By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: In what could be regarded as a major breakthrough in the alliance between commercial and off-mainstream cinema, avant-garde filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee – who has earlier made out-of-the-box films for prominent production houses like PVR (Shanghai which came to last year’s Toronto film festival) and Balajee Films (Love Sex Aur Dokha) – has now moved into the super-league.
Last week at a hush-hush meeting Dibakar finally shook hands with Yashraj’s team after weeks of negotiation. He would be directing his next film, a whodunit set in Kolkata, for Yashraj Films.Dibakar is part of Aditya Chopra’s out-of-the-box talent-hunt for his production company.
One learns from a reliable source at Yashraj that negotiations are on with several other prominent young established filmmakers.Getting Dibakar Banerjee into Yashraj was not easy. According to sources, the director, known to make austerely budgeted films, drove a really hard bargain with Yashraj.Says the source, “Yashraj was keener to have Dibakar on board than he was to join Yashraj. Intense negotiations went on before the deal was finally closed last week.” Apparently, Dibakar has agreed to direct a film for Yashraj at a fee of Rs.5 crore.Says a source, “Dibakar wouldn’t settle for any less. Yashraj requested him to scale down his remuneration. But Dibakar, who has openly spoken of how budget constraints cramped his style of functioning to the extent that he couldn’t take his entire Shanghai team to the last IIFA awards, was very clear that if he agreed to work with a well-placed production company he would be paid well.”Repeated attempts to reach Dibakar and the Yashraj spokesperson failed.