By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network
In the world of Hindi film music and entertainment, one name has been synonymous with quality films and melodious music since nearly two decades. We are talking about Venus Films, which has in the past given us some really entertaining films like Khiladi, Baazigar, Dhadkan, Yes Boss and Josh to name a few. Mr. Ratan Jain has been one of the main persons responsible for the growth of this company from where it started till date. Now, Ratan Jain is all excited as he brings us yet another entertainer Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam which releases later this month. In an exclusive tête-à-tête with Bollywood Hungama, Mr. Jain talks about his latest film, Venus' future projects and how the future of the industry looks like.
Venus Films is back after a gap of two years with Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam. How does it feel?
It undoubtedly feels great.
Why such a long gap after your last film Aap Ki Khatir (2006)?
The gap is simply because I didn't come across the right project to start work on.
Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam is quite a wacky title. What is the film all about? Also are you a big fan of the original classic Mughal-e-Azam?
Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam is basically a comedy. However, let me make it clear that my film has got nothing to do with Mughal-e-Azam. Everyone knows that Mughal-e-Azam is a classic and a great film but as far as my film is concerned, Mughal-e-Azam is the name of a play which is performed by a theatre group.
How do you think the film has shaped up?
The film has shaped up as per my expectations and I feel very good about it.
Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat's magic worked big time in Pyar Ke Side Effects. Do you think they can recreate the same chemistry and magic all over again in this film?
I think they can even better what they did in PKSE because this time they also have actors like Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon for company.
Venus' films are known for its music. With Anu Malik at the helm of things this time around, how do you think has the music of Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam evolved?
The music of the film is already out and it is indeed very good. We have got 4 songs and all the songs are really nice. There is a song called 'Jab…Pyar Kiya Toh' which we have recreated, but it's a completely different and original composition. The songs are very contemporary.
How has been the experience working with Mallika Sherawat?
Mallika has been a thorough professional. She is really hard-working and has performed her part very well in the film.
Sanjay Chhel is known to be a great writer; however his directorial ventures (Khoobsurat and Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa) haven't worked at the B.O. Does that bother you?
Sanjay is really talented. Even he has directed a film after a long time. This time he has worked very hard on the script. Ultimately anyone who knows to make a film can make a good film any time.
Venus usually distributes its own films but this tine you have tied up with Moser Baer. Why so?
See it all depends on the offer you get. I got a good offer from Moser Baer so I decided to sell the film to them for distribution. They are distributing the film both here and overseas, however the music rights stay with us.
How has been the experience working with Moser Baer?
Very nice. We are sharing the whole promotion and publicity work with them but the release will be handled solely by them.
Venus was one of the leaders in the 90's but you have been a little low profile off-late. Why so?
Not really…we have made a lot of good and successful films in the recent past like Garam Masala, Hulchul etc…As I told you one needs to have a good script before starting a film. Hence, we have been working on that.
You have been one of the veterans in this industry. Over the last 5 - 6 years, a lot of corporate companies have entered Bollywood and are pumping huge amounts of money. What do you have to say about this new and emerging trend?
It's a nice thing actually. The film industry is growing and has been receiving a lot of money because of them. They have shown a new path be it in production or distribution to people who were already in this business. So even the existing players who have been around for a while need to gear up and be aware of the changes happening around them.
These days it's become quite a norm for some production houses and studios to announce films by the dozen. Most of these films also star some really big names. Do you think it is sustainable in the long run?
I think this is how the corporate culture functions. They do believe in mass production. To be honest, signing somebody and announcing a film is no big deal but many at times even before the film actually starts, some things happen and the project never takes off. Hence, ultimately what matters is how many of these films actually go on floors and finally sees the light of the day.
Where do you see the Hindi film industry headed in the next few years?
It is definitely going to grow a lot. The business is rising day by day both in the domestic market as well as overseas; with new players entering the market and the growth of multiplexes, I am sure things are only going to get better in the near future
The film industry also has seen a lot of new talented actors making their presence felt. Who has managed to draw your attention?
I happened to watch Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na recently and must say Imran Khan is very promising. I haven't yet got a chance to watch Harman's film but considering the fact that he has signed some big films, even his future looks really bright.
Recently which films have you enjoyed and liked?
Jaane Tu…Ya Jaana Na is a really nice film
With a lot of new and talented directors entering Bollywood, which one of them has managed to impress you?
There are a lot of them. Abbas Tyrewala really impressed with his debut film Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na and even Aamir was superb in his directorial debut Taare Zameen Par
Your company is also producing the Mallika Sherawat- Irrfan Khan starrer Naagin- the Snake Woman to be directed by Hollywood based Jennifer Lynch. Tell us about that film.
Yes, we are co-producing Naagin starring Mallika Sherawat and Irrfan Khan. It will be directed by Hollywood director Jennifer Lynch. The film will be made in Hindi and English. I was more interested in distributing the Hindi version but now we have rights for both with us. We may have some Hollywood company to release the film for us overseas. The film go on floors this month end but will release sometime next year since special effects and post production will take nearly 3 - 4 months.
Let's talk about some of Venus Films' future projects. What's in store next?
I am starting a film with Priyadarshan starring Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Paresh Rawal along with 3 heroines. The heroines are yet to be finalized. It's a comedy but doesn't have any similarity or connection to Hera Pheri series. Besides this, we have signed some directors like Sanjay Khanduri (Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local) but it's too early to talk about the film as its still in the scripting stages.
On a closing note, you had earlier announced plans of making a sequel to your super hit films Khiladi and Baazigar. What's the status on that front? A lot of fans are really waiting to watch that.
(Laughs) I am already talking to my directors (Abbas-Mustan) and even they are working on finding the right script. Without there right script, we can't even approach any of the actors. Very soon we will be announcing a project with Abbas-Mustan.