Gulshan Grover, Mahesh Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt and S Sreesanth during an event for ‘Cabaret’ in Mumbai Image Credit: AFP

Pooja Bhatt, whose ‘Cabaret’ is releasing on a digital platform, says the medium is not a step down for her as a producer.

‘Cabaret’ was supposed to release in 2016 but was delayed due to differences between the producers, T-Series and Wave Cinemas.

Asked if she feels sad that ‘Cabaret’ will not have a big screen release, Bhatt said: “Not at all. At the beginning of my career, I did a small film called ‘Daddy’, which was produced by Doordarshan. During that time, people asked Mahesh Bhatt why are you launching your own daughter with a television film? Bhatt saab asked me ‘You want to be recognised as an actor or a star)’, so I told him that ‘I want to be recognised as an actor.”

“Till today, people recognise me with that film. Then, he made ‘Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee’ taking me and Rahul Roy for Zee Television. That time also people asked him why are you doing satellite release of such a good film, but Bhatt saab thought that we have to change norms and we have to go towards new platforms. So, I am just taking that legacy forward. I feel this is not a step down for me,” she said.

Bhatt said that in the future she would like to produce more films for digital platforms.

“I will plan more ways specifically for a digital release and not burden it with promotion and advertising budget,” she said. “Unfortunately because of this, half of the films don’t get released. Most of the times, people finish their films but releasing a film is a different art and to do that, you need to be stubborn and you need to have patience. I always feel you need to give dignified and proper release to the film in which Zee is supporting me for that, I am very grateful to them.”

Talking about the row with her partners, Bhatt said: “Everyone knows that two years ago ‘Cabaret’ was going to release theatrically but I didn’t want to have a bad release for this film as a producer.

“In today’s day and age, the film’s marketing and publicity is immensely important. Very often we spend more on marketing of the film than its making. When we decided to make this film that time, it was decided we will spend Rs7.5 crore [Rs75 million, Dh3.9 million] on its marketing. But later, my partners felt that we should only spend [Rs35 million] to promote the film.

“I didn’t agree to that because now people spend [Rs250 million to Rs300 million] on the marketing of a film, then how we will compete with them on less marketing budget? If people don’t know that a certain film is releasing, then there is no point to release that film.”

Bhatt, who has produced films such as ‘Dushman’, ‘Sur’, ‘Paap’, ‘Jism’ and ‘Rog’, said ‘Cabaret’ was destined to release on a digital platform and will be out on January 9.

“For two years, I was thinking that why all this is happening with my film. But then I thought God had a better plan to release this film. The entire universe was conspiring to make sure that ‘Cabaret’ releases on the right platform and to the right audience. I feel ‘Cabaret’ belongs to a certain kind of audience who wants to see the film as per their convenience on their tablets or on their smartphones,” she added.

Directed by Kaustav Narayan Niyogi, ‘Cabaret’ stars Richa Chadha, Gulshan Devaiah, S Sreesanth and Gulshan Grover.