Ever since the Omung Kumar B directed film PM Narendra Modi – that stars Vivek Anand Oberoi – has been announced, the biopic has been courting several accusations and controversies. In an exclusive chat with the film’s producer Sandip Ssingh, we clear the air for once and for all.
Why a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
Why not a Modi biopic? When we made a biopic on Mary Kom or made Sarbjit, then nobody questioned it. Just because he is a powerful political personality, everybody is questioning it. I am just moved by the story of this man. I think a tea-seller becoming a prime minister is a story by itself and I think somebody should have paid attention to it years back. When I got into it, I slowly discovered this man’s story.
Since when have you been a follower of Narendra Modi?
I have never been a Modi follower.
You have also written the script, so how much research went into it?
In that case, I did follow Modi’s journey for three years. Many people discouraged me and told me not to do it. They wanted me to get scared and drop the film, but I don’t really care about all these things. I take time to decide what films I want to make, but once it was decided, it was all easy. His life is an open book. He speaks on Mann Ki Baat himself, there are so many books available, so many news channels, news articles about him. So everyone already knows about his life. It’s the way we want to show his journey is what matters.
In what way are you trying to tell the story?
I feel cinema has to be told in a very different way and with a different perspective so that the audience accepts the story. So we have gone in a very commercial way. People had not expected the trailer to be like this, but we have just captured the entire journey in a different way. It’s about the direction and we consciously decided about how to tell the story. We chose a commercial way and now the story has been made and ready to go out to the audience as this film.
With elections just around the corner, people have been questioning the timing of the film. The film’s release date has been preponed to April 5 from April 12…
It is very simple. We moved from April 12 to April 5 because we did not want to clash with Kalank that is releasing on April 17. So I had only four days left for the box office. So I had no option but to release it a week prior.
What about the political parties that are questioning it?
Political parties should understand that they have been in India ruling for so many years and they have done great work for the country and for their state, all the political parties who are asking like DMK and NCP. They should understand one thing that they should concentrate on their work and convert the votes rather than concentrating on the filmmakers and getting publicity out of them.
The film is being called a propaganda film that will act as a publicity vehicle for Modi. Is this the case?
Who stopped them to do anything for their party? Nobody has stopped anybody. So I think everybody has their own right and they should pay attention to themselves than paying attention to what others are doing. While making this film, we did not pay attention to what others were doing or what the people were saying or the parties were saying. We just wanted to tell a story in a simple way of a human being who became a Prime Minister from being a tea-seller. I was inspired and I want the nation, the 135-crore people to know that if they have a correct vision and thinking, whoever they may be, they can do something for the nation. And that is what the film is all about.
How much of his journey will be seen? Also, how much of the real footage has been used?
From a tea-seller to Prime Minister, we have captured all the crucial moments in the film – so, from a teenager to the present day. Talking about the stock footage, whatever the film required we have used the real video there. You have seen the film’s canvas and it does not look like we have shot it in 38 days. The film is big.
You all started filming very late and it’s releasing also so quickly. We also know for a fact that your film has not even gone to the Censor Board yet, so what is all this about?
We are not here to break any laws, we are not going against the law and releasing the film without proper certification. We know the rules, we have followed them and taken care of all the processes involved. My team and I have been very careful about that. I don’t want to talk about anything in particular but we made sure we are not breaking any rules for sure.
Has the film applied for the Censor?
I don’t know why the media has been asking these questions. The 64-days process has been initiated because there is no film that can pass before following this 64-day Censor Board process. And yes, we have followed all the norms. We have done our needful and now we are waiting for the certificate. That’s it.
Someone from the Censor Board has tipped us that the film has not come for censoring yet.
I don’t know about that official thing. We are doing what we can and they are doing what they can.
Will the Censor Board be able to clear the film before April 5?
That is not my job. Everybody has their individual jobs and I am not the one to answer that. I will follow what I have been asked to do, what has been written and once it is cleared, we are blessed and we will release the film on time.
Was Vivek Anand Oberoi your first choice and was he also very keen on being a part of this project initially?
