Friday, February 23, 2007

100 minutes before the first day first show!

The moment of truth is just a few minutes away.

The ultimate test for a movie.

How will the audience react?

I'm going to be there to see it for myself.

Unlike a huge Sathyam or Devi hall which has about a 1000 seats, Studio 5 has only 148. I should be able to hear the whispers, the snide remarks, the snores and even the slightest hints of annoyance.

That sort makes me a little curious but no, I'm not nervous anymore.

To be honest, I was absolutely nervous the night of the press show. I went to bed at four. But I just couldn't sleep. I was wide awake till 6.30. I had set my alarm for 7 because I had to be up and reach the theatre by 9 to check the projector installation.

Managed about half an hour of sleep, got to the venue to get the shock of my life. The print wasn't even half as good as it was at the festival premiere. I had prepared things to say to introduce the film but the picture quality completely threw me off gear. My blood pressure shot up and I was wide awake, almost a nervous wreck.

But thanks to the efficient people at Real Image, we were able to fix the mysterious lip sync problem that surfaced last minute. The picture quality was terrible but people who showed up just blamed that on the low budget production values.

After about 20 minutes into the film, I could finally relax because not only had I forgotten about the bad picture quality, the audience behind (the college crowd) seemed to be having a good time. They were laughing at regular intervals.

At least at the places I was hoping they would.

Vikram was kind enough to make it though he had a late night shoot. Sanjay Pinto was sweet enough to send the crew from NDTV.

Sashi, my original producer, finally got to see it on the big screen. And as expected, we only heard only nice things. Obviously, people who come for your special show aren't going to be mean to you on your face.

Anyway, NDTV did a story on us and it appeared yesterday. It made it to the top 10 stories of the day and will be featured at 6.30 this evening. So do watch out for that. Vikram too said nice things about the film. He loved the dialogues and the natural flow of the screenplay.

Ganesh and his friends seem to relate to the movie. That is very heartening because the film was made for exactly that kind of an audience. People at the crossroads of their life.

Then, yesterday, we got our first negative review from this blogger who wanted to like the movie but ultimately thought it sucked. I don't know how old this guy is, but I hope and pray he's not in college or just out of it. If he is, I should probably take his opinion a little seriously.

Else, there is nothing to worry about because we don't actually expect people outside our target group to like it. Like he says, it is about ordinary people mouthing very ordinary or bad lines. What if, THAT *exactly* was the idea of the film?

There was another one that came out today in the New Indian Express. The writer sounds like the age group I'm talking about. So, I respect her opinion, if not her "review". Without quite intending to, she gives us the biggest compliment when she says it does not look like there was a script in the first place. Again, what if THAT *exactly* was the idea of the film? Hmmm!

Though it is tempting to link the story to showcase her opinion on the film, I don't want to because it contains spoilers. (It's high time they taught that in school along with the other basics of criticism: Thou Shalt Not Give Away Spoilers!)

I'm not sure how many people know that a tagline usually tells you what to expect from a film.

So here it goes: "Boy meets girl. Fact meets fiction. Reality meets fantasy. Life meets film."

Hence, there is a possibility that the film was designed and structured to blend life with film.

So maybe when we give you a film that's as random as life and about ordinary people, you shouldn't be expecting to see anything more or less.

For all the films I ripped apart when I was little, maybe this is poetic justice.

As they say, what goes around, comes around. I think these bad "reviews" (more like opinions) are a good thing because they are putting things in perspective. They provide a balance for all the nice things people have had to say all along. So it's all cool really.

It probably will do a lot of good to bring down the hype. With great hype comes great expectations.

So all you people heading to watch this movie, remember, this is a small film.

This is a debut film. This is a 5 on 10 film, a "not bad" film. A lot of people have liked it. Some haven't. Those who came with an open mind have liked it. Those who came with preset notions, clearly haven't.

The good news for me is that we've managed to fix the picture quality and get back the old print by noon today. That's such a relief because it was the technical quality I was really worried about.

Finally, got some time to breathe. I'm increasingly convinced about the content of the film with every passing day, seeing the positive response it has generated from people who matter. Just another hour to go, so I'm off to the theatre. And hey, you can book your tickets here. :D

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