Jayantilal Gada, of PEN India Ltd, is on cloud nine after delivering two big hits of 2022 so far – Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and S S Rajamouli’s RRR. The self-made man also was in the news after he threw one of the biggest parties in recent time, to celebrate his 60th birthday. A week later, he organized another bash to celebrate RRR’s success. Some of the biggest names graced these events and spoke highly of Jayantilal Gada’s passion for work and positive attitude.
EXCLUSIVE: “RRR Hindi lifetime will be in the range of Rs. 275-300 crore; it will CROSS the collections of The Kashmir Files” – Jayantilal Gada
In an exclusive detailed interview with Bollywood Hungama, Jayanitlal Gada talks about these parties, the super-success of Gangubai Kathiawadi and RRR, why does he think John Abraham’s Attack didn’t work and his upcoming release as a distributor, Jersey, starring Shahid Kapoor.
Were you confident that RRR would work so well at the box office? And what do you have to say about Attack’s underperformance?
Since day 1, we were confident that RRR would work big time. Not just RRR, I was sure even of Gangubai Kathiawadi and Attack. For us, Attack is a profitable venture. Agreed that it didn’t do that well at the box office. Maybe, one can say that we got the release date wrong. Or maybe, it’s because our other film RRR was going very strong in week 2, when Attack released. Toh yeh galtiyaan hone waali hai aur yeh galtiyaan karni bhi padegi!
Attack bahut acchi picture bani hai. The concept was quite new. Those who will now watch it on satellite or digital will be very happy.
What do you think will be the lifetime net domestic collections of RRR in Hindi?
RRR Hindi lifetime will be in the range of Rs. 275-300 crore. Even after KGF - Chapter 2’s release, it’ll continue to sustain.
Do you think that RRR’s Hindi version will manage to go beyond the earnings of The Kashmir Files?
Yes, RRR will cross the collections of The Kashmir Files.
You were present at the press show of RRR with us and you revealed that it was the first time you were watching the film. Even in the past, Karan Johar had revealed that he had not seen Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion (2017) and he had no answer to the much-asked question that why Katappa killed Baahubali! Why do you think the South filmmakers do not show the film in advance, especially to those who are stakeholders in the project?
I don’t know but I anyway don’t watch the film before hand. Believe it or not, maine aaj tak ek bhi shooting nahi dekhi! Gangubai Kathiawadi’s set was put up in Mumbai but I didn’t visit. Sanjay ji ko milna hai toh chale gaye, yeh baat alag hai. However, I have never gone to see the shooting. Even if we see the film in advance, hum bhagwan toh nahi hai. How will we predict the box office outcome? Therefore, this is how our journey has been and will be the same even later on. So not just us but even our partners, whom we sold the film like Netflix, Zee and Star, had not seen RRR before the release.
The discussion going around on social media and even in the industry that Bollywood can’t come up with films like RRR. Do you think the success of Pushpa and RRR is a wake-up call to our industry?
I see this differently. Earlier, we used to segregate industries like Bollywood, Tollywood etc. S S Rajamouli ji ne sabko ek kar diya by making it clear that we are Indians that we are making an Indian film. And this is huge. In fact, if you see, S S Rajamouli has given us a new challenge that we need to go beyond RRR now and that our makers need to make a better film than RRR. Yeh sab ke liye acchi baat hai. This is how the industry will move forward. Even in the olden days, this must have happened. For example, after the release of Sholay, people must have desired to make a bigger film than the Ramesh Sippy-directorial. Same with Mother India. In today’s times, filmmakers would consider RRR as the benchmark
Will PEN India work with S S Rajamouli in his forthcoming film?
When he plans his next, we’ll surely discuss it with him.
In less than 45 days, PEN India managed to release three films successfully in cinemas…
We are happy with all the three films. In terms of numbers, RRR is the biggest. Lekin agar dekhne jaaye toh humko respect Gangubai Kathiawadi se mili. It’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali who gave our company recognition. Sanjay Leela Bhansali agar hamare saath kaam nahi karte toh ho sakta hai ki S S Rajamouli bhi na karte. Ho sakta hai Shankar bhi na karte. Hence, we respect Sanjay Leela Bhansali the most. From our side, we gave him the best service. No division of PEN India gave him a difficult time, be it in marketing, distribution or finance. We are not makers, and we’ll never be one. We are and will always be rights aggregators. And this is how we’ll associate with creative minds. Sometimes, we also end up taking decisions emotionally. At times, are aware that a film entails losses for us. Aise logon ko bhi humne support kiya hai. Yeh hamari badi khasiyat hai.
Do you mean to say that you have backed movies for the sake of friendship?
Yes. It helped us forge long lasting bonds and we all saw the result of it when we organized parties recently. One was the RRR success bash and the other was to celebrate my 60th birthday and the successful release of Gangubai Kathiawadi, RRR and Attack. In parties mein logon ka pyaar dikha. RRR ke party mein dono stars Ram Charan aur Jr NTR itni takleef leke bhi aaye. Ram Charan is undergoing diksha and yet, he graced the event. So it’s a big thing for us that we have earned these relationships. Also, not a single star or director has complained about your team. For us, this matters a lot.
Do you feel Attack should have been released on April 8 instead of April 1? The belief is that it got affected due to the RRR wave, which had been released just a week before Attack…
It was a collective call to release on April 1. Yeh bol sakte hai ki RRR ne usko maara. Lekin humein koi dikkat nahi hai. RRR mein paise aaye, isse humein khushi milti hai! Attack mein paise aate toh aur khushi hoti. Attack got fewer footfalls. But our digital and satellite partners will benefit from it as those who didn’t see Attack on the big screen will now watch it in their homes. That also makes us happy.
When will Attack release on OTT?
As of now, the plan is to release it on Zee5 after 8 weeks. But there are chances of it getting preponed.
Despite the underperformance of Attack in theatres, will the sequel still be made?
Of course. The plan is on. The story is being finalized and work is going on in full swing.
PEN India also has acquired the Hindi dubbed version of Acharya, starring Chiranjeevi in the lead and RRR star Ram Charan in a cameo, which releases on April 29? Will it release in cinemas, alongside Heropanti 2 and Runway 34?
We are thinking of not releasing it in Hindi in cinemas. We want to give the film more mileage on digital. Till now, we haven’t sold the rights to any OTT platform. Ram Charan ki market ab bahut badi ho gayi hai. Hence, in our opinion, this film is of prime importance for the digital premiere.
Is there a possibility that maybe the Hindi version of Acharya can release in cinemas a week after the release of the original Telugu version, on May 6?
We have not taken a call yet. We’ll watch the film first and then decide.
Recently, it came to light that two of the biggest multiplex chains, Inox and PVR, are set for a merger. As a producer and distributor, are you happy with this historic development?
It’s a good call and as produces, it doesn’t affect. Till now, we are having discussions with both the multiplexes. Now, we need to discuss it with only one party! So it’ll be easier for us and hence, it’s a good thing for the industry.
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