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Interview with Arunima Roy by Jeevi

Date: 22nd March 2002 Venue: Taj Krishna
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Sravanthi Ravi Kishore (Producer)
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Sri (Music Director)
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SJ Surya(Director)
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Tammareddy Bharadwaja(Producer n Director)
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Ramana Gogula(Music Director)
Naga Babu(Producer n Actor)

We met up with Arunima Roy, the founder of iDream and the producer of '16 December' at Taj Krishna at 2 pm on 22nd March 2002, which also happens to be the release date of '16 December'. The morning show of the film was stilling going on in the theaters. She talked to, amidst congratulatory feedback calls. Here are the excerpts of the interview that lasted for 25 minutes ........


Tell us about yourself and how you landed up as the founder of iDream?

Basically I ran away from my academics very young. I was not interested in academics and I wanted to be in films. I took up the marketing job with BATA, as it was the only thing available for the people who completed their 12th grade. I was there for three years. After that I wanted to leave BATA, as that was the only a way to start working. After that I started working in Trikaya (an advertising agency). I did some freelance jobs. My first freelance job was literally of a pot girl. That is organizing tea and coffee. Then I joined the film division of Trikaya. I worked there for two years. Then I joined Dev Benegal, where I did documentaries, corporate films and ad films. And I was a line producer (associate producer) for the feature film 'Split Wide Open'. After that I joined iDream. Actually, I named iDream. We started commissioning films. We also acquire films for distribution. I act as producer for iDream. Earlier, iDream distributed the films Monsoon Weddeing and Mitr. '16 December' is our first production venture.

Why did you coin the name iDream?

I named it just like that. To achieve big things in life, you have to dream big.

What are the other films you are doing?

We are also doing the film 'Agni Varsha' (featuring Jackie Shroff, Nagarjuna, Prabhu Deva). We completed this film and would be releasing it soon. We are doing a film 'Jajantaram Mamantaram' based on 'Gulliver Travels'. We are doing another film 'Tareekh' directed by Khalid Mohammad. '16 December' is our first production venture.

Tell us about '16 December'

The backdrop of the film is about the surrender that happened on 16th December 1971 between Pakistan and India. That's how the Bangladesh was born. But the main plot of the film is done in a detective thriller style. There are these secret service agents, who have the project to work on. They keep unfolding the things with clues and how at the end it all comes together and someone is taking revenge on India. It's a very fast paced film. There is no time for the audiences to stop and think. It's a very complicated story, which is told in a very simple way. When you see it, you will understand it. The film's USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the script. It has got a very tight script. There are lots of good special effects in it. It has the authenticity with which it has been shot (the execution) makes you feel that its real.

Why did you pick Mani Shankar?

We were meeting a lot of people to start off with. iDream has the policy of encouraging new talent in terms of crew and cast. We had a meeting with Mani Shankar to discuss about something in the future. It was not about starting film. In that meeting itself, this film was born. We told him the parameters that we want the film in. He wrote the concept and came back to us. We approved it. It was great from the start.

How many days the film took to be made?

The postproduction took very long, as it had lots of special effects. The film was shot for 20 days a month for 6 months.

The film sounds slick. How are you targeting masses?

We have already targeted them. As we are speaking, the first show is going on. We have the people sitting in different cities in theaters for the first show. The feedback we are getting is that the masses understand the film. We never doubted that masses wont understand the film. There are lots of action sequences, which would be liked by the masses. I think, when we say masses we tend to underestimate them. The masses are very intelligent people. This film does not insult the intelligence of the audience.

Which territory you think '16 December' would be well received?

We do not have any biases. For example there are no gender biases in the film. There is no hero or heroine. Everyone behaves in the same way. Same way, we feel that the tastes are equal to all territories. It applies equally well to all the territories.

You are dealing with Pakistan in this film. Did you take any precautions?

We made sure that there are going to be no controversies, because we are not interested in that. That's not why we are making the film. We are making the film, because we have a story to tell. Everything in the film is fact-based.

iDream is producing 3-4 film at a time. How do you make sure that you are focused?

That's the reason why we don't look into the nitty gritty of the production issues. What we do is sit on the budget and approve it and then commission the project. And the executive producer for our films is normally the director's office. The director's office handles everything. This is the Hollywood kind of filmmaking and it is very much organized. We work only with bound scripts.

You are making so many films. How do you manage finances?

We have a corporate fund (SSKI Group, Mumbai). From there we allocate the money to each project.

What is your team size at iDream?

It's a very small team. We have one MD. One person is there to look after production. Another one for distribution. Third one for marketing. In addition to that, we have one assistant, one accountant and one peon. The total team size is 7.

How did the name sound to you?

If your brain is idle, log on to You get the information. This is what I interpreted when you told me the name idlebrain.

Interviewed by Jeevi
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