'Releasing a film can be relieving and scary'
..says Gurgaon director Shanker Raman, whose film opened earlier this month
Shanker Raman, whose directorial debut Gurgaon opened earlier this month says there is always a fear of being judged and misunderstood.
"I feel once the film is released it's out of my hands. It can be relieving and scary. There is always a fear of being judged and misunderstood. This is something one overcomes while making a film. However, when the film is out it's done. It's important to allow for people to say what they want. Because it's their experience," he says.
"For my part, I must be willing to listen. Even if it takes time for me to completely get what they are saying. In the process I usually discover that no one is actually being negative or dismissive. They all seem to have engaged with the film and are now truly expressing themselves," he adds.
His film released on the same day as the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal on August 4.
"Releasing a film is a business and we would do well to accept that. It's important to know what parameters you are following for your film, especially if it is a smaller budget film. There will be challenges with fewer screens and odd timings. That's a given," says Shanker adding that there no guarantee that people will like a film or that it will work for them. "It's pretty much a gamble, especially when we don't have the benefit of having focus group screenings to get a fair assessment of how it will be received."
He says that having released his film with a big starrer, he's learnt some lessons. "It's important to give people a choice of show timings otherwise it feels restrictive. Especially if the film is doing well with word of mouth publicity. Which has been the case for Gurgaon. And I am very happy about that."
The idea was always to make a thriller, he says. "For me, a thriller is a story where we experience the threat of witnessing something that will alter our lives forever. It's much like the fear of death. The fear of the unknown. The fear of finding oneself lost and alone in unfamiliar uncharted territory. All human beings experience this threat in one way or other. From a homemaker to someone planning a bank robbery."
What is his next project? "I'm still working on ideas and am undecided on the next one.," says the filmmaker who claims to have no problem working with stars. "I have done so in my capacity as a DOP (director of photography). But, it's a challenge getting them on board. There are several real factors - cost of production, studio deals, dates etc. I don't see it as an unreasonable thing. I am sure stars are also looking for strong original content with a strong voice to tell that story. I am happy to serve that need."