‘Eventually people will not go to the theatre...’

Debarati Palit Singh
Thursday, 21 March 2019

...fears actor Gulshan Devaiah who is playing a double role in Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. He also talks about small films not getting proper screening timing at multiplexes

Even before its release, Vasan Bala’s directorial Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, has got into controversies. The film starring Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan and Gulshan Devaiah, is finding it hard to find show timings at certain multiplexes. Producer Ronnie Screwvala has openly come out against certain multiplex chains for charging Indian filmmakers a Virtual Print Fee (VPF) and letting Hollywood makers go free. The well-known producer has filed a case with Competition Commission of India against several multiplex chains. Because of this, Hansal Mehta couldn’t find the screening timing of the film on BookmyShow and he even tweeted about it. As we chat up actor Gulshan who is promoting Mard Ko... , we ask him if in this whole process, the film is getting hampered. “Why should one make a compromise? There are times when we should make compromises and there are times when we should stand up and fight. I completely support Ronnie Screwvala in his decision. The fight is not against the fee but ununiform levy of the fee. There are some films which do not have to pay the fee so he asked , ‘why should I pay the fee when others are not paying?’. Multiplexes cannot be selective,” Gulshan explains.

Whenever someone is doing something new, they have to face opposition from people who do not believe in them. “Getting a proper show time for your film is a fight. We are standing, fighting and will continue to fight,” the actor says. 

It’s true that small budgeted films do not find proper show timings in multiplexes. Either there are single screenings of the film or the screening timings are odd which leaves the audience with hardly any option but skip it. It’s time the industry stood united against the practice. Gulshan says that there is a problem with the industry itself. “I want to know why is this happening? Why are small budgeted films not getting screen timings? There are four-eight screens in a multiplex and in spite of that, smaller films which people actually want to watch because of the buzz around them, are not getting good show times. I am sure there are reasons for it but I don’t know what. There should be some sort of fairness,” he says, adding, “There are times when I want to watch a film but the timings are so odd that I don’t know how to watch it.”

This is also killing cinema and content, he believes. “Eventually people will not go to theatres and the cinematic experience will get killed,” he fears.

Gulshan plays a double role in the film. Says he, “I play identical twins who do not get along with each other. Mani is a one-legged Karate champion who is now out of action and has no ambition while Jimmy is a hoodlum businessman.”

The actor is playing a double role for the first time in his career and says that the experience is quite different. “Sometimes I was playing both the characters and both of them are very different from each other including their dressing style, mannerisms. Jimmy is loud, brash and flamboyant while Mani is subtle, quiet and brooding type. Of course, once you do the preparation before the shoot, things become smooth,” he says. 

Mard Ko....is Abhimanyu (Bhagyashree’s son) and TV actress Radhika Madan’s first film too even though Radhika made her screen debut with Vishal Bharadwaj’s Pataakha. Gulshan is mighty impressed with his young co-stars and says, “I had met them at the institute where we were training in martial arts. They were at a reasonably good level when I joined them. It didn’t feel like I was working with newcomers as they were extremely dedicated, hardworking and talented. They had a different style of working and I enjoyed working with them,” says the Hunterr star.

The film is releasing late because the makers had sent it to different film festivals, not just for screening but for trade too. “Because of the subject matter, Ronnie believed that the film had the potential to release internationally, so we were securing international distribution,” Gulshan explains. 

The actor will be next seen in Commando 3 and a web series which he refuses to talk about.

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