Thursday, October 04, 2012

why viacom?

dear mr kashyap, Weeks have gone by since Gangs of Wasseypur never hit the marquee in the US. Weeks have gone by since "rumours" that this was part of some innovative strategy for handling releases overseas. Weeks have gone by since Gangs of Wasseypur II failed to hit the marquee in the US. The official DVD of part I is now available at Theatre rips and the like have already been making the rounds at Indian stores in the US. I resisted getting one, because I really wanted to watch these films in the theatre.

I got the feeling that I'd even watch each twice. Just like Kill Bill. I watched both parts twice. In the hall. Call me nuts. And I loved the soundtracks of both. Same here. Sneha Khanwalkar helmed what I think is the best, most original soundtrack of the year. I do not anticipate anyone mustering anything remotely close to this.

But alas. When movies like Paan Singh Tomar and Shanghai and your own That Girl in Yellow Boots (but neither Gulaal nor No Smoking) made it to the marquee here with ease, what stops something so much bigger? The machinery of releasing Indian films in the US seemed to have improved over the last few years instead of making obvious overtures to profit by importing mind-numbing product starring known names and stars of various candelas? Did Viacom want to release the two parts as a single unit (like Grindhouse) and test the limits of the patience of the fidgety Indian audience and the uninterested owners of weather-beaten theatres screening Indian flicks? I have no way of knowing. How long did Viacom plan to wait before sending prints (or packets of bits) over? After the last DVD bearing an illegal rip from a theatre has been sold? After the last torrent for these rips has been left without seeds online? I have no way of knowing.

What I know is that I am extremely disappointed. A few years ago, I'd envy my friends back home each time a smaller more interesting film hit the multiplexes (the saviours for such small films). Things seemed to be improving but now with this film, I wonder if we're heading back to those days.

If this is how Viacom 18 plans to treat their projects, I hope that you and other directors whose work I find interesting will find alternatives that will allow your films to reach a wider audience and generate more revenue so that you are not treated as financial risks. Even UTV (whose DVDs are unfortunately sullied with watermarks just like the rest of them) would do.

Thank you for your kind attention.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.