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A vindication

Dibakar Banerjee on winning the Best Hindi Feature Film award for “Khosla ka Ghosla”.



Surprise hit: A scene from “Khosla ka Ghosla”.

For a guy whose first venture has won the National Award for the Best Hindi Feature Film, Dibakar Banerjee is remarkably humble and frank. “I am still the same guy. Not many people know me. I am not famous. I am comfortable that way. I recently spent a few weeks shooting in Delhi for my next film, ‘Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye’. I found no disturbance. Contrary to what people feel, I am quite anonymous.”

Major risk

Talking about his debut film “Khosla ka Ghosla”, he says, “I was naïve when I made the film. When you make your first film, you just want to make it with your conviction, your belief. I was not even aware of the market exigencies. While shooting, I knew that mine was a non-star, performance-oriented film. Since almost every such film faces some problem in release I was prepared for that. But it was a major risk for my producers. Give them credit for sticking with me; a guy without proven credentials and a script that was treatment-driven. We completed the film in 2004.” After a little under one-and-a-half year UTV picked it and spent a few months deciding how to market the film.”

So, was the National Award a surprise considering the film was stuck in the cans for long? “No. It was a stroke of luck but not entirely unexpected. At other award functions, the film had been nominated or won an award. Obviously the National Award has its own unparalleled prestige. But the bigger surprise was at the box office. I learnt that you don’t need a star to sell a film. The film had proven performers, including Anupam Kher and Boman Irani, but no big stars. That was a huge boost to my confidence.”

There is another thing Dibakar hopes will change with the award. “It is a comedy but not a light film. When it was released, people said the problems in purchasing a house shown in the film happened to them too. Hopefully, after the award the film will be taken a little more seriously, more people will see with the requisite depth. It is a vindication for me that the film touched the people’s psyche.”

Busy wrapping up his next film where he directs veteran Paresh Rawal and youngsters Abhay Deol and Neetu Chandra, Dibakar promises “a single swallow does not a summer make”. But with “Khosla ka Ghosla” he has got his nest well feathered all right.

Z.U.S.

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