Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar
From being a music company to producing four-five films a year with different content, T-series has come a long way! We get talking to head honcho Bhushan Kumar about the company’s cinema-making goals, and their latest release ‘Hindi Medium’….
“The biggest challenge was only when I took upon the realm of this company after my father”
What did you like the most about ‘Hindi Medium’ that made you associate yourself to it?
T-Series have done a lot of musical films and will continue doing it. But we wanted to associate ourselves with content driven cinema. Our choices of our audiences have changed and we need to meet their demands with equally powerful films. Dinesh Vijan came to us with two scripts out of which one was Hindi Medium. I loved the story in first go and knew I want to be a part of this collaboration.
How’s the collaboration with this whole team – Dinesh Vijan, actors like Irrfan been for ‘Hindi Medium’?
Dinesh and I have a lot of similarities when it comes to our profession. We both are passion driven and I love to work with such people. Dinesh made the entire journey smooth and his team was supportive. As for Irrfan, he is world’s one of the most commendable actor. His expertise in this field is applaud worthy. It was an noteworthy experience for us to work with him. And I am glad to have him in one of our next project ‘Raita’ too.
As it’s shown in Hindi medium, that we’re a country obsessed with English. Have you ever experienced something like that on a personal basis?
I haven’t personally come across any instance like this. But have heard about this from many. But until and unless anyone is confident and knows his or her work well, language shouldn’t matter. Like I prefer by writers to narrate their scripts in Hindi as we are here making Hindi films. I would want this movie reach our audiences and make them realize that English is just a language not a way to measure a person’s calibre.
T-series has come such a long way – from being involved in just music to being a full-fledged production company and churning out some great films. How do you look at this sort of growth and success for the company?
We always made films but were majorly involved in music acquisitions. But with changing times, we decided on doing full-fledged movie production as well. And the kind of scripts we have received as something I am happy backing and bringing forward to our audiences. The team has grown and is qualified to give me the support I need to take the leap of faith and do more and more films each year.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was only when I took upon the realm of this company after my father. To start from knowing the work culture of this industry to gaining trust of the industry, I and my then small team struggled to reach where we are today. Now the team is bigger and better. And we are ready for any challenge that comes to us.
“We have and will continue to make films that are musically inclined but we also want to make projects like ‘Airlift’, ‘Baby’ and now ‘Hindi Medium’. Our audiences have evolved and so is cinema worldwide. T-Series would like to produce such films”
From bringing out successful franchises like ‘Hate Story’ to ‘Aashiqui’ and such unique subjects like ‘Hindi Medium’ – what has been your aim as a producer while choosing projects?
We have and will continue to make films that are musically inclined but we also want to make projects like Airlift, Baby and now Hindi Medium. Our audiences have evolved and so is cinema worldwide. T-Series would like to produce such films.
Do you think it’s important to strike a balance between entertainment and sending across a message in Hindi cinema today? In a way, Hindi Medium also seems to be doing that?
I think everyone today tries to send out a message through films. Directly or indirectly. But it’s always important to give out a message in a very entertaining way or else the film turns preachy and our youth isn’t quite welcoming to such content always.
This year looks very interesting for T-series. It started with ‘Noor’ and now ‘Hindi Medium’, then there’s ‘Raabta’. How do you expect the year to be in terms of the quality of cinema coming from you as a producer? Tell us about the upcoming line-up of films?
T-Series has quite a lot of films releasing this year and few already under production for release for this year and next year. Starting with ‘Noor’ leading to ‘Hindi Medium’ and then ‘Raabta’, we already have three different kinds of cinema releasing under our banner. Way ahead we have ‘Chef’ starring Saif Ali Khan, Ajay Devgn’s ‘Baadshaho’, Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Simran’ and Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film ‘Bhoomi’. By the last quarter of this year we will release ‘Tumhari Sulu’ starring Vidya Balan and Irrfan’s other film ‘Raita’.
Would you also like to venture into writing or directing someday?
(Laughs) No I feel I am better at production and I would like to stick to that. But would always love to back good writers and directors.
What is the biggest challenge as a producer today? Making films in the right budget or getting the whole team correctly or getting the right content?
Both. But the producers I have associated myself with or done solo production, I have ensured the film is completed in a tight correct budget. But we ensure we spend the correct amount to get the right content across to our audiences in a way it can be watched and entertained.