Anjum Rizvi is a man of few words with a disarming smile. A stark contrast to the common man in his movie ‘Wednesday’, who held Mumbai to ransom, only to kill terrorists in the end and, voice the collective angst and despair of people against terrorism. But one trait he shares with the movie protagonist is a steely resolve to succeed without conforming to the set rules of the system.
“I met Neeraj Pandey, the writer-director of the movie in late 2007, Naseeruddin Shah gave his consent within hours of reading the script, UTV Motion Pictures joined us as co-producers of the movie on the 6th day of the shoot and we shot the entire movie in 28 days flat,” says Anjum, the producer of the movie. And the movie thumped the box-office too on purely word of mouth publicity. “A good content always finds the audience,” says a visibly elated Anjum.
It took some time for Anjum to find his feet in Bollywood. “My family is into construction business and restaurants,” says Anjum, “But I always wanted to make films.” He cut his teeth into film production by assisting his uncles who were making films in early 90s’. “I also did a 1 year course in film and television production from Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai.”
He made his first documentary feature film called ‘A Mermaid called Aida’ in 1996. “It was based on the life of a transsexual. We got lot of recognition and film made several rounds of international circuit,” says Anjum. He followed it with a successful foray in television with a weekly serial on Zee TV called ‘Daayre’ in 1999. A couple of telefilms for various channels followed. “It was while working on telefilms when I met writer-director, Tigmanshu Dhumalia. He was researching on a subject of cultivation of poppy seeds by foreigners in Himachal Pradesh and the subsequent drug trafficking. I liked the subject and decided to produce the movie. ‘Charas’, my first movie was released in 2004.” He followed it with ‘Ahista Ahista’ in 2006.
Both the movies didn’t exactly set the box-office on fire but Anjum is unperturbed. “I stand by each and every movie I have produced. They have done well on home video circuit. A producer goes through lot of hardships such as managing star dates, arranging funds, looking after the production, and then finally finding buyers and distributors for the movie. It’s extremely gratifying to see your dream unfolding on the silver screen.”
However Anjum insists that a filmmaker should always balance creativity with economics. “One should always remember that we are in the business of art and not the art of business. A producer should at least recover his investment.”
In an industry, where well-heeled corporate executives are finding creative ways to cut down on the movie budgets and old production hats are painstakingly learning about minimising the exposure and spreading the risk, Anjum is steamrolling his belief in good scripts and ready with two films due for summer 2009 release. “Flat is a supernatural thriller and Fast Forward is on dance competition and youth-centric,” informs Anjum.
Anjum Rizvi is also looking for new concepts, writers, and directors for his new projects. He is also open to joint ventures to co-produce films.