Posted on 29 December, 2015 by Team Wishberry
In the 1980s, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai opened up to Indian audiences and resonated with the underlying rage that was rippling through the country to such an extent, it went on to become one of the most iconic movies to come out of Indian cinema. Cut to 2015, the rage remains, for different reasons. And to echo this frustration with all that’s happening with and around citizens and the general apathy, Soumitra Ranade has set out to finish the official remake of the film. And in true independent style, he has crowdfunded for it too- raising Rs. 40 lakhs from 79 people. He takes us a break from his whirlwind journey to tell us all about this project.
Congratulations on the crowdfunding success! Can you tell us about your crowdfunding experience? Soumitra: This is the first time I am doing something like this. So I wasn’t totally prepared. I learnt as I went along. It was exhausting at times - this constant PR activity that one has to do! Reaching out to people, connecting on social media and all that. But eventually we managed it. It was truly a great learning experience for me.
What has been your greatest learning from running a crowdfunding campaign? Soumitra: That, if your project is solid, then there are people out there who are interested in funding it. I was very skeptical about this kind of a thing working. But it did! People do like to support something that is out-of-the-box…something that they feel is honest and genuinely needs support.
Update us on the film’s progress so far? Soumitra: We have started work on the animation and vfx. Our edit is alomost locked. Should start the sound post-production very soon.
How did the whole idea of making this movie come about? Soumitra: I first saw the film when it released in 1980. I was studying in JJ School of Arts then. There was an instant connection with the film. It was feisty and resonated with the mood of the nation. That was the post-emergency period with unending political instability. Leftist movement was perhaps at its peak with Dr. Datta Samant leading the mill workers’ strike in Mumbai. The film was set against this backdrop and hence connected not just with me but also with the entire nation. The film stayed with me, even after all these years. When I was writing this film, it wasn’t called Albert Pinto then. It was just another script. But as I went along, I felt that in essence, somewhere deep down, my character was a lot like Albert Pinto. So I rewrote the film calling it by the original film’s name. I then showed the script to Saeed Mirza. I have a very deep bond with him. I have worked with him for many years on numerous projects and have had a wonderful relationship with him. He was most encouraging. He told me I certainly have something and should go ahead and make the film. He also gave me the rights to use the title, without which the film is not really the same. It is an iconic title and over the years has, in fact, become a catchphrase.
You could’ve picked any other iconic/memorable film. Why Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? Soumitra: Today, I think India stands at a similar crossroads as it did during the early eighties. The old is giving way to the new and we do not yet know what the new entails. For me, the film is a culmination of a prolonged, despairing personal struggle. Like Albert Pinto says in the film, “It is as if a bulb had been broken inside my stomach”. The making of the film meant removing each and every little piece of glass… carefully.
What made you go for crowdfunding? Soumitra: I am not a producer of films. I don’t even have the kind of money required to produce a film. So, some of us came together, pooled in from our savings and started the film. All through the making of the film, I was under huge financial pressure. I wanted to finish the film fast and then perhaps sell it and not go into huge debts. It is hard being a financer, executive producer, writer and director of a film. All roles demand contradictory approaches and to keep playing these four roles day-in-day-out was exhausting. I was constantly fooling myself that the film is complete. I even started showing it around even when I wasn’t completely convinced about it. I was hoping someone will buy it and I will rid myself of the financial burden. It was only when I got a concrete offer from someone that I faced the fact. I just couldn’t go ahead with the deal. I thought I am being dishonest to my film. I had planned many things in the film, which I never did because of the paucity of funds. So, one day I called all my partners and told them, “Guys, get ready for the long haul.” I decided to go in for crowdfunding, finish the film the way I had designed it, and then I know the film will have its own destiny.
The cast of this film is stellar! How did you convince them to come on board? Soumitra: Well, They were all very excited to be a part of this film. They totally connected with the subject. Strangely, all my actors are writers and directors themselves. Manav, Nandita and Saurabh have all written and directed films. So in a sense, they are part of my film not just as actors but more as sensitive citizens of a country.
What has been the highlight of the journey so far? Soumitra: All parts of movie making are the highlights. When I was writing the film, I could imagine anything else being better than that. Then we move on to shooting and editing and so on. All stages give me a high. So in that sense there is no one highlight of the journey. The entire journey has been spellbinding.
When do we expect to see the completed film? Soumitra: I think we should be able to wrap up the film early in 2016.