White Tiger seeks Oscar connection

Denying reports of his film being shelved, producer Mukul Deora maintains he's looking for a hotshot Hollywood director to helm the cinematic adaptation of Aravind Adiga's acclaimed novel

While a hit film is known to open doors, a flop is also known to force some rethinking. Apparently, that is why there's been no noticeable development on musician and conceptual artist turned movie producer Mukul Deora's plans to adapt Aravind Adiga's award winning novel, The White Tiger, for the big screen.

Mukul Deora

The son of veteran politician, Murli Deora, Mukul had forayed into production with director Sagar Ballary's sequel to the 2007 runaway hit, Bheja Fry.

Buzz about tinsel town is that the failure of Bheja Fry 2, plus distribution ventures like Patiala House and Hum Tum Shabana not failing to match the numbers have compelled the young producer to put the film on White Tiger on hold while he re-works the business module of his company WatchTower Entertainment.

Recalling that it all started with Bheja Fry, our source says, "It cost Mukhul about Rs 10 crore, including print and advertising. But it failed in living up to the expectations of Bheja Fry, which cost about Rs 1 crore to make and returned good profits." Apparently, the failure of this saw Mukul's company losing about Rs 4 crore.

If production didn't start on a hit note, neither did distribution, stated our source. He reveals, "Mukul distributed Nikhil Advani's Patiala House in Mumbai, and acquired Hum Tum Shabana for Rs 6 crore. But they didn't work. In all, he had suffered a loss of about Rs 10 crore, which is a considerable amount for an individual producer."

A still from Bheja Fry 2

It is learnt that post being hit by the ventures, there has been no noticeable development on the screen adaptation of Adiga's novel. When asked if the film based on The White Tiger had been shelved, Mukul, who's currently in New York, denied the reports.

"On the contrary, I'm working on the script with Pubali Chaudhry, who also wrote Rock On!," he said, quickly adding that they were also working on a musical. "Basically, it's a coming of age story that predominantly features music."

Denying reports of halting production plans, he asserted, "I don't want to start another movie until he script is right. And writing takes time.

I'm making the film on White Tiger along with John Harp, who also produced last year's Revolutionary Road. So it's going to be an international film. We don't want to start anything until we're thorough with the script. It takes time to get a good project in place."

Probed for the cast and crew of his film based on the award-winning book, Mukul clamed up. "We're still talking to some directors, and will announce the name only after things are finalised. But suffice to say it will be an acclaimed, Oscar Award connected name at the helm," he said.

Furthermore, he also stated that he's not taking any break from Bollywood either. "I've already spoken to the top composers in the industry for my music story, that I'm writing with Pubali. But again, I cant' reveal any names till I've officially signed anyone on board for the film," was all he was willing to say for now.

As for losses incurred in distribution films, Mukul maintained that he was only taking up movies on a commission basis. "Also, I didn't lose money on Bheja Fry 2. Because the film earned Rs 13 crore from various avenues. So for a Rs 10 crore film, earning Rs 3 crore is a pretty decent sum," he concluded.

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