Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How I had given up on, then repeatedly missed, but finally got to watch #AnInsignificantMan

I was sure this could not happen.. I had actually written many months earlier to Khushboo and Vinay imploring them to give up on getting censor board approval and just release it online. And I'm extremely happy that I got proven WRONG, extremely grateful they didn't heed my suggestion. Mind, they actually wrote back to me saying they're going to keep pressing on. I had forgotten about it then.

An Insignificant Man : This will get written about as one of the defining documentaries of our times. Never has a DOCUMENTARY film ran in India in theatres for more than a launch week, held up not by big payouts from production houses but by consumer demand and people voting with their wallets and their feet. 

I was one of the 700-odd crowdfunders of this movie : not a lot but hey every penny counts! I was unable to attend the private screening in Mumbai a year ago when this was going around the way most documentaries go; I had bought my ticket but got a sudden travel plan and was unable to go watch it the weekend it had released in cinemas, had assumed that it'll probably only be running on that weekend and I'll just wait to get to see it on laptop. Then a whole week later I get an email saying its STILL running in cinemas? Check online and yes, it IS on in Pune the whole week, just one show at mid-day but hey it's a big thing for a documentary! I finally managed to go at the end of the week. Got into the screen... and we waited almost half an hour post showtime : there were some technical glitches! The employees were just repeating "wait 5 minutes, it'll come" and quite some folks were getting upset. But still very civilized patrons, I must add : Joke : If this was a documentary on our PM's journey and such a glitch happened, probably the crowd would have made a scene, wrecked something, set the place on fire. Just sayin' :P. 

Anyways, after a lot of waiting I finally deployed Murphy's Law. I pulled a book out of my bag, opened it and started reading it. And right on cue, the lights dimmed and the call to stand for the anthem came! The movie began! And screw the cinema manager for the careless delay but it was well worth the wait :D

Forwarding a mailer from the film's creators.


Yes! Against all odds, we are now in the 3rd week and our film still running to packed houses across the country.

The film opened in theatres on Friday, Nov 17th. We were nervous as hell. Documentaries don't see a theatrical release in India. We had already faced enough trouble with the censor board. Against all sane advice, we were releasing our film in theatres. Our advance bookings were doing well but this was the final moment of truth.

The film had a blockbuster opening! We got great reviews from across the board. The cinemas were filling up. Our phones began ringing. Exhibitors from across the country were calling us and asking us to release the film in their cinema/territory. It was something that we hadn't ever experienced or expected. The weeks leading up to the release saw our entire team work tirelessly and we were really physically exhausted by the time the film released. To get phone calls from friends and strangers at that point, congratulating us for this film and thanking us for making it, it felt rejuvenating and strangely validating. I mean it felt like people had suddenly flooded our drawing rooms to tell us how amazing we are and how much the film meant to them. It's been a long and tough road. To hear praise from people and receive messages from strangers across the country - people who paid for a ticket and came out with the urge to reach out to us and thank us for the film - it's a very rare feeling. Maybe, this is why people make films.

"A film like this will not get made in India again. This film offers different perspectives. How politics picks its issues, deliberates on them and how conveniently some of these are marginalised. You will walk out of the theatre a better voter after watching all of this." - Ravish Kumar, NDTV

"An Insignificant Man could well be one of Shakespeare's political plays, only it's all for real." - Namrata Joshi, The Hindu

"Three-act saga of heroes, villains and casualties, told through handheld shots collected over a span of time and from different locations." - Nandini Ramnath, The Scroll

"Yogendra Yadav is Eduardo Saverin to Kejriwal's ruthless Mark Zuckerberg" - Uday Bhatia, Livemint

We have been travelling all over the country and doing Q&A's after the film. Last Sunday, we were in in Noida (on the outskirts of Delhi). The theatre manager came and told us that the film has been running houseful shows ever since it release. Every. Single. Show. The film has been expanded to even more cinemas. Most reassuringly, it has proved to people that there is an audience out there for cinema like this. And it's only happened because brave people like you supported us during our tough time. 

A film release is a massive endeavour and we are lucky to have a fantastic team here at Memesys who worked night and day to make everything happen. Someday, you'll know each of them as a established artist in their own right.

So yes, the film continues to run in theatres. Catch it if you haven't yet - tickets here.

Khushboo & Vinay.

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