Pooja Bhatt’s production Cabaret, a film about the life of a cabaret dancer, is all set to make its much-delayed debut on the internet as a web feature film on January 9.
The beleaguered project started in 2015 with Richa Chadha and Gulshan Devaiah in the lead. Directed by ad filmmakerKaustav Narayan Niyogi it was meant to be start-to-finish project that Pooja launched with much excitement.
Pooja searched and even found a newcomer to play the lead. But she finally opted for Richa Chadha explaining, “”It was a close call.I was contemplating a newcomer for the part.And I nearly went for it. But then I realized it was too much to expect a newcomer to deliver what the character required.”
Not only is the girl in the title role required to perform the traditional cabaret she must also be a topnotch dramatic actress.
Says Pooja, “It’s a very difficult role.Somehow Richa’s face kept returning into my mind. When I mentioned her for the role some people told me she was too desi, to much of a Delhi girl. But I feel the sensuous side of Richa is ready to be tapped. I asked her to meet me.”
Says Pooja, “Richa came straight over and said, ‘You wanted to see me about something urgent?’ I told her I want her to doCabaret. We were both on the same page on this. Richa knew she’ll have to work very hard to get a cabaret dancer’s body-language right.”
Gulshan Devaiah stars opposite Richa while Veteran ad maker Kaustav Narayan Niyogi directs.
Enthused Pooja, “I had been asking Kaustav to direct a film for years. He finally took the plunge…I can see the crackling chemistry between Richa and Gulshan. They’ve set the screen on fire.”
Gulshan and Richa were in the cast of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela ,though they didn’t have many scenes together.
Pooja Bhatt says she’s very happy with the web release, “What I thought then was a roadblock turned out to be the universe conspiring to give Cabaret a platform that represents the future which is NOW!”
Pooja herself had her origins on the web, “My launch came from Daddy… a film produced by Doordarshan. The industry then questioned why mahesh bhatt was launching his daughter in a Tv film but the medium enhanced the films and ensured it still resonates in people’s hearts.Also,Zee Telefilms and Mahesh Bhatt created a stir ,and how, with Phir Teri Kahaani yaadAayeeThe satellite and digital space is where the audience for cabaret lies. A discerning lot who don’t rush to the cinema hall on the first day,first show and prefer instead to consume their entertainment at their time and comfort.”
Pooja feels Cabaret will find its right audience on the web. “It’s a simple film. Stylistic yes. But made by a first time writer/director who also composed the music of the film. He has remained true to his heart. I backed his vision and gave it flight.”
Cabaret co-producer Rahul Mittra is confident about the positioning of Cabaret on the internet. “I’m glad that Cabaret is premiering on January 9th on ZEE5 and even whilst it’s delayed, it’s getting the right platform and the fact that the trailer’s getting a great response proves that good content will always find its way. Web is the future. What supermarkets did to small neighbourhood shops, is what digital platforms will do to cinema. Good entertaining content Will still have a draw in the cinema halls but mediocre content or less entertaining content will be rejected by consumers as entertainment consumption pattern has suddenly shifted over past 2-3 years. Now with a click of a button , one has access to amazing content across a wide plethora to choose from hence traditional filmmakers will have to evolve in order to cater to the palate of the newly empowered end consumer or perish.”
Adds director Kaustav Narayan Niyogi, “I am truly delighted at the turn of events. Cabaret is a special story. I hope our work will be appreciated by a wide audience.”
Richa Chadha who plays the main part is equally enthused. “Cabaret is going straight to digital. I am glad the producers Pooja Bhatt, Waves and TSeries have sorted all the problems.All our hard work will finally be seen by the audience.”