It's difficult to accept failure. Not many producers or directors have the courage to accept the fact that the paying public have rejected their film even before the first week collections have been printed in the trade magazines.
But Mani Shankar, director of RUDRAKSH, is an exception.
Currently filming TANGO CHARLIE [Ajay Devgan, Bobby Deol, Tanisha with Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty in special appearances] in Manali, Mani has come to terms with the fact that the audiences have rejected his sci-fi venture. The viewer is the king. If they [the audiences] have rejected my film, it only means that something was seriously wrong with my work. I need to learn from my mistakes and move ahead in life, Mani tells me.
So what went wrong? Did he try to introspect or analyse? May be, the storytelling didn't appeal. But I refuse to accept the criticism directed towards the generous usage of Sanskrit in the film. It would be wrong to pinpoint that as the reason for its downfall. Didn't people accept lengthy dialogues in Sanskrit in TV serials such as RAMAYAN and MAHABHARAT? he reasons.
However, Mani strongly feels that the disapproving reviews the film generated by reputed critics killed its prospects completely. He does sound hurt when he broaches the topic himself. The media killed my film. The reviews were extremely damaging, which in turn harmed the box-office prospects of the film, he maintains.
Mani continues in the same breath, I can't make films with oft-repeated themes, such as two guys falling in love with the same girl or singing around trees kind of a love story. At least RUDRAKSH wasn't a routine formulaic film presented in a new garb. Irrespective of its box-office outcome, RUDRAKSH remains a sincere effort that went against the stereotype.
Mani also refutes allegations that the film went over-budget by leaps and bounds thanks to the kind of money he spent on the special effects. That's ridiculous! RUDRAKSH isn't a Rs. 40 crore movie. Let's not compare it with LORD OF THE RINGS or MATRIX. Keeping the remuneration of the artistes' aside, the cost of RUDRAKSH was barely Rs. 5.5 crores. That includes the amount spent on the sets and effects. And the kind of effects we've depicted, I'm sure even the West would be eager to know how we managed such results within that kind of a budget, he says.
Mani seems to have put RUDRAKSH behind him and is now concentrating on his new project TANGO CHARLIE.
It's different from 16 DECEMBER or RUDRAKSH, Mani divulges, TANGO CHARLIE tells the story of an unknown soldier, Tarun Chauhan [Bobby Deol]. It's the story of his success, failure, agony, ecstasy, the highs, the lows in his life. Ajay Devgan enacts the role of Bobby's guru in the film, who teaches him to kill for the first time.
But what prompted him to opt for a title like TANGO CHARLIE? What is its relevance with the story? When soldiers go for field operations, they're given code names, like Ajay is Alpha or Tarun Chauhan is Tango Charlie. But I'd like to clarify that TANGO CHARLIE is not a war film. You won't find Pak-bashing or jingoism here. It is an action film with a powerful, gripping story, he reveals.
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