MUMBAI: Sanjay Suri has just returned from Bangalore after completing the first short film I am Abhimanyu, which is a part of the series of five short films, called I Am. The film is noteworthy, as commoners have pooled in their resources to produce this film.
“It is a film for the people, by the people and of the people,” Suri tells Businessofcinema.com. Suri is talking about his latest project which has been spearheaded by him and director Onir. As the duo could not raise the money to produce a film that they wanted as financers preferred more commercially viable projects, they appealed to the public via social networking sites and raised the money.
Says Suri, “I am shocked. People have helped us in whatever capacity they could have. Some offered their services free of cost, while some offered the food for the unit for two days, without charging us a dime. We shot the film in Bangalore and 50% of the funds have come from the public.”
Giving us the details of the costing of the project, Suri said, “Each film will cost us Rs 30 lakhs, which makes the project a total of Rs 1.5 crore. We have appealed to the people via social networking sites. 50% of the cost will be raised by us, and the rest by the public. And we have succeeded with the first film, which we just completed in Bangalore. The second film, I am Omar will start in August.”
Even actors have come forward to work for little or no remuneration. In the first film there are actors like Radhika Apte, Shenaz Patel, Anurag Kashyap and Suri. In the second film, I am Omar, the cast includes Rahul Bose, Abhimanyu Singh and debutant Sahil. Actors like Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli will also be acting in the other films.
Suri declared, “The object is to nurture new talent and also do socially relevant films. The first film is on child abuse, while the second discusses the nexus between police and sex workers. This trend is new in India, but one that exists in 17 other countries. I…sincerely hope I am is successful so that people can make films that they believe in without relying on producers, exhibitors and distributors demanding that the film is commercially viable by adding a star or a song.”