Soha got emotionally attached with the project. I don't think bigger stars would've given so much of themselves to my project.

Why have you gone for a tragic ending when they don't generally work?
I let the characters flow naturally. I never thought of the repercussions of what I did. I know I've made mistakes in Ahista Ahista. I'll try to rectify them the next time. I don't understand the concept of fast and slow narration. Every film has its own pace.

I strongly feel that if Ahista Ahista had been marketed properly, it'd have got a larger audience. I personally feel we've made a decent film.

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