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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

‘Content is topmost priority for us’

Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times   March 24, 2013
First Published: 09:57 IST(24/3/2013) | Last Updated: 09:59 IST(24/3/2013)

Their team might have won three National Film Awards, but for Vicky Donor’s director, Shoojit Sircar, victory means giving his audience something to reminisce, long after they’ve left the four walls of the movie hall.


“Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’ll make films only to educate the audience. My duty is to entertain them, and I’ll do that while highlighting a social issue. If I can drive home the point, and can give my audience something concrete to take back home, that’s equivalent to an award for me,” says Sircar.

The elated team of Vicky Donor — actor John Abraham (JA Entertainment), producer Ronnie Lahiri (Rising Sun Films), scriptwriter Juhi Chaturvedi and director Shoojit Sircar — were spotted shooting for their upcoming film, Madras Café (a political thriller), in the pristine locales of Kasauli on Friday evening. The film features John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri as protagonists. On Friday evening, the team officially announced the end of their shooting schedule.

“In the film, which is being shot in Sri Lanka and India, John is essaying the role of an intelligence officer,” shared Sircar.

Ask the team about their success mantra for Vicky Donor, and John says, “We, within ourselves, are each other’s critics. There are times when Shoojit turns to Ronnie after a shot; he is his best critic. We all share similar relationships.”

Another factor, they say, that adds on to their successful working is being content driven. “Content is the topmost priority for us, then comes the right characterisation. For instance, I could have played the role of the Punjabi boy in Vicky Donor, but I knew I wouldn’t have done justice to the character. So, we decided to cast Ayushmann,” says John.

Calling Juhi — the scriptwriter for Vicky Donor — their ‘prized possession’, John adds, “Even if Juhi hasn’t written the script for Madras Café — which was written by Somnath Dey and Shubendu Bhattacharya — she has contributed heavily with dialogues.”

Here Juhi chips in by saying, “I don’t want to make it sound like a mutual admiration club, but we work well together because we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But what gives us writers a boost now is that the industry has finally started recognising our talent, which is evident in the scriptwriter’s name being flashed boldly in the credits of the film. This just shows how much our industry is growing.”

Ask the director about the growth of the industry, and in turn, the era of socially-relevant films having finally arrived, and he says, “People are wrong in thinking that Bollywood hasn’t always produced socially-relevant cinema. Take Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron for instance. That movie made a statement like no other, even in 1983.”

The reason for John’s joy
Actor John Abraham, who turned producer with National Award winning film Vicky Donor, shares his excited state of mind by saying, “I am thankful to the jury that they accepted and praised a subject like sperm donation and infertility.

The subject was quite sensitive; Juhi had to be very careful, to not let the movie fall in the ‘cheap’ category. We knew she was the right girl for the job, and she did it splendidly. When I saw the film in first edit, I said ‘It’s like striking gold!’. Apart from the elation, winning a National Award also gives us a lot of responsibility, but I believe Shoojit and our team will pull it off rather well.”

On a parting note, John adds, “Though we are a team, we are open to having new directors and actors on board.”

Upcoming films under JA Entertainment are Banana (by Sajid Ali), Hamara Bajaj and Delhi Shelly Love Shuv.

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