Guneet Monga: Want to back socially relevant projects

With films like 'The Lunchbox' and 'Peddlers' to her credit, Guneet Monga has become a force behind independent Indian films and the producer says she wants to back socially relevant cinema.

Guneet Monga
Guneet Monga

Guneet, who started her production stint with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, went on to open her own production house Sikhya Entertainment in 2008 and has been backing content-driven films ever since.

"I always wanted to make something socially relevant which impacts our life. The passion to back films like 'Masaan', 'Zubaan', 'Haramkhor' and others came from the directors. "We did not think about the commercial success of the films. I think today the market is so well that films like 'Badlapur' and 'NH10' have done well. We can now present films of such league," Guneet told PTI.

The producer feels the commercial success of a project depends on the budget put during the making of the film.

Sighting example of her most successful film 'The Lunchbox', she said, "The film didn't made Rs 100 crore but it was the best ROI (Return on Investment) in 2014."

She has four of her most ambitious projects --'Haramkhor', 'Peddlers', 'Khoya' and 'Monsoon Shootout' at this year's Jio MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer 'Haraamkhor' and 'Peddlers', starring Gulshan Devaiah and Nimrat Kaur, is crowd-funded.

"The sole reason to crowd fund these films was because I wanted to gather a group of visionaries, who wanted to make good cinema without caring about earning money.

"I feel 'Peddlers' and 'Haraamkhor' are going to be extremely profitable projects as the market has now increased.

And that for me is commercial success," she said.

Guneet worked with Kashyap from 2009 to 2013 and credits the "Gulaal" filmmaker for teaching her about the essence of cinema.

The producer does not take Kashyap's approval in each and every project she decides to back but credits him for giving her great directors.

"I have learned so much about cinema and people from Anurag. I met Shlok ('Haraamkhor')and Vasan ('Peddlers') while working with him. He is basically with us all the time. He always pushed me to go on my own. He is a mentor, a friend and he is always there. But the decision about the films I produce is totally by me and my team," she said.

Apart from the "Gangs of Wasseypur" helmer, the other person who she thinks has taught her about the business of Bollywood is Karan Johar.

"'The Lunchbox' would not have released in India if it didn't have Karan Johar's name. He made sure the film released in all its glory. I have learned every bit of marketing from him," Guneet said.

With MAMI the 'Dasvidaniya' producer is eyeing the market for her upcoming four films and feels some big names will come forward to support these movies in the domestic market.

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