Producer GAURANG DOSHI, who had made Aankhen, tells Senior Journalist JYOTHI VENKATESH in this exclusive telephonic interview for CINE BLITZ that his father Vinod Doshi and Amitabh Bachchan had become like India and Pakistan after they had a difference of opinion during the making of Naastik but he played the peacemaker and zeroed in on Big B for his Aankhen.
As a producer, you have always been very frank and forthright!
I know I have been frank but people mistook it for arrogance and rudeness. Sach to Sach hota hai. I do not mind being called arrogant and rude as long as I know I am not.
You are coming up with a grand web series titled ‘7th Sense’. Can you please tell me something about it?
I am all set to make not just one but two mega web series-7th Sense and Line of Fire. All the artists who will be acting in the web series 7th Sense have been locked. I’m going to release my web series after Eid. We have already shot three songs which could be rightly termed the first collaboration in the world. Hollywood and Bollywood will collaborate on this. We are trying to change the face of the OTT platform also because nothing is exciting except web series like Inside Edge, Family Man, Mirzapur, etc. There are hardly a few which you can name. That is why we have got the A-listers of Hollywood Bollywood. And with that, we are entering the music industry also because that’s a very again a huge market. It’s an unbelievable market.
Are you planning a music company?
Yes. I hold the rights of all the labels with me for the songs which we are currently shooting. All the rights belong to me and we are releasing them on various platforms. We will be coming out with our channel also. And yes, almost more than 300 platforms are there where we will be releasing like Spotify, Apple, etc.
What is this passion that you have for Ms. Universe since earlier you were associated with Miss Universe Sushmita in Aankhen and now with Miss Universe Urvasi Rautela in your music video?
Urvasi Rautela is a very good dancer. Also, she has a great number of followers. And we know each other for a long time. I also intend to sign Sushmita Sen for her comeback project shortly
When I say that it was not a complaint but a compliment!
I know that it is always a compliment. Also, it’s a fusion of Hollywood and Hollywood together so that we cover the universal market also. We can lift the music also because only one kind of music is coming up which is wholly Punjabi.
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Is it available only in English or Hindi?
No, it’s fusion music. It’s Bollywood and Hollywood that is Hindi and English both together for the very first time in the entire universe. I have sold it to Amazon, Universal, and Netflix. It was quite tough to make Hollywood rappers and singers agree because honestly, they don’t consider Bollywood because they are not in that zone of things. They have kept their credibility unlike our Bollywood actors who are ready to go to any wedding and mundane and dance for money and hence they’re very different because that’s why their downloads are also in billions. So it has made a big difference with the downloads in billions.
Surprisingly you have not taken up direction!
Though I have not done direction directly, everybody knows that I only direct behind the curtains. And there is a lot on my platter now. I have to deal with a lot of things like coordination, arranging private charters, and arranging their entourages. And there is hardly any time too which is so valuable. The foreign artists don’t give more than 4 or 5 hours for the shoot. So, we have to be ready with all the setups, multiple cameras, etc.
Have you completed all the segments of your music video?
With Honey and Little Pump, we have completed the song produced by Honey who has composed it. Then on that, we have the post-production. In one month, it will be released 100%. This song is released in June when Jason reloads.
When will you make the web series 7th Sense?
I’m going on the floors by August 1. We will shoot the promotional track also of the web series 7th Sense and follow it up with an 80 days shoot. We are also planning to make Aankhen Returns. We have changed the title from Aankhen 2 to Ankhen Returns. I still feel that it is not the time to launch films now
Can you reveal the names?
I will reveal the names of all the actors who I have signed. It’s obvious I only do multi-star casts so the continuity will mean I will be starting next year. This year I still feel that you know, the audience needs a little more time to settle to come back to the pre-Covid original state because even China right now is not in the right position. Russia is having war. I will be starting my film Happy Anniversary too which Neeraj and I have written. It is on divorce and relationships.
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Who inspired you to enter this field?
I was very small of course and had put in my mind everything I’d learned from my father Vinod Doshi. First, he made me a spot boy and I was always obviously thinking so why was he doing this to me and whether I was the son of his neighbor. But it was always the ground level that taught me everything because from that ground level when I came from, I was assisting directors like J.P. Dutta, and Indra Kumar.
My dad taught me all the production and complete details because he was genuinely a master of it and he made Sachcha Jhutha. He never had an office but he taught me that real producer should know how to make the films the way he made films including Faulad, Blackmail, Nastik, Beta, and Raja. I made Bawandar with Jagmohan Mundra as the director and Deewar and got seven international national awards and then things started coming up well.
How did Big B agree to work with you in Aankhen after dad fought with him?
Dad and I were like India and Pakistan and it was I who made a truce with Amitji because he had sworn not to work with my dad after there was some problem when he was acting in my dad’s Naastik. He made 5 films. I started my innings with Aankhen I always consider that I had begun with my dad’s film Sachcha Jhutha because it was his funding.
What did you learn from Manmohan Desai?
Manmohan Desai who directed Sachcha Jhutha for dad had taught me that if I were to remain happy, I should make only multi-star cast films like he was doing.
How happy are you with your journey as a producer-director?
I am very happy because everybody has appreciated the good things. After all, whatever I did I did with my passion and I always believed in content and not making money. I believe in content, multi-star cast, and screenplay are my biggest heroes and it is my motto to always give people different kinds of films. That is why actors always support me heartily.
Coming to OTT do you think OTT will be bigger?
Digital is going to be the big future. OTT will act as a scavenger and cleanse the entire film industry. However, films will find it tougher and face problems, as I feel that you can release your small films in OTT but only big films in theatres. I see the film industry going huge with everything being grand and gigantic.
Are you open to making films in Gujarati as well as TV serials?
I am not boasting but then I can’t think small. I always think big. Frankly ‘saas bahu’ dramas are not at all my cup of tea. I have so much time at all to think of making Gujarati films or for that matter romantic films as of now because though in personal life I am very romantic, I cannot bring myself to produce romantic films. (Laughs).