Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla come together for Gulaab Gang. Producer Anubhav Sinha has the details
The kind of films made and watched today are significantly different from what it used to be even a few years ago. Directors and producers are making commercial films that revolve around critical social issues and the audiences are happy to be a part of this revolution.
Among these filmmakers is Anubhav Sinha, best known for directing science-fiction superhero film Ra.One in 2011. Anubhav is now set to debut as a producer with Hindi film Gulaab Gang.
It was Anubhav’s long-standing dream to start a production house and he is more than happy to have Gulaab Gang, presented by Bharat Shah and directed by a debutant director Soumik Sen, as his first project under his banner, Benaras Media Works.
In a telephonic interview, Anubhav says: “It is a drama starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla in the lead roles. The premise of it is based on a group of Indian women vigilantes and activists dressed in pink saris, fighting against a social injustice and operating in the Bundelkhand region of central India. They ironically end up fighting a woman. These women live together and the group is headed by Madhuri Dixit.”
Narrating how it all came together, Anubhav says: “Soumik had the story with him for a long time but somehow with it essentially revolving around women and being an unprecedented kind of story, it didn’t seem like a viable film to some producers but I’m glad I fell in love with what he had to show me and there was no turning back.”
Casting two of Bollywood’s most popular leading ladies is something he pulled off with élan. Anubhav says: “Soumik already had Madhuri in mind for the lead role. We wanted Juhi on board too. As unusual as the pairing sounded and as apprehensive as we were to cast them together, we’ve come to believe that we couldn’t have made a better decision.”
About the kind of camaraderie shared by the two divas, Anubhav states: “It is the first time Madhuri and Juhi have come together for a film and back in the 80s and the 90s they were considered to be rivals. However, when cast together, they got along like a house on fire. They are true professionals and are above and beyond competition.”
While the producer doesn’t deny they had a ball making the film, he talks of the challenges too. “Every time one does something unprecedented, it is challenging. This was a large scale film with songs and action, two top actors and a whole bunch of women as part of the cast. Obviously, there was a requirement for more vanity vans and I’m not cribbing one bit about having had to spend more money. I chose not to have any other studio backing this film and when the movie is out, one will see how it has all paid off.”
Talking about his last directorial venture Ra.One, Anubhav says: “It started with a two line story and while I expected it to be big, I never thought it would be as big as it was. I’m still recovering from the exhaustion of making that film. One thing it has taught me is that it takes belief in oneself to make anything happen. What you think is beyond you really lies within you.”
Apart from starting out as producer, Sinha also has something new taking shape. He says: “We make movies and so we also make music. But not all music we make can be classified as Bollywood. There was a need for a platform for film and non-film music which is why ‘Benaras Beat’ came into being.”
He adds: “Benaras Beat is a subsidiary of Benaras Media Works Pvt Ltd, and has been designed to create and own non-Bollywood music properties including tracks and artists. Benaras Beat is in the process of showcasing unusual collaborations including with the increasingly talented and popular Shillong Chamber Choir.”
Looking ahead, Anubhav Sinha will be producing Zid, an erotic thriller, and Warning. Gulaab Gang is set to hit theatres in July.