DESIBUZZCanada EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DJ PARMAR!
"I spent the early part of my career gaining experience in all aspects of filmmaking by producing my own independent projects in Vancouver, Canada. Once I had a solid base of experience I tried to focus on niches internationally in the film industry that were underserved and I thought had potential in the future. I saw an opportunity in India where Hollywood films were constantly being remade without official remake rights but that changed drastically with studios setting up subsidiaries in India who started suing these producers to prevent this. That's when I decided this would be a major focus of mine to secure some high profile official remake rights and focus on developing a unique adaptations that would work creatively and commercially," said Rambo Co-Producer DJ Parmar.
By R. Paul Dhillon – DESIBUZZCanada / DESIBUZZbc Editor/Founder
CANNES – Vancouver producer DJ Parmar, who is now based in China, is in the thick of the official Indian remake of Hollywood action classic Rambo.
Rising star Tiger Shroff (Baaghi, Heropanti) will play the iconic action character in the forthcoming remake of the classic action picture which will be co-produced by Parmar and his Original Entertainment banner and will be directed by Siddharth Anand (Bang Bang), who will also produce alongside a number of other producers. Bollywood Rambo will be co-produced by M! Capital Ventures, Impact Films and Siddharth Anand Pictures.
Parmar and his company put the deal together for the highly anticipated remake and according to former Burnaby resident there is huge interest in India, where the casting of the lead character had been a major cause of speculation in the local media.
Principal photography for the film is slated to start in February, with a release targeted for late 2018.
Parmar, who for past two years have been living in Beijing where he is partners in a film finance company called Shinework Pictures with Parmar being the company's VP and head of international .
Shineworks recently did their first film Kung Fu Yoga starring Jackie Chan and the company has a slate of ten.
"I'm totally excited about this venture and it's the beginning of something really big," Parmar told the LINK from Cannes where he had been attending the swanky Cannes film festival and market and where the Rambo remake was announced.
The Indian Rambo will follow the last surviving member of an elite covert unit of the Indian Armed Forces who returns home to discover a war waging in his own land. Forced into the dangerous jungles and frozen mountains of the Himalayas, he unleashes mayhem and destruction, becoming the unstoppable machine he was trained to be.
DESIBUZZCanada talked to DJ Parmar from the just concluded Cannes Film Festival and Market. Here is our Q & A.
DESIBUZZCanada: Tell us about how you got into the international film business?
DJ PARMAR: I spent the early part of my career gaining experience in all aspects of filmmaking by producing my own independent projects in Vancouver, Canada. Once I had a solid base of experience I tried to focus on niches internationally in the film industry that were underserved and I thought had potential in the future. I saw an opportunity in India where Hollywood films were constantly being remade without official remake rights but that changed drastically with studios setting up subsidiaries in India who started suing these producers to prevent this. That's when I decided this would be a major focus of mine to secure some high profile official remake rights and focus on developing a unique adaptations that would work creatively and commercially.
DESIBUZZ: How has the experience of making international film deals and what kind of learning curve you had to go through?
DJ: The film industry is extremely competitive and difficult to break in to so my biggest learning curve was to focus on analyzing the market and what audiences, buyers, and financiers were looking for when considering a film. It's difficult to close a deal when you're promoting a project that doesn't meet the requirements of what the market is looking for so before you start putting a deal together it's better to understand this in advance.
DESIBUZZ: You seem to have hit China at the right time when that market is absolutely booming – how did that happen to a guy from Burnaby?
DJ: After announcing my remake rights deal three years ago I was invited to meet in New Delhi with a delegation from China with the goal to create the first China-India coproduction film. This was still a very early time in the China coproduction space and there weren't many producers or companies focused on it but I felt it was a unique niche that had massive potential in it. I was fortunate to meet a Chinese producer and we developed a great relationship together. He came up with a concept to do a film called "Kung Fu Yoga" and I gladly joined the executive producing team to start putting it together. Three years later that film was released earlier this year starring Jackie Chan and has become the highest grossing coproduction film in Chinese box office history.
DESIBUZZ: How did you place the Rambo remake deal together. I know your company also has the Expendables and other big Hollywood action picture remakes – how did you guys were able to secure those?
DJ: We were able to convince the original owners of the Hollywood IP that instead of their films being remade illegally they could monetize those official remake rights where before they would see no revenue from them. With a team of great partners in Hollywood and India we were able to convince them to give us an opportunity to prove this new remake model.
DESIBUZZ:What is the budget of Rambo?
DESIBUZZ: Tell us about the Indian Rambo and how do you think the story will translate – although it's a simple story of a war hero returning to find injustice or what he perceives to be injustice – is the script been adapted for India or will the story remain pretty much similar to First Blood – is that particular picture the one being first produced in the series? Will there be Bollywood Rambo sequels if the first one is a big success?
DJ: With Rambo being such an iconic film with a unique story we felt it was important to adapt our remake with a story that was culturally relevant for Indian audiences. What's exciting about our remake is India currently doesn't have their own iconic Rambo character and this is an opportunity for us to develop one that Indian audiences can grow up with. Our goal is for this to become one of the next big action franchises in India with the potential for sequels.
DESIBUZZ: Were you integral to picking the actor-action star Tiger Shroff to be Rambo or was it the director? Are you hands on producer for this picture with your Original Entertainment banner?
DJ: We have a great team and we work closely together hands on to oversee all aspects of the film. Together we felt Tiger Shroff was an excellent choice and could carry this film to become one of the next big action franchises for India.
DESIBUZZ: Are there any other Bollywood remakes from your company's stable of Remake rights?
DJ: We have a slate of official Bollywood remake rights we secured and at different stages of development or preproduction.
DESIBUZZ:You are obviously positioning the film for India and overseas Indians – could it also have a cross-over to other audiences who are familiar with the Rambo brand?
DJ: Our goal with this film is to be a global film with cross-over appeal. When you see the numbers Baahubali 2 and Dangal are doing it proves there is an appetite for great Indian films by all audiences globally.
DESIBUZZ: Finally give us a brief glimpse of your journey from Burnaby to Beijing and the life of a high-rolling film producer?
DJ: It's been a wild and exciting ride and I wouldn't give it up for anything else. Having lived across Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Beijing has been a great adventure full of amazing experiences. I've been fortunate enough to be able to focus on my career and keep following the next opportunity.