Interview: Producer Ashwani Sharma on Bengali Film NOBEL CHOR - "No One Knows My Film Better Than I Do"
By Shoma A. Chatterji
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Calcutta, Feb 7, 2012 (Databazaar Media Ventures) “No one knows my film better than I do,” says Ashwani Sharma, the strapping young, Mumbai-based producer of Nobel Chor. Sharma packs a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications. Following this, he honed his experience with a 15-year stint as writer, director, creative head and cameraman for television serials. He is currently the producer of the longest running Marathi serial that has competed 550 episodes on a satellite channel and is still going strong. Nobel Chor is his first step in feature films as producer. Databazaar Media, the North American distributor is doing things for this film in a manner they have not done for any other film because they feel that they have got the best product till date.
What motivated you to turn to feature film production?
After my ongoing journey through the lanes and highways of television, I felt that as a genuine lover of good cinema, I needed to go through the entire life cycle of a film from beginning to end. Producing a feature film was the best way to undertake this journey. No one knows about my film better than I do. I have worked in each and every aspect of this film without any co-producer or anyone else backing me. I have learnt what would have taken ten years in just one and a half year.
Why choose an off-mainstream film like Nobel Chor which is firstly, a Bengali film targeted at a regional audience and a language-specific audience, secondly, directed by a NRI director whose earlier films have not done particularly well on the commercial circuit and a film that deals with Tagore which is a serious subject?
Regional films these days are faring far better than many Hindi films in many ways. This story could have been told in any language. But since the theft of the Nobel Medal happened in West Bengal we decided to make it in Bengali. It treats Tagore from an entirely different perspective. It will also change the image of Suman Ghosh, the director because of its tremendous mass appeal. It will certainly do good business in the domestic market. It is not an off-mainstream film. It has already won the Best Indian Film Award in Bengaluru International Film Festival. Our Dhaka screening was a thumping success.
Do you think Mithun Chakraborty in the cast will trigger commerce and national awards both?
Mithun Chakraborty is one of the greatest actors India has ever produced. He has given an extra ordinary performance. No fan of his can afford to miss him in this film. So far as awards go, I can only say that strive for excellence and the success will follow.
What is your reaction to the Databazaar Media contact regarding the distribution, exhibition and screening of NOBEL CHOR in North America and Canada? What are your expectations from this wide coverage for your first film which has already been screened at two or three International film festivals abroad?
Databazaar Media is doing a wonderful job of making the quality Indian Cinema available to audiences in North America and Canada. For Nobel Chor, Databazaar Media has already begun the pre-release marketing. They have increased the number of cities in the US where the film will be screened theatrically. They are also planning many new promotional strategies for the film. They are best placed to exploit the North American market at this point of time. The film is slated to be shown at a couple of reputed film festivals in US in the coming months and Databazaar Media is closely following that front also. All their efforts will help in increasing our revenue pie.
Are you happy with the film?
Yes, I am pretty happy. One can not be completely satisfied but there are so many constraints while filmmaking that what you finally get is the best you could have ever got. But people in Bengali Cinema need to become more professional and deliver what they promise rather than just talking big.
Trailer: Nobel Chor