Bhavna Talwar's debut film Dharm has not only brought breathtaking acclaim for the director and her leading man Pankaj Kapur, it's also about to bring together the duo in a most unexpected clasp of creativity. Pankaj will be the screenplay writer for Bhavna's forthcoming project.
Revealing this startling aspect to the diminutive dynamo's talents Bhavna says, "Not too many people know Pankajji is an immensely gifted writer. He has written many stories. And if things had gone well he'd have directed many of them himself. I happened to see one of his stories and decided to direct it. It's called Awasthi and it's about the loneliness of a man in Mumbai."
Of course Pankaj will play the main part himself. "Awasthi without Pankaj is an unimaginable as Dharm without him. Really I wouldn't have made my first film if Pankaj Kapur hadn't agreed to play the main part."
Dharm for all its acclaim has been received lukewarmly at the box-office. "I and my husband (Sheetal Talwar who produced Dharm) knew we were making a film that won't get an instant audience. We were okay with that. No matter what the film's outcome, I'll never sell-out, never make films that don't come from the conscience."
In fact Bhavna has two other projects lined up. "One is a film based on a very ancient and revered tradition in Kerala where a Dalit is made a Brahmin for just one day-obviously a volatile subject that goes into the socio-political fabric of our society. I guess it's the way me and my sister Aanchal have been brought up. Our father has always kept the doors of our home open to thought provoking ideas. I also want to direct a short story by Saadat Hassan Manto which has fascinated me for some time. It's set during the freedom struggle. It obviously requires flush funding."
The funds for Bhavna's cinema come from a very unusual route in Japan. "Peter Anshin runs Asia Entertainment Finance Associates - a company set up to bring US film financing practices, processes and production methods to Asian films. President of AEFA and the Asia representative of Gold Circle Pictures (producer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Peter has been one of the first Hollywood- based finance and legal specialists to see the potential to produce and distribute Asian content in international markets by implementing western film production, finance and sales business structures in Asia."
Says Bhavna, "Peter is a shareholder in and sits on the board of my husband's production company WSG Pictures and has been responsible for ensuring that Dharm gets the international market that it deserves. Peter has been instrumental in ensuring that WSG is involved in international projects and aligned with sales agents and producers of repute internationally. He's currently looking at spending about 50% of his time in developing the Indian film market for non-conventional international audiences."
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