A film survives longer due to story: Producer Preeti Shahani

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Mumbai, July 1 (IANS) Her earlier two releases “Talvar” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi” survived nine weeks in the theatre and “Raazi” is still running. Preeti Shahani of Junglee Pictures, which produced all these films, says investing in the development of the story is the secret behind the success.

“After the first weekend, if a film survives at the box office, it is not only because of the star but also for the story that entertains the audience and builds a connection with them. Eventually, the story does that. In a volatile business like films, if we are not focused on developing a story which combines good writing and right direction, the film will fail,” Shahani told IANS in an interview.

Setting the budget right is also a challenge.

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“On the table, we do not design a film to earn Rs 100 crore. We leave it to the audience. In the beginning, we just budget a film and find a way to recover,” she added.

As Shahani has worked with film director Meghna Gulzar for two films — “Talvar” and “Raazi” — how has the relationship between the two women at work evolved?

“Within three years, we did two films. So yes, Meghna and I have a great bonding. We understand (each other), but we really argue a lot. We have our point of view on things and if that is different, there is disagreement. But the good part is that in the end, we always find a middle ground.”

For “Raazi”, with a star like Alia Bhatt as the face of the film, the banner did not play the ‘female-centric film’ card to market it.

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Explaining the rationale, Shahani said: “That was never the idea. Perhaps that is why ‘female-oriented film’ was not the interest area for the audience to watch out for. The story of the film was strong enough to intrigue the audience. When they went to the theatre to watch, they got a strong story where each character was equally important to complete the story. That is the magic of Meghna.

“During the marketing of the film, we just made sure, we are visible enough not to get missed.”

While “Talvar” and “Raazi” are stories based on real life stories, “Bareilly Ki Barfi” is the adaptation of French novel “The Ingredients of Love”.

Asked if Junglee Pictures is inclined towards adapting stories from books and reality into films, Shahani said: “How would critics have reacted if I am making a film on a story like ‘Aarushi Talwar murder case’? Can we imagine such things? But that was a reality. The story of ‘Raazi’ was a reality. I think the reality is much more dramatic and intriguing than one would imagine.

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“We actually have a team that is constantly looking into content from books that can be adapted into a film.”

The banner’s next movie is “Junglee”.

—IANS

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