Pooja Bhatts production "Cabaret", a film about the life of a cabaret dancer, is all set to make its much-delayed debut on the Internet as a web feature film on January 9. The team is glad it will reach its right audience via the medium.
The beleaguered project started in 2015 with Richa Chadha and Gulshan Devaiah in the lead. Directed by ad filmmaker Kaustav Narayan Niyogi, it was meant to be start-to-finish project that Pooja launched with much excitement.
Pooja searched and even found a newcomer to play the lead. But she finally opted for Richa.
Explaining that, Pooja said: "It was a close call. I was contemplating a newcomer for the part. And I nearly went for it. But then I realised it was too much to expect a newcomer to deliver what the character required."
Not only is the girl in the title role required to perform the traditional cabaret, she must also be a top notch dramatic actress.
Pooja said: "It's a very difficult role. Somehow Richa's face kept returning into my mind. When I mentioned her for the role, some people told me she was too desi, too much of a Delhi girl. But I feel the sensuous side of Richa is ready to be tapped. I asked her to meet me."
"Richa came straight over and said, ‘You wanted to see me about something urgent?' I told her I want her to do 'Cabaret'. We were both on the same page on this. Richa knew she'll have to work very hard to get a cabaret dancer's body language right."
Gulshan stars opposite Richa in the film.
About the director, Pooja said: "I had been asking Kaustav to direct a film for years. He finally took the plunge...I can see the crackling chemistry between Richa and Gulshan. They've set the screen on fire."
Gulshan and Richa were in the cast of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Goliyon Ki Raasleela - Ram Leela", though they didn't have many scenes together.
Pooja said she is very happy with the web release.
"What I thought then was a roadblock turned out to be the universe conspiring to give 'Cabaret' a platform that represents the future, which is now."
Pooja herself had her origins on the web.
"My launch came from 'Daddy', a film produced by Doordarshan. The industry then questioned why Mahesh Bhatt was launching his daughter in a TV film but the medium enhanced the films and ensured it still resonates in people's hearts.
"Also, Zee Telefilms and Mahesh Bhatt created a stir, and how, with 'Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee'. The satellite and digital space is where the audience for 'Cabaret' lies. A discerning lot who don't rush to the cinema hall on the first day, first show and prefer instead to consume their entertainment at their time and comfort."
Pooja feels "Cabaret" will find its right audience on the web.
"It's a simple film. Stylistic yes. But made by a first time writer/director who also composed the music of the film. He has remained true to his heart. I backed his vision and gave it flight."
"Cabaret" co-producer Rahul Mittra is confident about the positioning of "Cabaret" on the Internet.
"I'm glad that 'Cabaret' is premiering on January 9 on ZEE5 and even while it's delayed, it's getting the right platform and the fact that the trailer's getting a great response proves that good content will always find its way. Web is the future.
"What supermarkets did to small neighbourhood shops, is what digital platforms will do to cinema. Good entertaining content Will still have a draw in the cinema halls but mediocre content or less entertaining content will be rejected by consumers as entertainment consumption pattern has suddenly shifted over past 2-3 years.
"Now with a click of a button, one has access to amazing content across a wide plethora to choose from hence traditional filmmakers will have to evolve in order to cater to the palate of the newly empowered end consumer or perish."
Niyogi said: "I am truly delighted at the turn of events. 'Cabaret' is a special story. I hope our work will be appreciated by a wide audience."
Richa is equally enthused.
"'Cabaret' is going straight to digital. I am glad the producers Pooja Bhatt, Waves and T-Series have sorted all the problems. All our hard work will finally be seen by the audience."