Controversy is in fashion: Savita Raj

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How did the idea of setting up a production house came about?

I was into advertising in Delhi. During those days, I worked with people like Pradeep Sarkar, Shantanu Moitra, Sujit Sarkar and Jaydeep Sahni. All these people moved to films and shifted base to Mumbai, so I got inspired, actually. Also, I felt that it was time to grow from advertising to something bigger. I was getting bored of working within the brief given by clients and I wanted to expand my creativity beyond those fixed boundaries. And films were the only medium to do that.

Delhi as a city figures very prominently in your movies. Any specific reason behind that?

My heart and soul belongs to the city. I just can't have enough of Delhi, be it the weather, the roads, the greenery, the food or the people. So I thought, why not show this diverse canvas in movies as well? Also, since I am from Delhi, and my team is from Delhi, it was a very controlled and familiar kind of working environment for me. That's the reason I decided to shoot my films also in Delhi.

You have a very Hrishikesh Mukherjee style of working - mixing commercial cinema with creative innovation...

The reason behind this is that this is the only slot which was available. There are some kinds of films that can only be made by Yash Chopra. Mahesh Bhatt has a different kind of cinema. Ram Gopal Varma has a different take on cinema. The Hrishikesh Mukherjee slot fascinated me.

Was it a tough journey?

It was not tough for me to start and finish a project, but yes, it was very tough for me to convince the industry that such stuff works in today's times as well. It took me almost a year to do the film, but it took two years to sell the film to the distributors. Today, I am glad that people talk about Khosla Ka Ghosla as path-breaking cinema and one of the top 10 films of the decade.

What do you think could be the possible reasons?

I don't know, I was so confident of Khosla Ka Ghosla as a good movie that I was showing the film to everyone in Mumbai and they used to say, "Wow, lovely, but we don't know about the commercial side of it". That clearly goes on to show how out of touch we are with our audience, the distributors are so out of touch with what viewers want, and it surprises me.

Even in Sharaft Gayi ... , you don't have a big star cast or established names.

I don't think stars are needed to make a film successful. I think whoever fits the bill should be signed. The script should be given due consideration and casting should be done according to the script and not the other way round.

What are your views on movie publicity? And what are your pre-release publicity plans for Sharafat ... ?

Being from an advertising background, we understand the importance of pre-release publicity. I think it's very crucial and today, it's more about how different your campaign is and how you can grab maximum eyeballs. For Sharafat ... , we're trying to work out a shocking campaign.

What do you have to say about that?

It is their own personal rift, and I am not the right person to comment on that. For me, Rajesh was the person who wrote the script. He has all the legal papers with him, so I don't think there is any controversy or anything. Now I think it is becoming fashionable to create controversy and get mileage. All I can say is that after working so hard and so long in this creative field, I will never make the mistake of not having proper legal documents or going for writers who are not authentic. That much credibility I have. All the legal documents are sorted, so that this controversy doesn't hamper my film in any way.


Shocking? Like how?

It is definitely going to be very high online publicity, because youth is always hooked onto this medium, so our main campaign will be online. The script of Sharaft ... has already created controversy, with Rajesh Chawla being accused by his own friend Anand Kumar of stealing the script that was jointly written by Rajesh, Anand and Vivek Chaudhary.