It’s not easy being a female producer. Ask Anushka Sharma and she laughingly admits, “I can’t expect studios to give me a budget for my films, which they might give an Aamir Khan.” Run by Anushka and her brother Karnesh, Clean Slate Films is ready with their second release Phillauri, which releases next year on March 24. And when Anushka decided to jump into production, she had only one word in mind: content. Here, Anushka talks about being a young producer and the daily struggles that come with it. Over to her…
Is it difficult to produce content-oriented small budget films and release them?
Definitely. I did NH10 without charging a fee. I couldn’t. The film had to be budgeted well and that’s why it went on to be a profitable venture. I’ll explain it to you. See, if I am a studio and Raju Hirani wants to make a film with Aamir Khan, obviously I will give up my entire life’s savings knowing well that the two of them will come up with something incredible. But when it comes to a newer director, situations are different. Since NH10 did not have commercial elements, for that film to work, I had to produce the film. For it to get a greenlight from the studio, we had to go all in.
With Phillauri, has that struggle ended?
Phillauri is a more commercial film than NH10. It’s a fun film with comedy and romance. So we definitely have a better budget for the film. Anshai is a new director. You don’t know anything about him and people can be sceptical about it. But when an actor backs a film like this, the studio feels more confident about it. Today, as an actress, I feel I have that bankability because of the films that I have done, that a studio feels some merit in the films I do and would readily okay a certain budget for it. That’s the reason why they would back a film like Phillauri. Because if I’m coming with something, I’m coming with content. It’s not going to be an empty film. It will be properly prepared, worked on and the script too will be checked before presenting it to anyone. That’s the way we will work. It’s difficult because we are new players. If people are basing their judgment just on the people attached to it, then it’s a problem. But if they give value to content and then me being a part of such a film adds more value to it, it becomes easier to make a film happen.
Recently, Sonam Kapoor said that women don’t get a certain budget for their films which probably a male actor does, which is why the scale of her film has dropped and she and Kareena have had to slash their prices. Comment…
See, I am not going to comment on that because I have absolutely no idea about what Sonam has said. I don’t even know the budgets of each of these films, so it will be a very careless comment if I make it. But only from my point of view, I will talk. Literally, I am making Phillauri with just a big heart. That’s the only way I would have been able to make the film. Every film has a different story and different challenges. This film is a VFX-heavy film so we needed a certain budget for it. We didn’t want to compromise on that in any case. So if that means that I have to compromise on my fee to make that film, I would readily do it.