The director talks about Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga’s lukewarm response at the box office, his experience of working with Taapsee Pannu in Shabaash Mithu and the success of Feluda.
Last Updated: 08.11 AM, Jun 28, 2022
Srijit Mukherji started the month of June with X=Prem with a bunch of Tollywood newbies, followed by the first season of Feludar Goyendagiri on Hoichoi and the theatrical release of Pankaj Tripathi’s Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga. That’s not all. On July 15, his sports drama Shabaash Mithu will hit theatres.
In a candid chat with OTTplay, the filmmaker talked about working with Taapsee Pannu, the mixed response of Sherdil and the success of Feluda.
Talking about his consecutive releases, Srijit pointed out that several films were stalled due to the pandemic and that’s the reason all the projects are being released in one go. “It looks like a lot of releases within a short span but all these films and the series were ready and held back due to Covid. Now all of them are being released in a cluster,” he says.
But is it not taxing to take care of all of the releases together? “I am not managing a lot of these. The only one that involved a lot of promotional activities from my end was X=Prem. Sherdil and Shabaash Mithu are handled by the respective teams from the production houses,” the filmmaker says.
Sherdil received lukewarm responses from the audience, as well as the critics. Talking about the feedback, he says, “The film got my average rating of three out of five stars. It is decent, I would think. Personally, I expected more as the film is very close to my heart. But such disappointments are part of the life of a filmmaker.”
Sherdil was released along with Jugjugg Jeeyo the same week. Talking about the big-banner release, Srijit says, “There was no competition. Ours was a small budget film. In fact, it is a token and limited release due to some contractual obligations. Since the cost of the film is covered, whatever happens at the box office is a bonus. The film will be streamed on Netflix very soon.”
While Sherdil didn’t create a stir at the box office, Feludar Goyendagiri turned out to be the most-viewed show on Hoichoi of all time, according to the streaming platform and the director is clearly overwhelmed with joy.
“This success of Feluda means a lot to me. It is also very special. It brings back the memories of my father, and the innocence I lost. It brings back the memory of that 15-year-old boy buying Feluda books. Even during its shoot, it was an emotional and nostalgic journey for me. And since it was such a labour of love, the adulation I received was overwhelming. We want to strengthen our resolve to improve further by taking into account the pertinent and valid criticism that we have received,” the director says.
Meanwhile, Srijit is also gearing up with the release of cricketer Mithali Raj's biopic Shabaash Mithu. While talking about the former India captain, he says, “Mithali Raj is a living example of a legend. She has played 215 matches in an ODI career spanning 22 years and 91 days. She also holds the world record for the most runs in women's ODI cricket. She is a shining example of a legend in India’s cricketing history.”
Srijit explains Tapsee is a “natural athlete” and that worked in their favour during the film’s making. “It was a delight to work with Taapsee. She is intelligent, dedicated and a natural athlete. And therefore, slipping into the character was easy. She went through rigorous training for the technical side,” he adds.
The trailer of the film emphasises the gender discrimination at sports facilities in India. Srijit has clearly laid down a reality check with the film. “Even before I started making this film, I was aware of the women in blue. I knew the squad and so on. However, I have accepted the real deal of the women’s athletic world. The film does make some points. While making the film, I got to see the reality a little closer,” he says.
Mithali Raj’s biopic cannot be made without having the character of Jhulan Goswami in it. Though there is a separate biopic of her titled Chakda Xpress with Anushka Sharma playing the fast bowler, Mumtaz Sorcar essays Jhulan in Shabaash Mithu, as per reports. “Jhulan is also a legend. I know her as a friend. And I strongly believe that her story should definitely be told. In my film, her character is there. But to know how much we could explore is something that one needs to find out from the film,” Srijit concludes.