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Sandeep Mohan happy even with limited release of Shreelancer


The filmmaker was asked by CBFC to reduce a passionate kissing scene by 50% in the film.

Keyur Seta

Director Sandeep Mohan is known as the man who has brought the idea of travelling cinema alive. He has travelled to various cities and even countries to screen his films. He did that with Hola Venky (2014) and his latest Shreelancer. Now, Shreelancer will see a theatrical release tomorrow, 18 August, in select cities. 

During an exclusive chat with Cinestaan.com, Mohan said that the release materialized because of Manish Mundra. “Mr Manish Mundra as an individual and friend is trying to help me out. Not in the company capacity of Drishyam Films but on a personal capacity. Thanks to him, we are releasing the film,” he said. 

Although he didn’t release Hola Venky in theaters, Mohan was hopeful Shreelancer would make it to the big screen. “Frankly, when I wrote the film, I had a small idea that I might just do a small release. But I continued travelling cinema like Hola Venky (2014). It was just to continue this because I knew I won’t get many screens. I am getting only 30 screens, but I am happy as I have already done many screenings. This (release) is an extension of it,” he added. 

Mohan has been sharing funny videos on Facebook of him and the film’s actor Arjun Radhakrishnan visiting houses of superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in order to create awareness about the film. Mohan informs us that this is the only strategy they could think of, because their marketing budget is zero. 

“Nowadays it is very difficult to get these media houses due to brand promotions. I thought what can you do to keep it alive? So, when you talk about Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, people listen to you. Even if you go outside their house, people will listen to you. Like what is his dog’s name? It’s fun. For example, we said, there is a coconut water seller outside Salman’s house. So when you say Salman Khan, people listen,” he explained. 

Arjun Radhakrishnan in Shreelancer

Mohan had an amusing experience with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). He was asked to “reduce passionate kissing by 50%". Shreelancer was one of the last few films to be certified by the board under the leadership of former chief Pahlaj Nihalani.

“They operate very mathematically. They have been told that in 30 seconds of kissing, cut it exactly at 50%. Honestly, the way I see it is funny. It’s really hilarious. I got away I think with little bit so I am happy,” he said. 

Despite getting cuts, the filmmaker didn’t think of making a hue and cry about it. “They did give me some cuts, they muted some gaalis (slangs) and passionate kissing was reduced. But I thought since I have made this movie in a positive way, let me not end with a fight. I have done that with Hola Venky and Love Wrinkle Free. It took a toll on my energy. So, I thought I don’t want to spoil my health,” he said. 

He is positive about Prasoon Joshi taking over as the CBFC chief. “I am happy that an advertising guy has come. I am also from advertising. Ad guys have their sensibilities, whatever be their political affiliations. Beyond that they know what is a movie. He understands movie. If the top guy is like that, everyone under him will also be like that. Otherwise, if the top guy isn’t proper, others would just like to please him. Hopefully, things will change. It would be great if it becomes a certification body,” he said. 

Mohan also believes that it is unfair to judge small, independent films based on their weekend collections as such movies depend on word-of-mouth.

“By the time people get to know about the film, one week has passed. These people give you only three days and if it doesn’t do well, they remove it on the fourth day. They are pushing me to make a big film and sign a big name. It is very difficult for me (to make a film) unless I continue with travelling cinema and keep my budget low,” he signed off.