I approached him. One day I just reached his set where he was shooting for a film. He was my first choice and I went to him straight because I needed an actor who is passionate, dedicated and would give two years of his life before the film because this film requires a lot of patience.
So Vivek gave two years for this project?
Yes, we have been working on this film for quite long. We were very quiet about it because we had to pay attention to the pre-production and the writing of the film.
Where has the film been shot?
It’s been shot all over in Gujarat, in Uttrakhand, in Delhi, Mumbai and Banaras as well.
Amit Shah was supposed to be present at the poster launch, what happened there?
Manohar Parrikarji had passed away, so we couldn’t do the poster launch. So we launched it digitally.
After this, who’s biopic are you keen on making?
I have been so busy with this biopic that I had no time at all to think whose biopic I will make next or what movie I will do. I haven’t even thought if it will be a biopic, a thriller or an action film. I make one film in a year, but I make it very peacefully and concentrate on writing. Unfortunately, we don’t have many good writers in the industry and that is what the real struggle is all about.
Talking about the songs, are they recreated or original?
I love Javed (Akhtar) Saahab and Sameer Saahab. They are the most-respected lyricists of the country. I have grown up listening to their songs. I love the song Eshwar Allah, so we have used that in the film. We have also used Suno Gaur Se Duniya Walon from Dus that Sameerji has written.
Father’s Day 2019: Nitesh Tiwari reveals why fathers play an important role in his films!
In an exclusive interview, Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari talks about how a man doesn’t need to be a superhero to be a superfather
Unlike the mothers in Indian cinema, there haven’t been as many iconic father characters in Bollywood. However, Nitesh Tiwari is a filmmaker whose films – from Bhootnath Returnsto Dangal – have always had fathers play a key role or the main protagonists. In an exclusive conversation with CineBlitz, Nitesh talks about the characters that have inspired him to sketch his screen fathers and also reveals the films that make him cry each time. Excerpts:
Fathers have been the main protagonist in most of your films, where does the affection for the character come from?
Dangal is a personal experience. It was a story of these girls and their father Mahavir Singh that actually happened in real life. We had to do justice to what he had done in real life. It was not about how we think of him, but how he is in real life. Apart from that yes I create fathers in my movies. I create it on the lines of what I have observed, what I have lived and what I would what them to be. There is a personality that should come into account before creating them and not just be a character.
Who are the screen fathers that you have been inspired from?
I am in awe of three father characters – one is Dustin Hoffman from Kramer vs. Kramer, Sean Pen in I am Sam, and Roberto Benigni from Life is Beautiful. I completely relate to them as fathers because what happens with me is, I cry every time I watch Kramer vs. Kramer.Dustin Hoffman is not sort of involved in his kid’s day-to-day life. After the tragedy, he starts understanding his son and starts building a bond with him and the kind of journey they travel together. In the scene where Meryl Streep has left him and in the climax, the father and son are making the breakfast and he knows that this is the last time that they are together and he will go with his mother leaving the father behind. See you don’t need to be a superman to be a super father, you just need to do the regular things that fathers do and that is what makes you a great father.
It’s the same with I am Sam, how a mentally challenged man turns the whole world upside down for his daughter. Life is Beautiful is one of the most heartwarming story coming out of the World War and Renaissance. How the father makes sure that the son never realises what has happened and that is so beautiful and that is what every father tries to do.
Your story as a real-life father is also unique?
So, me and my wife (filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari) we take turns. When she is travelling around, I am with the kids and vice-versa. And I love spending time with my kids.
Which scene from your films do you relate to as a parent the most?
If I have to tell you a scene that I completely relate to is from Dangal, it has to be by the climax where the father who is this strict person all the while kisses his daughter’s forehead. It is so relatable that we have seen our dads being tough, but they are sweet inside. And that is what makes fathers so special. Even with my kids wherever I need I am tough on them but apart from that it’s always love. I have to do that because kids don’t really know what is right and what is wrong. Also if you ask me about my characters, Pankajji’s (Pankaj Tripathi) character from Bareily ki Barfi is also dear to me. You see him, he doesn’t need to do too many things to prove he is a good father. He takes pride in his daughter in what she is. Even with all the unconventional things she does he allows her to do. Not just allow but he is cool with it.
