Debutant filmmaker Manish Tiwary is a thrilled man. His small film Dil Dosti Etc. has not just recovered its costs within two week's of its release; it has also made some neat profits for itself. That's commendable considering the fact that it came at the time (month of September) when a dozen of odd films had released but with little success except for Dhol or Johnny Gaddaar (which garnered immense critical acclaim).
He chats up with Joginder Tuteja about life post Dil Dosti Etc. and how it feels to have a sweet little success under his belt in his very first outing behind the camera. "The very first Friday when the film opened was a great day for me. Without thinking too much about the box office prospects or what the critics would have to say about the film, I was just enjoying the feeling of seeing Dil Dosti Etc. out there at theaters", says Manish.
Some scathing reviews must have hurt? "On the contrary I was smiling from ear to ear", discloses Manish, "Yes, reviews were mixed and at least a couple of them were pretty scathing. But what made me and the production house as well as distributors/exhibitors smile was the fact that the film was appreciated by those who saw it first."
Talking further about how word of mouth was responsible for the film's subsequent success, Manish says, "The news started making the rounds that the film was a different experience of its own kind in spite of carrying a realistic touch to it. Not just Mumbai, even places like Delhi, Pune, and Indore etc. had people spreading positive vibes about the film. Result was that collections only improved with every passing day and by the time first weekend was through, the film found its deserving audience."
With youth, especially the student community, giving a Thumbs Up to the film, could it also be attributed to the fact that the language spoken in Dil Dosti Etc. was rooted to campus life; something they could identify as their own?
"For that I have to be grateful to the Censors. We had a conversation with Sharmila Tagore and explained our point of view. We knew that the language of our film was strong. Neither Prakash (Jha) nor me wanted the film to be given a U/A certificate; even we wanted the A certificate.
Also, there was no point to have those annoying beeps to come in the narrative. Thankfully Censors did agree to what we wanted to convey and passed the film with A certificate without any cuts. We have been lucky as it has been a healthy diversion in the kind of cinema we can see on screen now. Also, in the worst of reviews that the film has got, no one has called Dil Dosti Etc. sleazy!"
Coming to his lead actors in the film, while Shreyas has more or less been appreciated all over, Imaad Shah has come under fire for looking a little lazy and laidback.
"If some people feel so then it means that the purpose of having Imaad in the film is solved", Manish is quick to come at the young actor's defense, "We had to showcase a young boy who was trying to find a number of solutions in love, friendship and life in general. Some people got the point; some didn't! He is a very good actor and it was the requirement of the character to act the way he did. Having said that, it was quite below the belt in the way he has been called names. Just not required!"
So how is his film holding up in the fourth week? "It has been a heartening run so far", says the excited film maker who is looking forward to getting started with his next project, "Of course we are towards the last leg now. This Friday numerous films are releasing so the print count would go down and DVDs/VCDs would be ready for a launch. Still, for a small movie like this to run at near equal shows in the first two weeks of it's run and make it's presence felt in centers across the country at limited prints in the third and the fourth week, it is a win in itself."
"There have been calls from a couple of reputed producers though I would term the subjects as very Bollywood-ish", reveals Manish, "I am looking at offers currently and still trying to edge into the system. I can't expect people to garland me with blank cheques at the moment, right?"