Vidya Balan: I didn’t know the role of a producer when I joined films
Mumbai: With each choice she made in films in the past, Vidya Balan redefined the space of female-centric films in Bollywood.
Following the same footsteps in her last three releases – ‘Shakuntala Devi’, ‘Sherni’ and ‘Jalsa’ – the actress emphasised the importance of producers backing such content to bring change in Indian cinema.
Abundantia Entertainment was one of the production houses backing all these three projects.
Vidya told IANS: “Honestly speaking, when I joined the film industry, I did not know the exact role of a producer in the making of a film but with time, since I worked in multiple female-led films, be it ‘Ishqiya’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and so on, I realised a very important thing about filmmaking.
“A film especially if it is unconventional, not a success on paper, it needs utmost care and backup of a producer to take enough risk to make such films and release it correctly to the target audience.”
She went on adding, “The role of a producer and director is equally important for a film, if one is the father, another is the mother of the film. Having said that I have worked with Vikram in three consecutive successful films and I must say, his production house not only talks about creative empowerment but actually going ahead and making films that are so important in storytelling.”
Vikram Malhotra, the CEO of Abundantia Entertainment, on the other hand, admits that as a production house, they focus on the story first and then the rest follows for him.
“Yes, be it ‘Shakuntala Devi’, ‘Sherni’ and ‘Jalsa’ they are female-led films. But for us, all these stories are equally important, engaging and entertaining. That is why we make a film. We do not look at the gender of the protagonist but how strong the content is. Our parameter is simple. We submit to the vision of the storyteller, followed by the size of the audience that the story can impact and then comes the economic consideration, of budget and platform,” explained Vikram.
While the moods of these three films are very different Vikram shared how this actress-producer duo is working perfectly for them.
Vikram said, “In any creative collaboration, it is important to match the sensibility, ours does wonderfully. Also on the set of the film, she just brings so much joy and cheers up the whole unit that even under the work pressure, the process becomes enjoyable.”
Interestingly, both the films ‘Shakuntala Devi’ and ‘Sherni’ even though initially planned to be released theatrically, due to the pandemic both of them released on Prime Video.
Admitting the fact that experiencing a film on 70 mm screen is always an indulgence, Vikram and Vidya mentioned the importance of its OTT release.
Vikram said, “It was a joint decision to release both of them on Amazon Prime Video because we wanted the films to release when the content is fresh, audience is waiting to watch it while going through the pandemic. It was an uncertain time for our industry. The audience on the other side is maturing faster to celebrate such stories.”
Adding to that, Vidya said, “Also I think the OTT release has given us an unimaginable audience reach at that time for our films. I think we are enjoying the best of both worlds now.”
Abundantia Entertainment is now gearing up for the Diwali release ‘Ram Setu’ starring Akshay Kumar followed by couple of projects lined up – ‘Hush Hush’ with Juhi Chawla and Soha Ali Khan, the remake of ‘Soorarai Pottru’, and ‘Chorrii 2’ among others.
‘Jalsa’ is streaming on Prime Video.