Debutant producer Sadanand Lucsam hit the jackpot with Salt n Pepper. He gives Many producers did not see it fit to produce this off beat film but he did it on a whim and came out trumps
Have you ever wondered why anybody would want to produce a film? Sadanand Lucsam, producer of ‘Salt n Pepper', has an interesting take on the psychology of the film producer. “Three reasons drive a film producer – ‘shauq' (pure interest), as a gamble or a business proposition.” And this movie which became a huge hit was shunned by most producers when he undertook the production on a whim. It was a business proposition, he says. It paid off. And how!
The first two reasons why people make movies don't hold water for him. He approaches films as a business proposition (with a cinema lover's heart though), one which has to pay. All of 31 and one Malayalam film old, he is a contrast to the image one has about a film producer. He can pass off as a yuppy. He makes a strong case for corporatising the making of films. “It is a producer who pumps in his hard earned money. A director or actor can redeem himself with his next film, what about the producer who pays the bills?” he asks. In his book a film and a producer are ‘blood relations'.
When he was approached to produce ‘Salt n Pepper', he was a rank outsider in the Malayalam film industry. Except that he is an avid fan of films, any opportunity he gets he catches up on films. “Italian, Iranian, Spanish, Indonesian….Language doesn't matter, there are subtitles. I watch films.”
Kollengode near Palakkad is home, he grew up and studied there. After working a while with companies such as Wipro and Crompton Greaves, he landed a job that took him to Mumbai. He ended up setting up an engineering business with friend Debobroto (Debo) Mandal in 2005, Debo is his partner in Lucsam Creations too. “We put in Rs. 5,000 each and started a business.” An engineering company and an oil and gas company with offices in ‘six countries' later, Sadanand took up films. “I make quick decisions, just like that,” he snaps his fingers. It took him just 45 minutes to decide on ‘Salt n Pepper'. He heard the story and liked it, and Lucsam Creations was in, as simple as that. Production was a new ballgame, but films are not. Debobroto was visual effects (Vfx) producer for Tata Elxsi and was involved in films such as ‘Jodha Akbar' and ‘Tare Zameen Par'.
Salt n Pepper was, to flog a cliché, different. It was in keeping with his company's credo, ‘fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.' Thinking out of the box for the film paid off. The film recently completed 100 days, at a time when a film showing for two weeks is a bonus. He reveals a secret, “When the film was initially released the response wasn't all that great. It was released in 42 theatres and in 12 theatres there was a holdover and from one theatre we managed to collect just Rs. 80.” There are many lessons he learnt from ‘Salt n Pepper', which he has decided never to forget.
He is neck deep in work with his next three projects – ‘Nidra' (directed by Siddharth Bharatan), ‘Kumarasambhavam Live' (directed by Shyju Anthikkad) and ‘Goodbye December' (directed by Sajeed). This fan of legendary filmmakers such as Bharatan and Padmarajan is producing a re-interpretation of Bharatan's ‘Nidra', the shoot of which has begun. Remake then? “No it is not a remake and as far as possible I will not make remakes.” He doesn't see the sense in making a film that has already been made.
Nidra is a re-interpretation, he clarifies, a retelling in contemporary settings. Siddharth, Rima and Jishnu star. Is his approach hands on as a producer? Sadanand says he doesn't get involved with the creative process but he has a clear notion of what goes on on the sets. The finances too.
However, he is trying to bring in the storyboard culture, he has even hired an artist exclusively for the purpose. “Before the shoot begins we have a clear idea of how each scene has been visualised. And everything stays on schedule.”