“I Knew Tumb­bad Would Be A Suc­cess.”

Stardust (English) - - COURT MARTIAL -

So­hum Shah has been act­ing in films since 2010, how­ever, he got his first big break in the film Ship of Th­e­seus which he also pro­duced. Since then, he’s ap­peared in more main­stream suc­cesses like Tal­var and Sim­ran and gave a crit­i­cally lauded per­for­mance in Tumb­bad. Read on…

Did you ex­pect Tumb­bad to be such a big suc­cess? Yeah, def­i­nitely, I ex­pected at least that much. I knew Tumb­bad would be a suc­cess. We’d been mak­ing the film for six years and we be­lieved that ‘ haan, iss film mein def­i­nitely kuch naya hai’. And we wanted it to get to a wider au­di­ence and work at the box-of­fice. So we did work with the mind­set of mak­ing the film a big suc­cess.

The movie took six years to make! What chal­lenges did you face while mak­ing this movie? A lot of chal­lenges. When Rahi (Anil Barve) showed me the script, main uchchal padha tha! I’d never seen a film like this be­fore. And I won­dered why no one had made some­thing like this be­fore and I de­cided to go with it. That’s when I ac­tu­ally re­alised why it hadn’t been done be­fore - it was such an In­dian, rooted tale. Daadi maa ki ka­haani jaisi movie thi. When you make a fea­ture film of it, work­ing on the VFX can re­ally drain you. Like when the film called for rain, it was hard to cre­ate that mood. We shot in 3-4 mon­soon sea­sons. The film keeps evolv­ing through­out. Writ­ing took a lot of

time, edit­ing took a lot of time. We were writ­ing while the film was on the edit ta­ble. There was never any­thing we could use for ref­er­ence, when we started it back then and not even now once it’s done. It was such a unique kind of film that I think that’s what took up so much time.

Did you ever at any point feel like giv­ing up on the film? No, yaar, that never hap­pened. I al­ways knew that I wanted to keep mak­ing movies and if I gave up on this, what would I do? What can I make bet­ter that would be than this? This is such an amaz­ing script and story, what could I pos­si­bly make that would top this? I never thought of giv­ing up. No doubt at many points we did think it was painful and frus­trat­ing. But we al­ways had that faith that this film would work and reach the masses be­cause there was some­thing so fresh about it.

What was the mo­tive for start­ing your own ban­ner, Re­cy­cle­wala Films? There was no mo­tive as such. When Ship of Th­e­seus was hav­ing such a hard time be­ing made, I de­cided that I had the re­sources so I could make the film. I came from a busi­ness back­ground and had a good un­der­stand­ing of the busi­ness, so I de­cided to take the film up my­self. Even when Tumb­bad came, I didn’t want to let go of such a phe­nom­e­nal op­por­tu­nity as a pro­ducer. I never had a spe­cific in­ten­tion with Re­cy­cle­wala Films, I just came here to be an ac­tor and had no in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a busi­ness out of it. But it never al­ways goes the way you think it will.

You choose off-beat films like Sim­ran,T al­var, Ship of Th­e­seus and Tumb­bad. Why? Pata nahin yaar, I grew up watch­ing Shah Rukh Khan! (laughs) It’s prob­a­bly my des­tiny, what I wanted and what ended up hap­pen­ing. I think Ship of Th­e­seus was a lit­tle more off­beat, but the rest are pretty ac­ces­si­ble and com­mer­cial. Al­though the line be­tween com­mer­cial and off-beat is blur­ring nowa­days. Con­tent is the king now and I feel that all these films ful­fil that cri­te­ria. I def­i­nitely want to ex­plore more films with more drama, more com­edy. So far des­tiny ne mu­jhe yahi of­fer kiya hai, but jo bhi of­fer kiya hai I’m very happy with. I’ve made some good films.

Would you ever want to do a more com­mer­cially ori­ented Bol­ly­wood film ala Shah Rukh Khan? Yes, of course, I’ve grown up with Bol­ly­wood. I want to make all kinds of movies, ac­tion, drama, com­edy, melo­drama. I’m just wait­ing for a good script which seems in­ter­est­ing enough to make. But I would def­i­nitely make any kind of film.

You run a real-es­tate busi­ness to fi­nance your film ca­reer. Could you tell us more about that? I came from a small place called Sri Gan­gana­gar. At that point, all we dreamed of was mak­ing money. My fa­ther made just enough for food and cloth­ing. When I was 14, I started my jour­ney by as­sist­ing my fa­ther with his work. I worked grad­u­ally and I even­tu­ally cre­ated a realestate town­ship. At that point, I thought I was done and I had ful­filled my re­spon­si­bil­ity of earn­ing money. It was time I go to Bom­bay and chase my dreams. I fi­nally moved and ex­panded my busi­ness. Then Ship of Th­e­seus hap­pened, which I pro­duced. That’s how it all hap­pened.

Con­sid­er­ing the kind of films you’re into, what sort of movies would you like to see com­ing out of In­dia in the next few years? We should have more films like Woody Allen’s, I find his con­cepts so in­ter­est­ing. I’m work­ing on a film like that now, ac­tu­ally, al­though it’s just in the writ­ing phase. But let’s see how it works out.

So­hum Shah is a Bol­ly­wood star on the rise who is cham­pi­oning the con­tent-driven mar­ket. Post the mas­sive ac­claim for his lat­est Tumb­bad, So­ham talks to Ahad San­wari about his small town be­gin­nings, film­ing in pro­duc­tion hell and Bol­ly­wood as­pi­ra­tions.

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