What do you think has changed about fathers in cinema from yesteryear till now?
Emotions are universal, there is no benchmark as to how a father should be showcased. Different people will showcase their father characters in a different way. So, I don’t think fathers were any different in the past. Fathers were always fathers! It is just the time in which they were made. Looking at the cinema now maybe there is a realistic portrayal which is closer to your life. If you ask me my favourites from the old cinema – it would be Amar Akbar Anthony or a Waqt. Maybe I cannot relate to them but they are iconic.
Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more updates.
Ankit Tiwari and Akansha Ranjan dedicate their romantic number to Alia-Ranbir and Malaika-Arjun
The music video of Ankit Tiwari’s newest song Tere Do Naina features Aparshakti Khurrana and Akansha Ranjan and they talked much about love in an exclusive chat with us – read more
A while ago Ankit Tiwari released his newest song Tere Do Naina and this romantic number has gone on to become an instant hit with music-lovers already. Gourov-Roshin has composed this melodious number that’s sung by Ankit in his soulful voice.
The song’s music video too is garnering many likes. Featuring Aparshakti Khurana, it also marks the screen debut of Akansha Ranjan. While she is seen doing hip-hop in the video, she interestingly told us that it was just one day of learning and practice that we see in the video. But that’s not all. Being Alia Bhatt’s BFF, she even dedicated this romantic number to Alia Bhatt and her beau Ranbir Kapoor. Ankit Tiwari too dedicated the romantic song to the most-talked-about couples in Bollywood currently, Malaika Arora-Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt-Ranbir Kapoor. Watch the video below:
How did you like the song Tere Do Naina and the first glimpse of Akansha Ranjan? Let us know in the comments below. Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more such exclusive interviews and updates.
Sugandha Date: I love Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, in future I would like to sing for them
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs winner Sugandha Date talks about her future plans, journey and studies, read on…
Maharashtra’s 14-year-old Sugandha Date emerged as the winner of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs on Sunday (June 9). Other than winning the title, the girl took home a trophy and prize money of Rs 5 lakhs. While Sugandha has been very happy about it, she said in an exclusive interview with CineBlitz that, “It’s a great feeling; I cannot express it in words.” Other than this she revealed what will be her future plans with singing as well as studies, she also spoke about which Bollywood actresses she would like to sing for and lots more…
Did you ever imagine winning the show?
No, I never thought so, but now it’s happened so I feel nice. I have made many people proud including my guruji. I had also participated in Indian Idol Junior when I was 8-years-old. After that, my father took a transfer for my career, and we moved to Mumbai. Then my mother requested my Indian Idol’s music coach Anand Sharma to train me, now it’s been 5 years that I am learning classical music from him. He doesn’t take any classes or fees, he only teaches me.”
What is your plan now as far as music is concerned? Any plans for playback singing?
I haven’t thought anything as of now, the journey has just begun so I have to continue learning. I also have my 10th standard, so I have to focus on studies, at the same time I want to continue with my practice. I plan to keep learning music for a few more years, and if an opportunity comes up I will take it up.
In future, if you get a chance to sing which actress would you like to croon for?
I love Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, in future if I get a chance I would like to sing for them. But there is a lot of time and hard work left for it.
On Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs, which judge was your personal favourite from Amaal Malik, Richa Sharma and Shaan?
My favourite judge was Richa (Sharma) mam, all of them were very good and we got to learn a lot from them throughout the journey.
What do you plan to do with the prize money?
I will use this Rs 5 lakh prize money for my career in the future. But I also wish to take my parents on a world tour.
When you participate in shows like these, how do you manage your studies? Do you like studying?
I manage my studies somehow. I study because I have exams to write, I like it also and it’s important too, but I like singing more. It is my passion and I want to make a career in singing.
From the entire journey, which one has been your favourite performance?
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that I sang in the grand premiere, right after my auditions was my favourite performance from the show.
We wish Sugandha Date many congratulations and all the best for the future. Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more updates.
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