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'I wish Laaga... is given an honest chance'

Last updated on: October 25, 2007 13:01 IST
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Film director Pradeep Sarkar is upset that his latest creation Laaga Chunari Mein Daag has been dubbed a flop. In a candid chat with Abhilasha Ojha he admits to its slow start, but is dismissive of critics. He also disagrees with box office reports and insists that the film has already recovered its money.

What were your expectations from Laaga Chunari Mein Daag?

Laaga... was always meant to be a niche film. Despite coming from a banner like Yash Raj Films, it was made at a modest budget of Rs 15 crore. It was a film that targeted Indian women in the age-group of 22-40 years.

Critics have trashed the film. Box office reports in the first week showed a poor opening of just 20-25 per cent. Why do you think this happened?

A certain section in the industry is against the film. I know that it has got a negative response from some critics in Mumbai. It opened during the festive season of Durga Puja and Navratris and I admit it has had a slow start. But by the time Laaga... entered its second week, our total collections, including the overseas markets in the US, Dubai and London, were already Rs 25 crore. Now, tell me, how is it a flop?

Even if you insist that box office collections are good, don't you agree with critics who have dismissed your second project, especially after Parineeta?

I have been accused of not showing the transformation of a simple Benaras girl into a high-class escort. I accept this allegation. Having said that, I must say I wasn't comfortable filming gory details. Some have said that within 20 minutes of watching the film, you know its content. But even the title, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, says it all. The trailers were straight-forward too. However, there are two accusations, I'm willing to challenge, the acting is bad and the film hasn't been well edited. These, I don't buy.

Considering that the first week's collections were poor, was Yash Raj Films' strategy behind releasing the film faulty? Why did you decide to release such a "sensitive" film in the same week as Bhool Bhulaiya? In the festive season, wasn't it natural for audiences to veer towards a comedy rather than a serious film?

Parineeta, also a sensitive film, was also a slow starter. But because it was not from a very big production house (Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films), it was accepted eventually and was a hit. From Yash Raj Films, people still accept only razzmatazz and candy-floss romance. I could have won international awards had I projected Laaga... as a documentary or as an art film. I wanted the film to reach a wider audience and that's why working with Yash Raj Films made sense. I frankly didn't need it to be a huge-budget film. It wasn't for money that I worked with the production banner.

Given a chance, if there was one thing that you could change in Laaga.... what would it be and why?

It is a pointless question. Even ten years from now, I wouldn't change a thing.

What's next?

Nothing. If this fails, I will think twice before touching a topic which relates to the Indian women. I'm just going to wait for a week and hope that audiences give their nod to Laaga... I wish my film is given an honest chance.

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