Aanand L Rai: Line between commercial and film festival cinema blurring

Aanand L Rai, producer of 'Nil Battey Sannata', today dismissed any demarcation between commercial cinema and the movies that go to film festivals.

Aanand L Rai
Aanand L Rai

"There is a perception that the films that go to film festivals don't do business (box office collection). I think time has changed. The bifurcation is wrong (between festival and commercial films)," Rai told reporters here at the trailer launch of "Nil Battey Sannata".

Produced by Rai along with Eros International and Jar Pictures, the film is a tale of a single mother battling to ensure that her daughter gets every opportunity in life.

Directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, the film features Ratna Pathak, Pankaj Tripathi and Ria, and it will be released in theatres on April 22.

"It is not that audiences do not understand films going to festivals. I think audiences are ready to watch good content. I think the line between festival film and commercial film should be blurred now," he said.

Rai said he decided to come on board as a producer because he loved the idea of the film.

"Since childhood I have been following my heart and till today I follow what my heart says. I am happy being this way. I am proud of this film," he said.

Meanwhile, Rai remained tight-lipped about the film he is doing with superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

"I thought the question about this film (with Shah Rukh Khan) will be asked early. But I am glad that you all (media) stayed focused on 'Nil Battey Sannata'. This film is close to me so let's talk about it. We are still working on it (story). It's too early to talk about it (film with Shah Rukh)...give me sometime," Rai said.

Tiwari, who earlier directed ad films, said she wanted to tell stories through films.

"The idea of the film came from my husband Nitesh (directing Aamir Khan's 'Dangal'). We worked on the story for a year," she added.

'Nil Battey Sannata' is also made in Tamil as 'Amma Kanakku'.

"The idea to do this film in Tamil came from Aanand sir and actor Dhanush. He (Dhanush) loved the film and asked me to direct the Tamil version. I was initially sceptical to do it," Tiwari said.

It was due to the support of Rai and Dhanush that pushed her to do the Tamil version of "Nil Battey Sannata", she said.

"It's on par with what we have. We have great line of actors for the film. The screenplay and story is same only that the film is shot in Chennai. We have picked up the cultural stuff. The language is different, otherwise it's the same (film)," the director said.

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