Dinesh Vijan (DV): I am going to ask you guys questions about Finding Fanny. So Homi, why did you make this movie? And please don’t give us politically correct answers!
Homi Adajania (HA): Give them the whole gyaan?
Arjun Kapoor (AK): I will tell you why Homi, wanted to make the film… he was always dying to work with me. (Smiles)
HA: Yeah, I had to find a script that would suit Arjun Kapoor. But it was so difficult that it took me so many years! (Laughs)
DV: Arjun, why did you decide to work in the film?
AK: Do you want the real reason?
DV: No, no, not the real reason.
HA: What the hell guys, this is not Comedy Nights With Kapil show to fool around on. (Laughs)
AK: OK, Homi, why don’t you start with why you wanted to make the film?
HA: I wanted to make Finding Fanny because it was a story that was very close to my heart and I really wanted to tell. I believe the time was not right when I wanted to make the film. Of course, at that time, the producer had called me and made me do various other things.
DV: One thing! Cocktail.
HA: Yes, I was asked to direct Cocktail and the reason I didn’t make this film at that time as Naseer (Naseerudin Shah) had date issues. The film was further postponed because I was doing something else. Then we started work on Cocktail and the story took another few years to be made.
DV: Every film has its destiny, so this film was made at the right time.
HA: But I also believe that if I had not made Cocktail, I wouldn’t have got the budget to make this film. You have to be lucky to be able to make a film at the right time. Our audience is also ready for a film like this, they are way more ready for a Finding Fanny now than earlier. We tend to underestimate our audience and are way cooler than we think. They are able to immerse themselves in content that we would say, ‘Nahi, yeh hatke film hai, ya yeh offbeat hai, or it’s a crossover film.’ But that’s nonsense! A film is a film is a film. A commercial film is a film that makes commerce. It doesn’t make sense trying to put them in these boxes and attach labels. Fortunately, we now don’t have to do that and Finding Fanny is a prime example of the fact that we don’t have to put a film in any of these boxes.
AK: I think box-office-wise too, not every film has to clock numbers.
HA: Oh, no, certainly, there is a range. For our film also, it would be considered successful if it can recover its costs, so that we can say let’s do one more Finding Fanny. And it will then open up this genre for more filmmakers. The audience is ready for variety and so let’s explore some variety. I am sure there is so much incredible talent and no one can express themselves because both Dinesh and Vijay have had that kind of a vision to say give it a shot!
DV: The reason Fox has come on board is, after we release here, they have to strategise about releasing the film abroad.
Vijay Singh (VS): As a studio, our endeavour is to look for a portfolio approach. So we want to make a Bang Bang, a Bombay Velvet, a Jolly LLB and a Finding Fanny. And it’s really all about, how to create a portfolio of each kind of film, by doing the big budgets ones and also be able to push the envelope with the smaller ones. This makes commercial sense and the kind of approach we believe in. For example, we have made films in Tamil, and we decided to make them with new directors. That’s our strategy in regional markets. With Finding Fanny, we got the idea and we got the script and I think, what really got us involved was the script. So we said, here’s something slightly left of centre and we know the audience is changing.
So, coming to the point Dinesh made, about how to push a film like this in markets that are beyond the country. So the film released in India yesterday and it will release across 48 countries after that, as far as diaspora markets are concerned. We did the same thing with My Name Is Khan. There will be a phase to releasing the film here and overseas. So we have a separate edit for the film in those markets.
The best thing we did was get Nick (Nicholas Barringer) on board, the guy who has edited films like Love Actually. So we got the right editor who gets the tone of the film and the audience that lives in that part of the world. So we got him to cut the film for that audience. It was a learning experience, where you realise what’s funny for us is not funny for them. So like with MNIK, we have created a separate edit for the film overseas. We are confident of releasing the film in markets like Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the Middle East.
Now let’s consider a smaller film like Stanley Ka Dabba. We were able to release that film as a mainstream film in Korea and Japan. I am trying to say that every film has its destiny and obviously we are trying to access the right distributor and the right market. Obviously, the film has to work but we have to push it in the right direction. There is some great talent in this film. Homi is a difficult guy to work with but it was fun.
AK: This is the first compliment Homi has actually got.
AK: How are you going to figure that out if you don’t take a chance with a film like Finding Fanny? There is no right or wrong time. When you hear the material, you go with impulse, without thinking about what the audience will feel. First, it has to appeal to you. And the audience is much more ready for a film like this than it was five to seven years ago. And that’s an encouraging sign. We are all here because the audience is willing to watch the film and the audience is not stuck in that Bollywoodised, commercial system, where they only want a masala film. There is enough room for everyone. I mean, Aashiqui 2 and Iron Man released on the same date. So there is a large enough audience out there. If the film gives an added 10 per cent to regular cine-goers to give the film a chance, all the better.
I am just happy to be a part of the film. There are some choices you have to make yourself. You don’t always look at your career; you have to just do what excites you first. I did the film on an impulse to do something different and because it was exciting for me as an actor.