He is not only a renowned worldwide distributor of not only films in Bollywood but also Hollywood but also associated with films made in Hindi as well as Marathi for quite some time, but also is also a Casting Director as well as Associate Producer. The latest that Dhananjay has embarked on is a MEGA BUDGET FILM called The Battle of Bhima Koregaon starring Arjun Rampal, Sunny Leone and Digangana Suryavanshi among others.
In this interview, Dhananjay Galani of Dhananjay Galani Production tells senior journalist JYOTHI VENKATESH that what lured him to lendd his hand to producer-director Ramesh Thete in the making of the historical film is the fact that it has a good subject revolving around the struggles of the Dalits and set in the 18th century.
It is interesting to note that you have cast Sunny Leone in your film. Why?
I needed a dancer who looks like a Maharashtrian dancer and can play the lavni number effectively in my film. Sunny is playing the role of a spy. Sunny does a lavni in the Peshwa darbar. Arjun Rampal plays the role of a leader of the soldiers called Sidnak. Sunny was glad when I told her that I did not at all need her to flaunt her cleavage or display her sensuous skin in my film and wanted her to come up with a different avatar and andaz
How relevant is the title The Battle of Bhima Koregaon? How many days did you shoot for your film?
The Battle of Bhima Koregaon is the name of the place near the outskirts of Pune. I shot for my film also starring Govind Namdev, Ashok Samarth, Krushna Abhishek, Yatin Karyekar, Kamlesh Sawant, Milind Gunaji and Abhimanyu Singh for 61 days with a huge crowd of almost 400 people at N.D. Studios. In fact there is some remaining shooting now but till the pandemic continues to be there, we are helpless because it is not possible to shoot in a bubble as of now as we require huge crowds as I said.
Are you planning to release the film in other languages besides Hindi?
We are planning to recover our investment by dubbing the film in not only Tamil, Telugu and Kannada but also release it in English and Marathi. We are also planning to come up with a Spanish version of the film too. After its theatrical release, we are also planning to reach the audiences through the platform of a well known OTT player too. We are in talks too.
Name some of the Hollywood films that you have distributed as well as the names of films that you have produced till date?
I have distributed over a hundred films including Universal Soldier, Sabotage etc in the past one decade or so. Among the Indian films, I have distributed films like Makrand Deshpande’s Shahrukh Bola Khoobsoorat Hai Tu besides the Marathi film Bole India Jai Bhim. I have also produced Love in a Taxi starring Poonam Pandey as the leading lady, which is yet to see the light of the day.
As a producer, tell me why you opt to cast starlets like Poonam Pandey and Sunny Leone instead of stars like Deepika Padukone or for that matter Priyanka Chopra?
I am ready to sign Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra for a film of mine provided I am doled out dates by them as and when I need them but I am sure the system works in such a way today that they would not spare me dates immediately but will readily do the films of bigwigs like say Aditya Chopra or for that matter Karan Johar.
Do you think the theatres are in a state of doldrums now that the pandemic has driven them to close their business model?
Definitely the craze to see films on an OTT platform has increased because not only is the film shorter but also the web series are episodic. The exhibitors not only all over India but also all over the world are now crestfallen. The distributors like me are actually sitting at home and twiddling their thumbs because the theatres are closed. Sadly 80% of the distributors today are small time distributors and most of them have closed down their offices during the last year and a half. The plight of the distributors of none star cast films is pathetic because the bigwigs at the multiplexes would not touch these films even with a barge pole.
I have not totally given up hope. Because I am also confident that footfalls in cinema halls and multiplexes will slowly come back to pre-pandemic levels sooner or later. It is a fact that it is risky today to make films on a small shoestring budget because Bahubali has changed the way of making films. Though they say that only films which have stars or for that matter sleaze and sex sell like hot cakes, I would like to put my money on meaningful content alone instead of backing formula based projects.
Are you planning to set up a new OTT platform in the immediate future?
I am planning to launch my own OTT App called Cherryflix shortly. It will be a subscription based Video on Demand App model that will be reasonably priced. Initially the App will offer Original content of 10 features comprising shorts, feature films and also web series across horror, action and romantic genres.
Can you name the films or web series that you have acquired for your OTT App?
We will screen the drama action film titled The Last Game directed by choreographer Shabina Khan’s brother Rahil Khan , Purab Ke Bhasadbaaz starring Anil Charanjeet, Sheeba Chaddha, Mukesh Bhatt etc. We will also screen a horror film Evil Dead is Back in Hindi and English directed by Tariq Bhat and starring Ukranian Indian actress Natalia Kozhenova.
What next on the cards after The Battle of Bhima Koregaon?
My future projects also include Hollywood films titled Millions of Cards, The Painter Cat, an animated film approved by the Italian Government which I am producing and Bloody Vampire. I am also working as a dubbing producer for Hindi dubbed Hollywood films like- The Last Game, Cut, Get Hard, The Secret Serial Killer, Zona Come Back to me, The Killer, Haunted Evil Dead, Danger, The Lease ( Raaz- Evil Dead), Insane (Condom Mental Hai Kya), How We Met etc. All the projects are currently in the dubbing stage and will release on OTT platforms and Television in 2021.
When will The Battle of Bhima Koregaon be released?
It will be released in the first half of 2022 in multiplexes and theatres.