Don 3, Gold, Gully Boy and two Amazon series: Ritesh Sidhwani opens up on Excel Entertainment's exciting slate for 2018
Their association dates back to their childhood days but real friendship happened just two years before they graduated from the same school. Things blossomed after they became business partners. The two people in question are Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, the men behind Excel Entertainment responsible for flicks like Dil Chahta Hai, Don and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
While Farhan remains the driving force behind those creative calls, Ritesh can be called the dynamo of the production house. When I meet Ritesh for a tête-à-tête, the relaxed posture is a tell-all sign that all’s well with his movie making business. The success of Raees and Fukrey Returns and their debut series Inside Edge are like badges that he has been sporting these days.
With a streak of successes, the obvious question to begin with would be: how is a normal brainstorming session with Farhan like? “One thing that has not changed, which we have been following for years now, is that we go with our instinct. We both connect at a level where we see sense in a script and are on the same page. It has happened very often that a script has been given to us and we both are in different countries but 90 per cent of our feedback has fallen in similar areas,” reveals Ritesh.
Despite a good record, there have been misses too. Ritesh recalls Bangistan as an example of when things went way off mark: “We had really liked the story and every time a narration was given for that film, other directors too thought it was an interesting premise but it did not attract people.”
He is quick to add that with their debut TV series Inside Edge, the same director has managed to score a six. Inform him that Inside Edge had mixed reviews and he says, “even for Fukrey Returns, the reviews were not great. I don’t care about reviews. Am I interested in four stars or Rs. 200 crores in my bank account? 200 crores is not just value for money but it's also about million people who made an effort to go to theatres and paid money to watch my film."
Ritesh is mighty excited about his 2018 line up which includes two big ticket films apart from a small flick. While Gold and Gully Boy seem to be potential blockbusters, 3 Storeys, a high concept offering, is all set to lure cinegoers with its unique narrative. In the web series department they are all set to offer two diametrically opposite shows: the gritty underworld saga based in Banaras, Mirzapur, and Made in Heaven, which has been conceived and conceptualised by the team of Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti.
Just like 2017, Ritesh is hopeful of maintaining his success streak in 2018 too. While current hit man Akshay Kumar features in Reema Kagti’s directorial venture Gold, Zoya’s film Gully Boy will see two current heartthrobs – Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt – teaming up for the first time.
“Gold is our most ambitious film and we have never tried a sports film before. We are also working with Akshay for the first time and it's exciting to see a fit person like him in a sports film,” informs Ritesh. Gold is a fictional story set against real backdrops.
He maintains that Gully Boy is not a deviation for Zoya, who had earlier dabbled only with stories of the rich and famous. The film talks about the hip-hop underground culture of Mumbai and is inspired from the lives of two-three such artists. “Zoya will never write a film like Gully Boy just to break some notion [that she only makes films involving rich people] . She was moved by the story and that’s why wrote it.”
No conversation with Ritesh can be complete without quizzing him on the status of Don 3. Well, here's the good news: work has already started on the script. “Don 3 will 110 % be made. We did not reveal this last year but now that we have an idea and we are working on it,” he says.
Updated Date: Jan 03, 2018 11:57 AM