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"A film’s success goes beyond its opening"

It was a long time in the making. Now that the trailers of Agent Vinod have whetted the audience’s appetite, Dinesh Vijan, co-owner of Illuminati Films, discusses the product and a lot more.


Illuminati Films had originally intended to be a boutique production house, which made only a select few movies. But you have three films releasing in 2012. Are you moving towards a studio format?

Illuminati is very much a boutique production house. We started the company to make Agent Vinod. While we were writing the movie, we came across Love Aaj Kal. Although that film too was at the writing stage, the story developed faster. We thought it would also be sensible to launch the company with a love story.

Finally, we started on Agent Vinod, which took 140 days to shoot. Also, we shot only one film at a time. It was only after Agent Vinod was almost complete that we moved on to production number 3, which people call Cocktail, written by Imtiaz Ali and directed by Homi Adajania. In the meantime, we came across Raj and DK for their film.

We take on only as much as we can handle. This year has been crazy, with three releases. After all three films release, we will analyse our strengths and weakness and then take a call for the future.

Does Agent Vinod have the potential to turn into a franchisee?

Agent Vinod has been set up to turn into a franchise. But that is a call we will take after the film releases.

Agent Vinod is the biggest production you have handled…

Love Aaj Kal was our first film and we shot it on three continents. Yes, Agent Vinod is our biggest film, logistics-wise. The possibility of things going wrong in a love story compared to an action story is 1:10. Agent Vinod has been shot in 12 countries and each schedule came with its own set of problems. But we worked with the motto, ‘A film is permanent but the pain is temporary’ and we were able to overcome all the problems. We are really proud of the final product that Sriram has delivered. When the producer and director are in total sync with each other, the team is motivated to do their best.

After the second trailer received much wider appreciation than the first, weren’t you advised to release only the first promo?

Releasing a promo is part of our strategy. When people saw the first theatrical, we received a fabulous response. People said it was an awesome trailer. We told them it is just a teaser. If you see the first theatrical in isolation, it is a very nice promo where we revealed only the character of Agent Vinod. Then we released ‘Let’s Do The Talking’, then the mujra and then the last theatrical. We wanted to drum up enthusiasm among the audience. Next, we will drive the audience crazy with our upcoming videos in the form of the Mujra remix and Raabta.

There were rumours of a rift between Saif and you?

If there really was a rift, do you think we would have been able to release three films a year? Our work speaks for itself.

Is it a deliberate decision for Saif to be part of all Illuminati films, since he is co-owner?

Illuminati pays a lot of attention to script. In fact, Saif and I share a similar ideology. We always work on developing the script. And, so far, whatever we have developed has suited Saif since he is a versatile actor. But if you see our film with Raj and DK, titled by media Go Goa Gone, it’s not a Saif-centric film. He only makes a special appearance in the film.

Agent Vinod was to release last year. Why was it delayed?

We always knew we were making an action film and we knew it would take a long time. In fact, Rockstar and Agent Vinod began shooting together. Rockstar released in November and we are releasing in March. That’s hardly a delay.

Will we ever see Dinesh Vijan in the director’s chair?

Right now, I am tied up with production. I want to take the burden off my director’s shoulders and want them to make their best films with me. Maybe, one day, I will ask all my directors to produce my film!

How important is the opening for a film?

The opening of a film is what breathing is to a person. A lot depends on how you market the film. Promotion will ensure an opening for the weekend. The director and his vision will determine how the audience views the film and how successful it is from Monday onwards. We are very confident about the product we have made and have full faith in Sriram Raghavan.

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