Pan Nalin, who directed this Gujarati film, is best known for directing award-winning and visually striking films such as ‘Samsara’, ‘Valley of Flowers’, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ and ‘Ayurveda: Art of Being’. The film stars Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval and Rahul Koli. It is produced by Roy Kapur Films, Jugaad Motion Pictures, Monsoon Films, Chhello Show LLP and Marc Duale.
ETimes got an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Pan Nalin a few minutes before midnight. Nalin was overjoyed. Of course so.
Here’s the Q&A that happened…
It will be silly to ask you ‘how are you feeling?’…
(laughs) I think it’s an incredible moment for me. I really can’t believe it.
It hasn’t sunk in yet, I guess. But what part of the content do you think went in favor of your movie…
Our film had its world premiere as the opening film at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival and has won multiple awards at several international film festivals, including the Golden Spike at Spain’s 66th Valladolid Film Festival, where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical performance. The reception in Norway was overwhelming. Hope started to grow and we realized we had a great product on hand. It was a big achievement – mind you, the film was not supported by a studio, nor did it have a major star. Everyone who saw it abroad told us that they had never seen anything like it before, and then the same started to apply to people in many cities of India where we showed it.
It’s coming out soon in Italy, it’s coming in November in the US. It will hit theaters in Japan in January (2023). And mind you, none of the distributors releasing this movie has released an Indian movie to date. I’m overjoyed: I’m an outsider and I’ve managed to take my film to different parts of the world.
To answer your question of what could have been in favor of ‘Chhello Show’: it celebrates the spirit of India that thinks big. It’s the story of a man who thinks about going big in the cinema and nothing can stop him. The message is: follow your dream and you will succeed. Importantly, the story was rolled out in a very simple and organic way.
How long did it take you to make ‘Chhello Show’?
Three and a half years. We lost a year and a half because of the pandemic.
Did you and Sidharth Roy Kapur talk this morning about your film having a shot at becoming an Oscar entry?
No, we really didn’t. But let me tell you that Siddharth Roy Kapur was one of the first people in this industry to believe in this movie (pauses).
He said that to this day he has produced Hindi movies but will now be breaking that rule.
And guess who was the first in this industry to actually get ecstatic after seeing it!
His ‘Lagaan’ went to the Oscars. What did he tell you?
He said, Pack your bags, you’re going to the Oscars. This happened 5 months ago. We then laughed and forgot. Aaj yaad aa raha hai.
Would you go to the Oscars at least a month before the feature?
How do you think your film made it through ‘The Kashmir Files’ to become India’s official entry?
Sorry; I can’t comment on that. It is a question to the jury that consisted of 17 people. It was a unanimous choice.
I can assume that the reason is only that the jury was pleasantly surprised with my film. They had seen the other films that the media had been talking about for two days, such as India’s Oscar submission – ‘The Kashmir Files’, ‘RRR’ and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’.
Have you seen ‘The Kashmir Files’?
No, I do not have that. And…
It was really hard to get theaters to release ‘Chhello Show’ in India. A lot of big movies have been released in the last few weeks. So we said let’s go abroad and create awareness. And it came with a bonus – the bonus of excitement!
It is very likely that your film will attract a large audience in the theaters in India when it is released…
I hope so. It comes out on October 14. But I’m sure it will touch the people who see it. It’s refreshing and not dark; it’s exactly what people want to see after the pandemic phase.
We wish you all the best at the Oscars…
Thank you. I will do my best to win. We have Samuel Goldwyn Films as a distributor for the US market; they are very good at their job. I am very shocked by the whole thing.