`Delhi ought to have its own film setup`: Hemant Gaba
New Delhi: Director Hemant Gaba, who shot his internationally acclaimed ‘Shuttlecock Boys’ here, feels that with increasing numbers of Delhiites entering the film line, it is high time the capital had its own movie-making infrastructure.
Made on a shoestring budget of Rs. 35 lakh with a crew of 25, shooting ‘Shuttlecock Boys’ here was not easy.
"It`s time that Delhi should have its own film setup. I have been born and brought up in Delhi and I really don`t like to go back to Mumbai. There are so many filmmakers and actors who are from Delhi but they had to shift base to Mumbai for work," Gaba, a qualified software engineer, told IANS.
"The funds were raised through my friends and my ex-colleagues. We borrowed the camera from National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). Some of the crew members were flown in from Mumbai to Delhi, while the auditions for actors were conducted across theatre schools like National School of Drama and The Barry John Acting Studio," he added.
After garnering appreciation at various international film festivals, Gaba`s indie film ‘Shuttlecock Boys’ is set for release Aug 3 under PVR Director`s Cut Rare Initiative.
He says that such films still struggle to attract audiences and find support from distributors.
"Unlike international audience, Indian audience is limited in its thought process. India is the highest producer of films but the audience of off-beat cinema is very less. They are so used to the commercial Bollywood movies that it`s difficult for them to look beyond," Gaba told IANS.
"Though the scenario is gradually changing, targets are changing, but it will still take decades to go beyond it," he added.
‘Shuttlecock Boys’, story of four guys from different backgrounds, has been screened at the India International Film Festival - Tampa Bay, Nepal Cine Symposium, Seattle South Asian Film Festival, Chicago South Asian Film Festival among others.
It took Gaba almost two-and-a-half years to make the film and another one-and-a-half-year to get it released.
The director says distributors were not ready to invest in the film.
"The distributors didn`t find it to be a profitable option and those who were willing; they asked us to trim it down. It was difficult to get it released. But that`s fine. I have no complaints or hard feelings. I hope this trend changes," he said.
‘Shuttlecock Boys’ revolves around a chartered accountant, a chef, a salesman and a BPO employee. They get together to play badminton in their neighbourhood in Delhi. One day they decide to do something on their own...This attempt becomes their litmus test.
With release date nearing, Gaba is "apprehensive and nervous at the same time".
"I just want my film to be accepted by the audience. It really doesn`t matter if I don`t recover my money. I just feel that I should get opportunity make the kind of cinema that I want to," he added.