Shanghai has opened to some of the best reviews since Raj Kumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai. Your reaction to the reviews?
I am stunned. I did not expect this.
Sadly the box office figures do not reflect the breathtaking critical response to Shanghai. How do you respond to the masses embracing Rowdy Rathore far more enthusiastically than Shanghai? Would you say it's the triumph of commercialism over a more serious cinematic voice?
Here are the facts. And I'm so so so glad you asked this question!
Friday: The film opened better than Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar - two most impressive surprise hits of the year so far. Saturday: 45% jump after the ecstatic reviews. Sunday: 30% jump over Saturday with house full afternoon shows.
Overall, minimum weekend Distributor Share projections (independent) basis current figures: 15 crores. Satellite sold for 8.5 Cr. Total returns so far - 23.5 Crores.
Overall cost of the film PLUS marketing - 19 Crores.
As the above two lines demonstrate - Shanghai is already in the black without any overseas, home video or other rights being counted.
Kalki Koechlin's performance has been uniformly panned. She's accused of being stereotyped as the traumatized woman. Comment.
(In a raised voice) Ok. This is a challenge for all critics. Two hours after making love to your lover/spouse/partner/secret paramour, you see him or her being hit and mowed down by a truck in front of your eyes. Now smile. No, seriously, smile.
Shalini Sahay is traumatized to the extent of becoming unhinged. And it's because of her relentless quest for revenge that the plot of Shanghai emerges. If Kalki had not had the courage to not play up to the sexual stereotype that we expect from a female lead today, we would have been panned for having a slightly muddle- headed plot.
You sound defensive?
I'm up to every sort of criticism. I can see hundred more faults in my film than anyone else can but this one about Kalki, I only have scorn for. It's like saying when a man loses his temper he is being assertive. When a woman does so she's pms-ing! Those who want to see the lead heroine doing precious else but simper, please watch something else. Those who want to see a lead actress carrying a film on her shoulders without giving any thought to her sexuality please watch Kalki in Shanghai. And please - please- let's not confuse Kalki's character with her acting. It's because she nails Shalini head -on that she threatens you! It's like saying, "God! The villain was so scary I can't stand him!" Well the villain acted well for Christ sake! Kalki acted a contrary person. At loggerheads with the world. But she, only she is the character who is doing things with true courage and no material advantage in mind. She remains my personal triumph as a true character and if you don't like her, I don't like you.
On the other hand critics say it's a new beginning for Emraan Hashmi. But how would he be encouraged to do more experimental roles when Shanghai doesn't get the same response as Jannat 2?
Emraan needs no encouragement from anyone except his own instincts. He acted in Shanghai against many people's advice. He smiled and told me that many would not like this one to succeed. As the figures are coming in, we know that the laugh is on our side. Emraan will do exactly what he wants. He is already acting with many A-list directors in really prestigious projects. And if this one does not have the collections of Jannat and The Dirty Picture and many others, what does it logically say? That it's Dibakar who is the X factor who made Shanghai different from Emraan's other films. So the brickbats are all for me and I accept them with full perverse glee!
Your brilliant film is an expose on rampant industrialization and globalization. Decades ago B R Chopra's Naya Daur also spoke about the uprooting of rural India by unscrupulous industrialists. Are you anti-globalization?
I'm anti -injustice. And also pro- development as long as it is true, intelligent development that is flexible, inclusive and pro-weak and not dumbass and short- sighted which it frequently is.
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