A question has been pestering me for quite some years now ''Who is to blame when good cinema does not do good business?'' I've come to a conclusion of late. The answer is - the audience.
The fate of cinema, good or bad, lies fair and square on the audience. Hence I find it amusing/sad/frustrating when I hear comments like 'it was a good film, but it didn't do well'. I'm writing this piece with the hope that the people reading it would atleast start a change. To further my point, a few more questions. Why did GULAAL not do well? Why did BLACK FRIDAY not do well? Why did HAZAARON KHWAHISHEIN AISI not do well? So on and so forth...
Now a request. Please don't make me ask this question, ''why did SANKAT CITY not do well?!'' Sankat City is a film that is not only thoroughly entertaining but also an intelligent piece of work - a rare combination. This film might, against all odds, prove the fact that a non-stop mad/nonsensical/funny/entertaining film can also be intelligent.
For me it is the first time that I have attempted working in this kind of a genre. Now what genre it is, is for the pundits and the analysts to decide. But one thing I can guarantee you, that you would be entertained to the edge of your seat. The film has motley of extremely talented actors, including veterans like Anupam Kher. If there is any person who comes out of the theatre after seeing the film and does not have a smile or a giggle on his or her face, needs to seriously consult a psychiatrist.
For me personally it was a roller-coaster ride. I have attempted many aspects of performance for the first time in this film. Never before have I attempted so many long scenes in one shot. Never before have I felt the seamless energy running through the performance, namely because of the long one-shot scenes, akin to what I used to experience on stage. Never before have the high points of a scene revealed themselves to me while performing, rather than having some idea of it before attempting the scene. Never before have I attempted a Woody Allenish sense of comedy. Never before have I seen in Hindi films so many long one-shot scenes, so effectively done by the director and the cinematographer. Never before have I shot for a whole day in a garbage dump-yard. Never before have I shot in more than 50 locations for a film. Never before have I done an out-and-out physical comedy.
The director's technique of shooting the film allowed each one of us as actors to improvise whole-heartedly within the parameters of the narrative, so much so, that we often surprised ourselves. And this didn't pertain itself just to shooting, it extended even into the dubbing process.
This film has helped me discover more facets of acting, which I didn't know, existed within me. Very few films which are funny and mad at the script level render themselves to be equally mad and funny on celluloid. SANKAT CITY is one of them. In fact, it is madder!
So, coming back to my first point, it is upto the audience to elevate the standard of cinema in our country. Trust me, there are fantastic filmmakers that exist here. Give them a chance to make superior cinema. All you have got to do is to promote and patronize good cinema, the same way you promote and patronize bad films.
We can do only as much as making an excellent film. To nurture it is your prerogative. Please don't let us ask that question again, ''who is to blame when good cinema does not do good business''.
We promise to keep making good cinema, provided you promise to be a good audience. I hope you wouldn't let us down this time.
''Kabhi dhobi ke ooper gadha baitha dekha hai? Yahaan dikhega. Aur bhagwaan ke peechche shaitan? Woh bhi dikhega. Welcome to Sankat City.''