I am a CEO material and here to make money. I am not cut for coming in front of the camera,” asserts young Archana Kalpathi, the CEO of Rs 500 crore ace production house AGS Entertainment. From behind the scenes, Archana has become the face of her company after assuming the task of ‘Creative Producer’ for their upcoming Rs180 crore-budget Vijay starrer Bigil directed by Atlee and to hit the marquee this Diwali.
“It was Vijay who suggested that I be the creative producer and work on the floor on a day to day basis when I met him along with my dad,” she reveals. Even as Bigil, the sports drama on women empowerment, is all set to get a release in 3,000 screens globally, Archana, speaks to DC.
How it happened
This movie required lot of practical involvement, technical expertise and technical understanding and my father and uncles felt that to ensure day-to- day management to go smoothly, we needed someone on the floor. So, they gave me this responsibility. In fact, it was Vijay who suggested my name to be the creative producer as he felt ‘I can’ as I, Atlee and Vishnu are all in the same age group and would gel. I was very excited. It was a big learning opportunity in my career arc. It helped me to develop new skills and expand my knowledge base. I knew it is a massive responsibility, but I also come with the experience of a Rs 500 crore business.
Fan moment took back seat
It is more about delivering a fabulous product than anything else. That was the foremost thing in my mind. More than a fan, the producer in me was active. It was more about planning and ensures the quality is not compromised. My father and AGS believe in having high production values. He took the decision that me representing to him the requirements the film needs at any given point of time.
Yes, the film is being released in 3,000 screens all over the globe. We are exploring China market as well as sports films from India like Dangal were received well there. But we can’t have a simultaneous release in China. It will take six months to get Bigil released there. They have their own censors and processes.
I give inputs on what works and what not
I am a movie buff and watch every movie that releases. I run a chain of multiplexes. I love numbers. So, I track them seriously, I have the database of all movies as to what works and what doesn’t work. We study trends and patterns. There times when dark comedy , adult comedy, horror genre and thrillers work. They ask my inputs more in terms of what works and where the market is.
No monetary pressure
No way! For a big star’s film, you will make a profit. Unless you mess up with the financial planning. My concern was more of delivering a good product, which I think my father and uncles handled so well. There were rumours that we overshot the budget, which is totally false.
Not keen to act, only passion is to make money
Never! I am not an actor material. I am more of a CEO material and my passion is to make money and let me stick to it.
Handling trolls of Vijay fans
I don’t view it as a negative thing. After all they are all doing it out of their love towards their matinee idol. Sometimes, they don’t know as how to express what they feel. Why take it to heart. Ignoring negativity and staying calm and not letting it to affect your work was the biggest lesson I learnt.
Bigil will create a positive impact
Bigil is about women empowerment and will create positive impact with them. It will change men in a particular way. AGS does not do political films.
Creating grand football stadiums
This is not a normal film. We shot for about 198 days. Since the film is about football, everyone was given training for six months. Vijay sir took several months of football training before going on board. Art director created a giant football stadium set at EVP Film city, where main portions were canned. We used seven cameras to shoot the matches and ‘spider cam’ system, which are used to capture sports films. The hiring cost is Rs 7.5 lakh per day and we used it for close to 40 days. There are extensive quality graphics in Bigil.
A fitting gift from Vijay
Vijay presented me his autographed football at the end of the shoot.