Director Pradeep Varma’s dream debut Gulaabi Street has been stalled as he has backed out of the project just when the film was all set to take off. The director apparently had taken the consent of the producers and got the story approved. He was working on the project for the past six months and developed the script, chose the star cast, did the photo shoot and even went on a location hunt, but all of it has ended on a bitter note.
“I was supposed to start this month. I even went on a location hunt to Goa and when I came back, I was told by the producer to change the script. I don’t know the story behind this and still don’t know why they said that. When I asked them, all they said was, ‘follow the producer’s instructions.’ It was ridiculous. I felt cheated,” says Pradeep.
Pradeep hoped that the situation would change but it didn’t. “I understand that they are the people who have invested money, but they have actually wasted my time. And after six months, they ask me to rework on my creativity? They want me to change the script to something related to fashion, which is not my forte. I can’t come up with another version and so I didn’t want to get included,” Pradeep explains.
The debut director feels that he is being indirectly threatened by the producers as they have now got hold of the script and the photographs created by him. “They may use my script and photographs that I worked on because they had paid a small amount during the pre-production stage. Why do they want my script if they don’t like it? At this moment, I wonder if new directors should take up movies as a career or look for other options. They say that the director is the captain of the ship and yet if they want me to just say ‘action’ and ‘cut’ and film whatever script they bring in, there is no point in directing,” he says.
Pradeep is still confident about doing Gulaabi Street the way he wants to. “The script is my intellectual property and my idea. I can still approach producers who might like my script. The actors who are part of the film were shocked when they heard the news. I backed out because I didn’t want to get into the mess. After six months of hard work, they have brought me back to square one, but I am not going to give up,” he says.
Producer’s take on Gulaabi Street
One of the producers of Gulaabi Street is Santosh Kumar, who says that they are still okay with the project if Pradeep Varma comes on board with the required changes.
“Initially when the story came to me, I felt that it was outdated. But Pradeep convinced me saying that the script will be good. Then he said the story will get better with dialogues. As a producer, and in the interest of the film, I narrated the story to a couple of directors and distributors, but they all thought that the subject will not work for today’s audience. In fact, I also heard that the story has some similarity with Kangana Ranaut’s recent film Rajjo. Though the plot is not the same, a few characters from the film are similar. Differences started brewing between the director and the producers when we thought the movie needed a trendy approach. Even a director like Yash Chopra did not take up the responsibility of an entire film, as he had help with other departments. Here, just one person wants to handle the whole show. Our intention was to give a good product for our sake and for the director’s sake, as it was his first film,” he says.
He continues, “We are a team of producers who have invested `15 lakh already. We can’t go back now. We will still do Gulaabi Street, which is now getting ready with a new script, and looks much superior and with a fresh attitude. The new director who is handling the project now is from Yogaraj Bhat’s camp and his name will be announced soon. However, we are still keen to associate with Pradeep, if he is ready to work as part of a team,” he says.