Making the Film
The project began in 2006 with very little pre-production. Most of the shooting happened in 2006 itself. It took place in 3 schedules, including a travelling schedule to Simla where the band performed.
The film was shot on HDV. Sifting through the 197 hours of rushes took a long time and the edit process went on right through 2007 and 2008. A 300-minute version became 162 mins, which became 139 mins. Finally, the theatrical version has been cut to 115 mins. (There is a crackling 235-minute version, which is the director’s favourite cut. If the theatre version is even a moderate success, it will pave the way for the release of that version.)
Making the film, however, was the easy part. The real struggle began then as there was ostensibly no outlet to release the film. At least that’s what the powers-that-are in the industry said repeatedly. “There is just no place to show this.” 150 channels on television but not sure where this fits in. Scores of multiplex screens all around India but not sure if even one can be spared to accommodate this. That’s what the recurrent theme was when the rounds of producers’/ distributors’ offices began. We were laughed out of the room most times…once or twice, quite literally.
There can be a hundred reasons to do something but in our entertainment environment just one reason to not do it assumes precedence over all those 100 reasons.
However, after some persistence, in 2008, a premier multiplex chain showed interest in releasing the film as an “experiment”. Trips were made to Delhi to confab with the band, meetings held, deals thrashed out, contracts made and then…the recession blew everything to smithereens. Leaving Home was all dressed up with nowhere to go.
We were advised to not even try to release the film in this environment as it was deemed to be a waste of time. Moreover, satellite television revenues had fallen dramatically thus making it “impossible” to get our money back.
Asheem’s illness and subsequent death in 2009 made us determined to release this film, whatever the circumstances, in 2010. It was not about getting our money back anymore (which was unlikely anyway) but just getting this work out. If it meant releasing only on dvd or just on television, so be it.
Magically, Big Cinemas came into the picture and offered to release the film nationally. It was an experiment for all concerned, but sadly one that was done with in a very half-hearted manner. It did not lead to a great viewership and the film, despite making history, has not even found a quarter of its core audience, as is evident from the number of emails that come in from people who discover the film, and sometimes the band– while it was doing its DTH and now, after the DVD has released.
There is a 286-minute version of the film which will be released on DVD in December 2010, which will be the definitive version, with additional music, stories and moments.