Barua explores Bollywood
Jahnu Barua's Butterfly Chase is ready for release, reports Saibal Chatterjee.india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 19:51 IST
His first Hindi-language film in over two decades, the offbeat Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara, may not have exactly catapulted renowned Assamese director Jahnu Barua to the Bollywood big league, but the critically acclaimed feature has certainly widened his horizons, providing him with a perfect launch pad from where he is well placed to make further inroads into the mainstream Mumbai industry.
Barua isn’t letting the opening go a begging. Even as his next Hindi film, ButterflyChase, is being readied for release, Barua is scripting yet another pan-Indian film, “an unusual love story that will deal with a theme that has never been attempted before”. Says the accomplished director: “I hope to make and release the film this year itself,” he reveals. “I’ve got feelers from several potential producers. Yes, it will have a couple of big Bollywood stars in the cast.”
He, however, refrains from divulging any more details about the proposed project because, as he says, “it is far too early in the life of the nascent film to talk about it at length.”
Revealing that the film will be shot in Mumbai and “probably Shillong”, Barua admits that when one is making a Hindi-language film meant for the national market it is rather difficult to root it in one specific cultural milieu. For a regional language filmmaker whose reputation rests squarely on his sensitive, insightful portraits of Assamese lives placed in their contemporary and historical contexts that might pose a completely new challenge.
|Jahnu Barua's next Hindi film, ButterflyChase, is being readied for release, Barua is scripting yet another pan-Indian film, "an unusual love story that will deal with a theme that has never been attempted before".|
But Barua is now more than ready to face that upcoming test.
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara
has given me a new level of confidence,” he says. “The film wasn’t designed to be a blockbuster,” he says. “But the impact that it has had on people is much more than what I had expected. It has provoked many people. I am not a Gandhian nor am I an expert on the Mahatma’s worldview but I now get invited to various platforms to talk about Gandhi,” adds a somewhat bemused Barua.
The Maine Gandhi… experience has taught him an important lesson – promoting and marketing a film is as crucial as actually making it. For a filmmaker who is known and applauded more around the globe than in parts of India outside Assam, it’s almost like a fresh beginning. “I am really grateful to Anupam Kher for giving me the opportunity to feel the Mumbai film industry from the inside. It has given me a clear idea how it all works,” says Barua.
When Barua made his first Hindi film, Apeksha, in the early 1980s, it cost him a little under Rs 4 lakhs. “That included the budget of the Assamese version (Aparoopa) too,” he recalls. The funding agency, National Film Development Corporation, recovered the investment even before the Hindi film could be released. “The result was only a handful of prints of Apeksha made it to the theatres,” he laments.
But that was then. Crucially, the fact that Maine Gandhi… got picked up by Yashraj Films for distribution has given Barua a major fillip. “I now have the belief that if I make a good film, people who matter will come forward and support it,” he says.