IFFI 2016 Film Bazaar: Abhay Deol becomes distributor to back indie films digitally

The Happy Bhag Jayegi actor is turning distributor with three films acquired from the Film Bazaar in Goa.

(Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Sonal Pandya

Last seen in the hit film Happy Bhag Jayegi, actor Abhay Deol returned to Hindi films after a two-year break. Deol had turned producer with the romantic comedy One by Two (2014) co-starring his former girlfriend Preeti Desai. This time around, Deol is turning to film distribution with his acquisition of three varied films from the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) Film Bazaar being currently held in Goa.

Deol has picked up Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Bengali film Asha Jaoar Majhe, also known as Labour of Love, Payal Sethi’s Leeches and Brahmanand Singh’s Jagjit Singh documentary, Kaagaz Ki Kashti. He plans to release these films digitally.

Labour of Love premiered two years ago at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. Sengupta won the Best Debut Director at Venice. Back home, he also won the National Awards for Best First Film of a Director and Best Audiography.

Sethi’s short film, Leeches, brings to light the harrowing reality of contract marriages in the Muslim community. The film follows an 18-year-old who tries to save her younger sister from a one-day marriage. The short has been on the festival trail from Hawaii to Budapest and picked up several awards.

Meanwhile, following the success of his RD Burman documentary, Pancham Unmixed, Singh focuses his lens on legendary ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh, in Kaagaz Ki Kashti. The documentary was screened at the 18th Mumbai Film Festival this past October.

Jagjit Singh's Kaagaz Ki Kashti review — Sailing across a sea of symphony and melancholy

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Deol divulged why he chose the particular projects. “I was blown away by Aditya’s sensibilities and his ability to spin a story without any spoken dialogues. Payal’s Leeches has beautifully woven a compelling story around an issue that is anathema to our social fibre and well-being. Kagaz Ki Kashti succeeds in powerfully bringing a legend back to life. I want to ensure that audiences across the world get to watch these films.”

Deol chose the digital platform to showcase the films that might not get an audience. He said, “If your film is made available at the right time, I believe the audiences would pay and watch it on a platform legally. Moreover, monetisation through digital distribution is increasingly resulting in a positive return on investment. Licensing platforms are offering fair payouts and paving the way for audiences around the world to watch and appreciate South-Asian content.”