The Filmmaker From Banaras: Anubhav Sinha
FHM: We have read a couple of your recent posts on FB and you seem to be on an emotional ride...Is there a poet in you?
Anubhav Sinha: Some of my friends do think that I am a poet, but I am not. Poets are people who can write any time, and on anything, which I’m not. I can’t write to order, so I’m not a poet.
FHM: Irrespective of their box office performance, your films have unmatched style. Where do you get it from?
Anubhav Sinha: I really don’t know. I can’t credit that to Hollywood films because I started watching foreign films after I turned 19. I didn’t even read comic books. I started following Spiderman and Batman only after I made Ra.One. See, I belong to a small city, and they didn’t screen such films there in the 80s. Maybe it’s the child in me that inspires me.
FHM: Did the success of Tum Bin surprise you?
Anubhav Sinha: All my films are appreciated years after they release. There is not even a single day when I’m not complimented on the film, but I would like to clarify it to everyone that Tum Bin was not a success. Reviewers panned it and Khalid Mohammad referred to it as ‘Tum Thin’. It hurt me so much to read his review of my film because I was really looking forward to it.
FHM: Where has its leading lady, Sandali Sinha, disappeared?
Anubhav Sinha: She is now happily married. You don’t see her anymore because when she was working on Tum Bin, she was not sure if she wanted to pursue Bollywood anymore, and so she rejected a lot of good offers. By the time Tum Bin released and Sandali decided to take acting seriously, the offers had vanished.
FHM: A film like Tum Bin, which has everything going against it, works somewhat, but a film like Ra.One, which has the most stunning production value, a dependable cast and hype around it, gets largely panned? Why?
Anubhav Sinha: Everyone didn’t like Ra.One because it wasn’t made for everyone. My mom wouldn’t like it. She would appreciate a film like Gulab Gang. Ra.One was a good film, and I know a lot of people who have watched it numerous times, bought DVDs and continue to watch it on television. Maybe it was ahead of its times.
FHM: But why didn’t it work?
Anubhav Sinha: See, the film released on a Thursday, and on that very day, a lot of television channels declared that it’s a flop. There was concentrated effort to bring down the film. Also, a lot of incorrect figures were released. You can’t do that. Everyone is now a certified film talker. Earlier, if you liked or not liked the film, you wouldn’t talk much about it, nowadays people just jump in to scrutinise box office numbers and mind you, no production house will ever give correct figures. Whether someone will watch a film or not depends on third party opinions on that film. Why are production budgets revealed, why is there a need to talk about it at all? The 100-crore club is fuck all!
FHM: And now the buzzword is the 150-crore club.
Anubhav Sinha: See, the numbers would change. In a few years, it will be 500-crore club. My point is that the audience doesn’t need to be taken backstage into production costs and how much money a film mints. That’s not important. By doing this you disturb the sanctity of a film. Tell me one thing, if you like my t-shirt, would you first ask about its price, and then appreciate it?
FHM: But then numbers are important...Anubhav Sinha: Yes, they are but not to bring audiences to the theatre. Have you ever seen Brad Pitt talking about the money that his Friday release is making? It doesn’t work like this.
FHM: Given a chance, would you like to come up with something like Sea Hawks again?
Anubhav Sinha: No, I won’t. I don’t relate to TV anymore. Though television can be used to narrate stories, all that’s it’s doing these days is making saas-bahu things.
FHM: What are some of the things you have realised since the time you have turned producer?
Anubhav Sinha: Nothing really.
FHM: We read that you have formed a band? Tell us about it?
Anubhav Sinha: There is a lot of music that fades into oblivion because the artist doesn’t get the right platform. This band will provide that right platform.
FHM: So will you be playing something?
Anubhav Sinha: No. I will be involved in its operations
FHM: As a filmmaker, what are your worries right now?
Anubhav Sinha: The numbers game in Bollywood. It’s fucking irritating.
FHM: Directing a film is like driving your car and producing it is like letting someone else drive it — in which position are you more comfortable?
Anubhav Sinha: You are wrong. When you direct, you know you are driving someone else’s car, and that you have to drive responsibly. As a producer, I make sure that I have full faith in the director, and that the belief in that he is the best guy for a particular project. Finishing a project in the approved budget is good, but that’s not the world to me. Extra money can be raised if the film needs it.
FHM: What is the craziest thing that you have ever thought of doing?
Anubhav Sinha: I want to establish a studio in Banaras. In fact, I am looking for a bungalow, preferably by the side of the river, where I would appoint a halwai who will start making pakoras early in the morning while the musicians jam together. It would be a dream come true.
FHM: Banaras is close to you it seems.
Anubhav Sinha: It is very close. Now that I am growing old, I’m getting closer to my roots.
FHM: What are the kind of films you would not like to make now?
Anubhav Sinha: Anything that’s so complex that it takes ages to understand.