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“If the film is worth anything, it will find an audience”

1Actor-director Rajat Kapoor contradicts the cliches of fame without saying a word.The three time National Award winner’s body of work speaks for him and also for his need to create content that does not necessarily conform to commercial stipulations. It is easy to see why in a star-driven business, it would be tough for an independent film maker to find funding easily for his projects and so Kapoor has turned to crowdfunding  and his Mithya Talkies has partnered Crowdera, a US-based crowd funding platform, to raise Rs 2.5 crore for his upcoming film, RK/R Kay.

Contributors can click on this link https://gocrowdera.com/IN/individual/rkrk/rajat-2874 and make donations starting from Rs 500 upto Rs 10 lakh. In fact Crowdera will help Mithya Talkies raise $2 million in the next three years for three films.

Rajat’s message to potential contributors is..

“All you wonderful people, some whom I know – some I have never met;
Some of you who are friends, some who will be friends some day;
Some of you that I have had the pleasure of collaborating, and others whose work and lives I have admired;
You film buffs, lovers of cinema and casual but enlightened film goer..
So many of you who have commented earlier about Ankhon Dekhi or Mithya and wondered why we don’t make more films like these.
I ask you for your support.
I have been trying to raise money through conventional sources for the last three years, and that has not worked.
But that does not mean that I won’t make a film.
I will, only the funds will not be raised through conventional means.
I know, many of you have wanted to be a part of this independent cinema movement, or wondered what you could do to help but did not know how.
Well, this is one way.
Whatever you think this deserves – whatever you feel you could part with. A thousand rupees, ten thousand, twenty thousand – every paisa will be helpful.
And every paisa that comes in, will go into the film.
And if you don’t have money, that is fine too – tell others. That would help.
And if not that, then just send us your good wishes- and a big hug.
Because that would go a long way in making this real too..
Send us your love – and RK/R Kay will see the light of the day.”

It is sometimes hard to see the toil that goes behind a cinematic work and to figure that someone who creates vulnerable, identifiable heroes battling an invisible fog on screen is in fact one of them. In fact the story of RK/R Kay could have been cut from the cloth of his life.

As the synopsis goes, “In the story, RK is a filmmaker and making his new film. The film is not quite shaping up as he had imagined – he is anxious and disturbed. And now, the protagonist of his film runs away; He is no more in the film, he has disappeared. Finally he lands up in real life. RK finds him – and now they must send him back into the film so that the film can be completed.”

Cinema has always been a collaborative exercise for artists and maybe the time has come  for the audience to collaborate with a film maker too and put their money where their discerning gaze is.
Here is a what Rajat had to say in a brief chat with us.

What does this film mean to you?

With every script, every idea for a theatre production, you are working on an instinct- a hunch. And you hope you are onto something every time- otherwise what is the point of spending two years of your life on it?
But you can never be sure. You find out only after it is done.. whether it meant some thing to others or not.
But that is a risk that you have to take every time as an artiste..
Having said that,RK/R Kay is an idea that tickles me a lot. It is once again about identity, for sure ( a theme that has run through Raghu Romeo, Mithya, Fatso and to an extent Ankhon Dekhi- but more prominent in the other three).
Beyond that, it is about authorship itself. Who has eventually made this film, and of course about free will and destiny.
Let’s see how these ideas find an expression in the film..
Have things become easier or tougher for independent film makers over the years?
Well, they have become easier over the last 20 years for sure. There is digital platform for the making- which has cut the costs in certain cases, for example- it is possible if somebody is so inclined to make a film for 20 lakhs or 30 lakhs. Also, for exhibition there are more opportunities; multiplexes are open to playing all kinds of films- so yes, it is definitely not as bleak as it was in the nineties, for sure.
But if you were to compare it to the scenario of 2004 to 2009, then definitely it has become a lot tougher. Multiplexes are now all about mainstream films- and the indies are once again fighting for resources- in production and exhibition.
The big studios too have turned the tide against the smaller films, quite in contrast to what the expectations were.
But this is how things are.
I am not complaining- just painting a picture of where we stand.
Does the struggle end or begin with funding..don’t you then have to market the film, find enough screens, media attention, audiences through teasers etc?
Sure- that is the second part of the struggle. But I do believe, the bigger struggle is to make the film.
Then, if the film is worth anything, it will find an audience- if not now, then after 20 years perhaps.
But it is important to create work and leave it out there in the universe.
It exists!!
Reema Moudgil is the editor and co-founder of Unboxed Writers, the author of Perfect Eight, the editor of  Chicken Soup for the Soul-Indian Women, a  translator who recently interpreted  Dominican poet Josefina Baez’s book Comrade Bliss Ain’t Playing in Hindi, an  RJ  and an artist who has exhibited her work in India and the US. She won an award for her writing/book from the Public Relations Council of India in association with Bangalore University, has written for a host of national and international magazines since 1994 on cinema, theatre, music, art, architecture and more. She hopes to travel more and to grow more dimensions as a person. And to be restful, and alive in equal measure.

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