New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Well-known documentary filmmaker Ashvin Kumar, who had to wait for four years to release his first feature film "The Forest", says the unsystematic distribution system in the industry is the reason behind such a long delay that is often killing good content-based cinema.
"For the last four years, I have been walking to every door to release the film. There are many companies in Bollywood who made me wait for a year or so, and then they backed out. So you can imagine how much time I spent to get the distributors," Kumar told IANS in an interview.
Kumar has merged complications of human relationship with wildlife in "The Forrest", a triangular love story with a subplot of a man-eating leopard. It will hit the screens across April 13. Nandana Sen, Ankur Vikal and Javed Jaffrey are playing the lead roles in the movie.
"There is very, very good space for content-based cinema here, we just need to train our country. Today everybody is running after the star but what about content-based cinema?
"Filmmaker like Anurag Kashyap had to wait for years to release 'Gulaal' and now me. I had to wait for four years. Despite content-based cinema doing well at the box-office, distribution system is ruined in Bollywood in such a way that they are only interested in one kind of film," he added.
Made at a budget of Rs.6.5 crore, "The Forest", an 86-minute movie, will be released by PVR cinemas. For promotion, the 38-year-old is depending upon word of mouth.
"My question is how to find an alternate way of distributing a film? Yes! We are not spending much on advertising and publicity. We are going by word of mouth, going to social network sites and creating online buzz. PVR wants to keep the film in theatres for a week and then we will decide our next step," he said.
Praising the crew, he said "we got a great international crew who took cuts on fees because they believed in the project".
Kumar started his filmmaking journey with "Road to Ladakh" and then made films like "Inshallah Kashmir: Living Terror", "Inshallah Football", which won this year's National Award for best film on social issues.
He feels the National Award for "Inshallah Football" has sent out a message to the country that it's time to re-look at censorship laws.
"A lot of filmmakers have been asking the censor board to be a little transparent and less arbitrary in their decision-making. Why do movies have to go through this pre-censorship?" he asked, adding that he dedicates the award to the people of Kashmir who worked closely with him during the making of the film.
"Especially to the people who suffered heavily in the past 20 years in Kashmir. I dedicate this awrad to the courage and bravery of the people who became the part of this film knowing that there could be very severe repercussions on them," he added.
Kumar achieved international glory when his "Little Terrorist" was nominated for an Oscar in 2004. But he says that was not much of a help in the Indian market.
"Winning international awards hardly changed things for me. Despite everybody knowing about it, there was not much recognition here. I am wondering what filmmakers have to do in order to get some recognition?"
His next plan is to touch commercial cinema.
"Now I am working on my first commercial cinema 'Hype' and I am going to cast a Bollywood star. It's female-based story and talks about issues that women are facing nowadays. If we talk about the storyline, I felt the movie requires songs and a Bollywood star. There are a few Bollywood actors who are not only performing well but also acceptable to the international audience and that's what I am looking at," he said.
(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)