‘The TV and mobile screen is as relevant as a cinema hall’: Pooja Bhatt on Cabaret’s digital premiere


After being stalled for two years, Pooja Bhatt’s film Cabaret premieres today on the digital platform, ZEE5. The actress-filmmaker, who began her career with a telefilm, Daddy, is more than happy to see the Richa Chadha-starrer on the web, which she feels has a discerning audience. Here, she tells us why the film was not released in the theatres, what prompted her to go on an OTT platform, and more.
A film meant for theatrical release is being streamed on the digital platform. Do you feel it’s a step down?
No, I don’t. In fact, it is going to give this movie a longer shelf life. The last two years, which both, my director Kaustav (Narayan Niyogi) and I were considering to be a roadblock was actually the universe conspiring to ensure that it got the release that it needed.
The film was ready long back, so what stopped you from releasing it?
Cabaret was launched with fanfare and the songs organically created quite a buzz. At that point, the reason we decided to not release it was because my partners wanted to minimise the cost of print and advertising, and give it the kind of release that I was not in agreement with.
I strongly believe that today marketing is more important than the making. If you don’t have a basic spend on marketing, there is no point releasing the film in theatres. I decided to hold my horses and see that the film sees the light of the day in a dignified manner.
What prompted you to release it on ZEE5?
They approached me, and I asked them, ‘why do you want it because I have my share of problems with regards to the partners’. They said they saw something in the movie and that there’s a buzz to it which is right for their platform. I showed them the film and they loved it. I truly appreciated their enthusiasm. I have a feeling that I am releasing the movie with a partner who matches my passion and enthusiasm. Otherwise it is like a single parent bringing a film with no one backing your conviction. I am grateful to ZEE5.
Will you make original content for the digital platform in future?
I would love to. If there is anybody who can give you a combination of quality and reasonable budget, innovative content and casting, it is me! I have the best of Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt — the trick of giving high quality at low cost with an out-of-the-box casting. I was launched with Daddy, which was a movie made by Doordarshan for TV. We were the first ones to break new ground by making Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayi for Zee at a time when the industry did not even consider satellite. People said why is Mahesh Bhatt considering satellite, what’s wrong with him? But look at the reach of the audience. What these movies did for me was more than what commercial films did for me. Dad was the only one who made films like Janam, Swayam, etc, for TV. He is the only person who treated that medium with a certain degree of reverence and respect. Most filmmakers looked at it as a medium to palm off sub-standard stuff. I don’t look at it like that. Your TV screen, mobile screen is as relevant as a cinema hall.
What made you cast Richa Chadha as a dancer?
Before Cabaret, nobody thought Richa can be made to look glamorous. Now she is doing Shakeela, which has happened because of Cabaret. I did not want a quintessentially ‘It’ girl who has a body to die for, but someone who is relatable, showing that the goal is attainable. And Richa is that girl. She is someone who is inherently desi but can be styled to look western. When I saw her pictures from Fukrey I thought she was a genuinely ballsy girl. It also has to do with her value system. If you look at my career, the roles that have resonated are those in which I played characters that were closest to me, be it in Daddy, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi or Border. Cabaret is about the harrowing journey of Richa’s character, but she is not a victim. None of my female characters whether it was Sunny Leone in Jism 3, Bipasha Basu in Jism or Gauri (Karnik) in Sur are victims, but masters of their destinies.

Share This Story

Comment On This Story


Photo Gallery

BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty