New Delhi: Telling an original story has never been easy in the Hindi film industry but Rajat Kapoor is not one to give up.
With biggies like "Kapoor and Sons" and "Dil Chahta Hai" behind him as an actor and critically acclaimed films like "Mithya" and "Ankhon Dekhi" in his kitty as a director, getting funds for his latest venture should have been relatively easy.
But the actor-filmmaker, who has long straddled the different worlds of Bollywood and independent cinema with ease, found it a struggle to raise money from conventional sources for "RK/ R Kay".
Left with few options, Kapoor, 57, has reached out to viewers directly for the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in November.
"RK/R Kay" is one of three complete scripts that Kapoor wants to adapt for the big screen. He has put out details about the film and crew members on Crowdera, a free crowd-funding platform that helps individuals, non-profits and independent filmmakers raise money online.
"You film buffs, lovers of cinema and casual but enlightened film goer... So many of you who have commented earlier about 'Ankhon Dekhi' or 'Mithya' and wondered why we don't make more films like these. I ask you for your support," he said in his appeal.
Kapoor, who has been trying to raise funds for the film for the last three years, said he is optimistic about the platform.
"The film is in the making. We begin shooting in November. We still have a long way to go. We have collected about Rs 38 lakh through crowd-funding. We also found a co-producer who is willing to fund 50 per cent of the budget. The crowd-funding will continue because we still need Rs 1 crore. I am optimistic," Kapoor told PTI in an interview.
"Ankhon Dekhi", which examined the nature of truth through the story of an old Delhi family patriarch, played beautifully by Sanjay Mishra in what critics believe one of his finest performances, won a lot of acclaim but was not profitable for the producers, he said.
"The film, for all the love, respect and awards I received, did not make money at the box office. That's what decides how difficult or easy your next film is going to be. If the previous film has made money, life becomes easier, if not, then you have to find ways," he said.
It takes a long time to make anything out-of-the-box, which is not regular or has regular stars, he said.
"It has been a struggle. It happened with 'Mithya'. It happened with 'Ankhon Dekhi'. Every film has been a struggle since 2003," Kapoor added.
In a brief write-up of how the film came about, Kapoor said on the website Crowera that the story began with the idea of a man losing his reflection. The reflection comes to the real world from the world of reflections; and eventually takes over the man's life. But something was missing.
Kapoor then wrote the story of "RK/R Kay" -- about a filmmaker, whose film is not shaping up as he had imagined. The protagonist of his film disappears. Finally, he lands up in real life. RK finds him, and now they must send him back into the film so the film can be completed.
The filmmaker said when he joined show business, he knew the difficulties he might face while making independent films so there is no bitterness or anger about the way the industry works.
"It is never going to be easy to make an 'Ankhon Dekhi' in this country. But I have to find ways to make my films. People don't understand this when they read the script, they react differently when they watch the film because you cannot visualise it on the script level.
"I have spent 20 years making films and I am grateful for the films that I have made. It has been a struggle but you cannot be bitter or angry about it. I am neither bitter nor angry... I will continue to make my films. Of course, there are days when you feel frustrated. We can spend a lot of time being angry, but that is time wasted," he said.