Much awarded B&W film gets stepmotherly treatment in India

May 16th, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) His film has travelled to some 30 international film festivals and won 18 awards in the last one-and-a-half years. But the commercial release of black and white Hindi film “Frozen” was delayed in India due to lack of “star presence” and uninterested distributors, says its director Shivajee Chandrabhushan.
“The laxity of the filmmakers for a brand value caused the delay in my film’s release. Nobody was willing to put a single penny because it didn’t have star presence,” Chandrabhushan told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“Frozen”, the first Hindi black and white feature film after “Aasmaan Mahal” (1965), finally released in Mumbai May 8.

“In fact, Cannes 2007 was interested in screening it but I ran out of money that time and the final print was not made. But later when I went to the Toronto Film Festival after screening ‘Frozen’ at Osian’s, it just started travelling from festival to festival,” the debutant filmmaker added.

Made at an approximate budget of Rs.3.75 crore (Rs.37.5 million), the film has bagged awards like the Silver Alhambra for best director with a cash prize of 30,000 euros at the Cines Del Sur in Spain and the Grand Prix for Best Feature at the Vladivostok International Film Festival, Russia, apart from others.

Starring Bollywood actor Danny Denzongpa and debutants Gauri and Angchuk in the lead, “Frozen” also features Raj Zutshi, Aamir Bashir and Shilpa Shukla in pivotal roles.

It was later that Phat Phish Productions joined hands with Chandrabushan at an advanced stage of the movie’s post-production. The Enlighten Film Society too volunteered to release it.

Asked why he opted to make a black and white film, Chandrabhushan said: “We had to shoot in winter and show the harshness. Colour gives the feeling of warmth and black and white gives the feeling of being cold and that’s how even the title of the film came.”

And shooting the film at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level in Ladakh was not an easy task for the 37-year-old, who had produced singer Kunal Ganjalwala’s hit music video “Channa vey”.

“There were several issues, shooting at that height. The health of the crew was of utmost concern, then the equipment would get stuck and break due to extreme conditions. The fuel of the generator got frozen at times. Food was an issue too.

“We shot indoors and since it is a sync-sound film, the generators were placed far away to avoid the mike catching its noise. The wires used to freeze and break; still we managed to complete the film in just 32 days,” the director said.

“Frozen” will soon release in Delhi and later in Kolkata.

Asked why it was being released in a staggered manner, Chandrabhushan said: “I have only three prints as I don’t have money to make more prints. I’m going to take these only to different parts of the country.”

As far as future projects are concerned, Chandrabushan is working on “The Untold Tale”, “The Other Side”, “Chaabi - The Key” and “One More”.

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