Ashi Dua may not be a household name yet but she has potential. 28 year old Mumbaikar, Ashi is the co-producer of the highly anticipated film Bombay Talkies which is a celebration of 100 years of Indian Cinema. What’s interesting is Ashi has brought together four Bollywood’s most celebrated young film makers - Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar.
CNBC-TV18's special show Young Turks met Ashi to find out how a film maker with no godfather in the film industry has kept the creativity intact.
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Hundred years after Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra hit our screens, a young film maker with no links to the industry is attempting a celluloid tribute. Co-founder of Flying Unicorn Entertainment, a Mumbai based film and TV content creation company, Ashi Dua worked in the TV business with NDTV and Percept Picture Company for a few years before she decided to give light to her Bollywood dream.
Dua's debut film Bombay Talkies brings together four of the country’s most talked about young directors, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee. Each director will make a 20 minute film on a single theme - how cinema is an integral part of every Indian. Bombay Talkies will open in theatres on May 3 bringing a close to four year journey from ideation to fruition for Ashi.
Dua recalls, “I went to Anurag and said, ‘this is my concept and I want you to make a film for us’. He agreed. I wanted to work with Zoya and then, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara had not been released. She had made Luck By Chance and it was a lot about the film industry. I said to her, ‘I have Anurag on board and nobody else right now. This is my concept. Do you think you can do this?’ She said, ‘I wrote a story long time back with Reema Kagti and if you let me shoot that story, I will do your film’. Then eventually Dibakar and Karan also agree.”
The idea of Bombay Talkies has won over the hottest names in the industry and for music director Amit Trivedi, this is a labour of love. Accommodating musical sensibility of four different directors while staying true to the era that each film maker recreates, is a tough task.
Trivedi says “The film has two most exciting songs as it talks of 100 years of cinema. There is a song on Amitabh Bachchan and is like an ode to him. For the first time, there is a song on an actor. It is called Bachchan. I including Amitabh Bhattacharya, the lyric writer, Anurag Kashyap, Ashi are very excited to create a song on Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Katrina Kaif, Randeep Hooda and Nawazuddin Siddiqui will be part of the long listed stars that make this film come alive. Despite all these big names, the producers claim this is mid level budget film. Bombay Talkies will be released world wide and distributed to 850 screens. As for her financial expectations from the film, Ashi says she doesn’t have too many.
Dua says, “This film is a true passion project, so god willing, if we breakeven and make enough money to compensate everybody’s efforts, we will be very happy. If we make more than that, we will just consider ourselves lucky. But commercially, we are hoping that people watch this film. In this film, it is more about the number of people watching it than the number itself. I don’t know if we will make Rs 10 crore or Rs 100 crore. I just wish more and more people watch a film like this.”
While the reviews of Bombay Talkies are yet to hit the press, Ashi now looks to experiment with more commercially viable cinema.
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