Interview By: Devanshee Singh
After producing and distributing 74 films, Shailendra Singh is getting into filmmaking in Bollywood with musical road film ‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’. This is a first for him, as also for other talents he is giving a platform to start with his film. In a conversation, he shared his experiences, ideologies, his future plans and a lot more.
“Life should be experienced and not captured”
What was the starting point for ‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’?
I think it was the desire to create parallel Bollywood which is the Bollywood for generation next. I have been saying this for some time that Bollywood is built with a massive fortrays, there are five lakh people working inside but there are five crore outside the walls. And I think it’s interesting because the outside people are also very talented and they have to wait a very long time. So, the idea was to come up with a concept where I could absorb a lot of debutants and make a new concept cinema for the new generation of young Indians. So, 170 debuts, a travelling film. Bollywood’s last travelling film was Bombay to Goa. The whole idea was to create travel musical, give 170 people a chance to be a part of a movie. With my experience of 74 movies as producer, the idea was to use my experience to ensure that I will make a well designed film which has the potential to work because then it’s fun. There is no point doing ‘ Dishoom’, ‘Sultan’, these are being made anyways. I think there is more potential for more ‘Queen’, ‘Dum Lagake Haisha’, ‘Vicky Donor’, more concept cinema in this country. I think it was my duty to do it. And I enjoyed it.
What made you to be a director of this film?
So, thirty years I have only done creativity, I have told stories in advertising, events, celebrity management, sports marketing, everything in my life, music festival like Sunburn, I have only told stories all my life. So, it was only matter of time that I choose this profession because I have been doing this for three decades. I thought the time was good now to use my experience. I had also an inclination to tell my own stories because I was fed up of empowering other people. I have done enough now. So, it’s a good time. We do business in life to make money, and at some point of time, we do things that creatively excites you and also has the potential to inspire other people. So, I thought this is a good time.
Why you thought of making a musical road film?
I think the target audience is very clear. I wanted to make a film for anybody young at heart, particularly the age group of 13-24 years. That was my target group. I think this generation is very much into technology and they have forgotten the whole aspect of life which is life should be experienced and not captured. They are only spending time in capturing things and not experiencing life. So, I thought I will do a musical road journey so that young people can get in cars and buses and see the country, enjoy being with friends rather than just facebooking them or whatsapping and tell them where I am. I thought that whole aspect was cool because I feel my most memorable moments have been road trips. I come from a musical background with Sunburn and everything we do, so, music is an inherent part of the film and relationship films. I like ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, I love these films that are all about relationships.
You managed sports persons, started Sunburn, one of the big music fest of the world, produced and distributed films, and now this new turn again. How has been your journey till now?
I am just happy being alive. So, I think the definition of madness is that you do the same thing every day and expect a new result. I like to redefine things every time and at every phase of life and do new things. I like challenging myself. I could make a safe film. I launched interesting people like Vishal Bhardwaj, Shoojit Sircar. I don’t feel like taking an easy route. You make a film in 150 crores and that makes 200 crores. So, what do you do? I rather make a film in 3-4 crores and then make 40 crores.
‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’ seems like a story of chasing of dreams. How was your journey in chasing your dreams?
I have been dreaming since I was born. It was phenomenal. All my life I am dreaming only. I was a waiter in Shamiyana in Taj and I use to have a salary of 1280/-. I believe dreams do come true, you should just believe in them.
What kind of movies you want to make in future?
I am always going to make movies that are entertaining because I come from Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar school of thought of looks and grandeur. I like that whole look and vibe. I have a bent mind like Woody Allen, so I like to create my own takes on films. I am a lethal combination between Woody Allen and typical Bollywood films. I will continue to make challenging subjects which are against the tide and they are outside the walls of Bollywood world. I will not become Rohit Shetty, I will not be able to because he is doing damn good job already, I can’t do what Imtiaz Ali is doing, he is doing a damn good job, Anurag Kashyap is doing a phenomenal job. God bless them. I will keep doing something different. So, that we don’t compete and create new spaces for new people in the industry.
There are so many new talents in the film. As you said there are 170 debuts. What was the reason for taking whole new brigade of the fresh talent?
We have to begin this thing. It’s so tough. People don’t get a break. Only when Sachin Tendulkar retired and Sehwag went out, then Virat Kohli came. If Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan will not move then new Salman Khan can’t come only. It’s very difficult. So, we have to create a parallel world of Bollywood and I hope this works because then new stars will stand.