'People want stronger word of mouth before watching a film today'
...says director Shaad Ali, who is currently directing Soorma - a biopic on former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh
Shaad Ali, known for his Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthe, Saathiya, who later on went to direct films such as Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Kill Dil and OK Jaanu, says people mainly decide whether to watch a film based on word of mouth reports these days.
The filmmaker is currently directing Soorma - a biopic on former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh.
On his last few films not tasting the same success as Saathiya, Shaad says, "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was something that we knew could go north or south and it went south. We knew that we were taking a chance with a musical film. Then in Kill Dil, I found during the editing process that something was wrong with the balance of the screenplay."
He spoke about OK Jaanu too saying, "I don't know what went wrong with that film. It was a nice cute film. I thought everything was okay with it. Then the reaction to the film was also okay only. Nothing special happened with it. Today people want a stronger word of mouth. Maybe they didn't hear strong word of mouth for that film."
Ali, who is making a biopic for the first time in his career with Soorma, says, "Biopic as a genre has a very broad framework. The intention with biopics is to stay true to the story. But, sometimes what happens is that while telling a story, you get stuck and then you need to bridge a gap in the story with something fictional. Nobody has intentions of showing a totally fictional world."
Ali says he is getting support from Sandeep Singh and his family on "day-to-day basis" for the film. "I am approaching this film as a human story. I am telling Sandeep Singh's story through this film and not focusing on hockey. That's not my interest area."
The director apparently finds it easy to work with real life hockey players including Sandeep's brother, Bikramjeet Singh, on the film. "If I had taken actors, they would not have been able to act and play hockey at the same time. It's much easier having real players on field. Even Diljit (who plays the lead) has become professional now."
Ali feels Diljit Dosanjh is the perfect fit for Sandeep's role. Soorma will also feature actor Angad Bedi as Bikramjeet, who himself will be seen doing a cameo appearance as a member of the Pakistani hockey team, along with Taapsee Pannu as the heroine. The film is scheduled for a July 2018 release.