Film director Pooja Bhatt, who is gearing up for the release of her upcoming venture Cabaret on streaming giant ZEE5, says the medium is not a step down for her as a producer. This project was apparently scheduled to release in 2016, however, was delayed due to differences between the producers Pooja, T-Series and Wave Cinemas.
Asked if she feels sad that Cabaret will not have a big screen release, she said, "Not at all. At the beginning of my career, I did a small film called 'Daddy' which was produced by Doordarshan. During that time, people asked Mahesh Bhatt why are you launching your own daughter with a television film? Bhatt (Mahesh Bhatt) saab asked me 'You want to be recognised as an actor or a star)', so I told him that 'I want to be recognised as an actor."
"Till today, people recognise me with that film. Then, he made 'Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee' taking me and Rahul Roy for Zee Television. That time also people asked him why are you doing satellite release of such a good film, but Bhatt saab thought that we have to change norms and we have to go towards new platforms. So, I am just taking that legacy forward. I feel this is not a step down for me."
Pooja said that in future, she would like to produce more films on digital platforms.
"In fact, I will make an effort to release most of my films on digital platforms. I will plan more ways specifically for a digital release and not burden it with promotion and advertising budget. Unfortunately because of this, half of the films don't get released. Most of the times, people finish their films but releasing a film is a different art and to do that, you need to be stubborn and you need to have patience. I always feel you need to give dignified and proper release to the film in which Zee is supporting me for that, I am very grateful to them," she said.
Talking about the row with her partners, Bhatt said, "Everyone knows that two years ago, 'Cabaret' was going to release theatrically but I didn't want to have a bad release for this film as a producer.”
"In today's day and age, the film's marketing and publicity is immensely important. Very often we spend more on marketing of the film than its making. When we decided to make this film that time, it was decided we will spend Rs 7.5 crore on its marketing. But later, my partners felt that we should only spend Rs 3.5 crore to promote the film.”
"I didn't agree to that because now people spend Rs 25 crore to Rs 30 crore on the marketing of a film, then how we will compete with them on less marketing budget? If people don't know that a certain film is releasing, then there is no point to release that film," she further added.
Pooja, who has produced films like Dushman, Sur, Paap, Jism and Rog, said Cabaret was destined to release on a digital platform. It will be out on January 9.
"For two years, I was thinking that why all this is happening with my film. But then I thought God had a better plan to release this film. The entire universe was conspiring to make sure that 'Cabaret' releases on the right platform and to the right audience. I feel 'Cabaret' belongs to a certain kind of audience who wants to see the film as per their convenience on their tablets or on their smartphones."
Directed by Kaustav Narayan Niyogi, Cabaret stars Richa Chadha, Gulshan Devaiah, S. Sreesanth and Gulshan Grover.