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    Vikramaditya Motwane recounts his days at Cannes and multitasking as a director and producer

    HERE is never a dull moment for Vikramaditya Motwane. When the producer of Masaan—which is finally hitting screens on July 24—is not scripting his next project (the theme is still under wraps), he is busy producing  films  and encouraging newbies to pitch their ideas . So what is a typical day in his life like? “I start the day playing with my daughter. Then I’m juggling between writing for my film, producing a whole bunch of others,  developing upcoming projects and listening to pitches,” he says, adding that he sees himself more as a director than a producer. With his film Bhavesh Joshi shelved since the story is “no longer topical,” Motwane is currently working on his upcoming production, Udta Punjab, starring Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. The film is a first-of-its-kind story about drug problems in Punjab, told through four different stories. Known to pick aspiring directors and writers, Motwane produces with Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena under the banner Phantom Films. “We always look for that one big idea that we can develop further by getting top writers to guide them. Almost always, the germ of the idea is still sketchy and needs working upon, the only exception being NH10, which was pitched as a nearly “perfect script,” says the director, who has produced Queen, Hunterr and Ugly, among others.

    At the box office
    Talking about the new generation of filmmakers, Motwane admits, “We have competitive writing, sound technical teams and better films being made. Talent has a way of shining through and we identify ideas through the pitches we get and develop them further.” He believes the divide between mainstream and offbeat is blurring now. “The last few commercial   blockbusters have explored off-beat topics, be it PK, 2 States or Tanu weds Manu Returns. Our aim is to make independent cinema that stands in the ‘centre-front’ of what the audience wants to watch,” says the 38-year-old, also adding that he is open to doing both a Salman Khan blockbuster and an alternative short film. What are his inspirations?  “Movies, studying people, reading, travelling and even having a drink. I think life keeps inspiring me and throws me ideas,” grins Motwane, who is a fan of the works of directors Raymond Chandler and Eric Ambler, loves to pour over graphic novels and is all praise for recent films Inside Out and Wild Tales.

    In a day’s work
    Meanwhile, Masaan has become the talk of town since winning two awards at Cannes this May. There is a sense of déja vu for Motwane, as his debut film Udaan was screened on the same date, May 19, five years ago. “There are a lot of similarities between it and Masaan. I used to listen to a lot of Indian Ocean’s tracks while I wrote Udaan, and ironically Indian Ocean composed the music track for Masaan too. (Neeraj) Ghaywan says he was inspired after seeing my film, which made him write his debut. In a lot of ways, I am extremely proud of the film,” says Motwane.
    Masaan is scheduled to release on July 24
    Niranjana Hariharanandanan

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