Vivek Singhania is the producer of "Na Tum Jaano Na Hum" (2002) with Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Esha Deol as well as "Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne" (2003), with Zayed Khan, Gulshan Grover and Esha Deol. Both films were shown at the Stuttgart Film Festival "Bollywood and Beyond".
BNA-Germany talked with him about his plans for the future, as Vivek Singhania tries to go into the international film business...
BNA: You’re looking for international co-productions. Are you fed up with Bollywood?
Vivek Singhania: No. About Bollywood I can say: I know that business, I do that business. I’ve been there for a while now and I don’t know, if you saw one of my films „Na Tum Jaano Na Hum“. You must see it.
I’m looking to do more co-productions at this moment. What excites me is the global market. But yes, we make Bollywood films, but primarily fort he indian market and some of it spills over into the western market as well. Germany is one of the few countries where the german audience enjoy the mainstream films. That’s not the case in America. In Great Britain do we have a little bit overreached. But the films we are making are for India. And the business outside India is limited. Of course we do it for the money, when we do mainstream. It’s commercial cinema. We don’t get any money we don’t need to pay back, we don’t get support from the government. So we have to make up films which work for us as well as for everybody making the films. What give us the kick, is the fact that people see our films and like them. Through co-production much more people can see our films in England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland… all over the world. That’s one of the reasons why I want to do more co-productions. And of course in terms of money, because the market is much bigger.
BNA: Do you want to leave the indian style of the Masala movies if you´ll work with international co-producers?
Vivek Singhania: I don’t think I´ll do the masala movies. The mainstream Bollywood I don’t want to do in co productions, because I don’t think that any co-producers from Europe or America will know how to promote it or sell it.. When we talk about co-productions we mean that producers from two or three countries get together to make a film and exploit it. The co- productions I’m looking for should be beyond mainstream Bollywood.. However there should be something very indian about the film too. So for example I can take some names: Films like „Monsoon Wedding“ are co-productions. Those kind of films would make sense to do in co-productions and that’s what I’m looking to do.
BNA: That’s why you are here? Looking for some partners for co-productions?
Vivek Singhania: Yes, I’ve met some very interesting people. Last year I was here too. Before I’ll leave to India I’ll try to meet some interesting people here in Stuttgart the last two days. I’m looking to do something with Germany. I think german co-producers are quiet serious about working with India...
BNA: Is it difficult to make contacts or to convince them about your projects?
Vivek Singhania: There is one thing when I’m starting a project: I can’t convince them about an idea that I have. If there is anybody need to do that than it’s not going to happen. My partner will feel unsatisfied in the end of the deal. So I speak about many ideas and if my partner like them, than we start. When you hear an idea and you say that’s good, than you should go for that. If one partner has to convince the other…it’s not a good idea.
BNA: Does this festivals help you to reach your aims?
Vivek Singhania: This festivals is not designed for co-productions. But it helps me to reach another goal: the popularization of my films in a new market. It’s a great job Oliver Mahn and Wiebke Reiß are doing.
BNA: What will you tell your friends in Indian about this festival, when you are back in Mumbai?
Vivek Singhania: Oh, they know I love it, as I was here last year as well. It’s very nice.
BNA: They are interested in hearing something about this festival or doesn’t it matter?
Vivek Singhania: Everybody in Bollywood is happy that Germany has open itself to us.
BNA: But perhaps for producers like Yash Chopra or Karan Johar it seems that they are not interested in the german market.
Vivek Singhania: Every producer has his own game plan and his own interests. I can’t comment on behalf of Yash Chopra. But there are many producers in Mumbai who are taking Germany seriously. But you have to understand that most of us are selling our films to some distribution company which handle the business in and outside India. So it’s not in the hand of the producer to promote the films. The film is out of their hands.
BNA: As a producer you can’t control the distribution way?
Vivek Singhania: No, because we sell all the rights. Two of my films are here and both through different distributors. And I told both the companies about this festivals and that I wanted my films are played here. And this both companies are here and they’re taking the festival seriously and they’re taking the german market very seriously.
BNA: What’s special about the german market or why you’re interested in the german market?
Vivek Singhania: Because Bollywood is appreciated here. Whenever else we go to a festival it’s alternate cinema, it’s never Bollywood. We don’t have a festival in India. Bollywood cinema doesn’t have festivals. That’s the only festival in the world. At the film festivals in India there is no mainstream cinema.
BNA: Do you think the focal point should be on the “beyond” part or on the “Bollywood” part? As Wiebke A.C.Reiß told me, the beyond part will be the biggest part at this festival.
Vivek Singhania: If you ask me, on the Bollywood part because I make Bollywood films. I went to the theaters and to the screens to check up which films are more attracting to people. And that is Bollywood. That are the Hrithik Roshan films. And there was the Salman Khan film which did very well or “Parineeta” with Saif Ali Khan.
BNA: Wouldn´t you be sad if the focal point will changed to the beyond part?
Vivek Singhania: No, I think my aims are very well realized. The distributors or german companies who want to buy indian films want to buy Bollywood films. The TV Station RTL2 shows big mainstream Bollywood.
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