Taapsee Pannu was quite gung ho about her debut big-screen production, Dhak Dhak, co-produced by Vaicom 18, which she was actively promoting on social media. However, just days before its release (October 13), the actor-producer has distanced herself from all kinds of promotions, and even deleted her social media posts related to the film. Several reports claimed that it was due to lack of promotion from the studio’s end. Now, we have learnt that the conflict was way more than just that.
“Taapsee distanced herself from the promotions of the film because she didn’t want to be road rolled by a studio just because they have recovered their investment (by selling digital rights). As a producer, she wanted a say in packaging a film and releasing a film. She’s hurt that a few salaried professionals are dumping her film down the drain because they have zero emotional investment in it. She didn’t want to be conveniently used and then bulldozed when needed,” a source tells us.
On October 9, the trailer of Dhak Dhak, which stars actors Ratna Pathak Shah, Dia Mirza, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanjana Sanghi, dropped with only four days to go for its release, leaving only a tiny window for any kind of buzz or hype. The source adds that not only Viacom 18 didn’t do a thing for promoting the film, but as a producer, whatever ideas and deals Taapsee got for promotions, the studio didn’t let her execute those as well.
“They kept telling her it’s just a token release, and is mainly for people to watch it on OTT, so she should not bother about theatre. For any producer, director and team, who got this kind of cast together in a day and age when it’s so difficult to get an ensemble cast like this, not getting support from the studio is the last thing they expected. And it’s so dad for the cast and crew who went on this extremely excruciating journey on road,” shares the source, adding, “She felt let down by the studio who was supposed to do a basic job of marketing a film, and they released the trailer just four days before the film is due to release.”
About speculation that Taapsee may have sold marketing rights to the studio, the source clarifies that there’s no such thing as marketing share in any producer-studio contract. “A producer’s job is to make a film in a set budget, and deliver it to a studio, and then they market and release the film. That’s how universally the contracts and deals are. No producer can buy or sell marketing rights from anyone. Also, Taapsee didn’t make any money in this film, all she wanted was to build a brand of the kind of films she wants to produce, so least she expected the studio to do was to support her promote the film.”
When contacted, Taapsee told us, “I can’t say anything right now. I’m just waiting for the film, and audiences to see the labour of our hard work and love. I don’t want it to have a mark of any toxicity.” We also reached out to Viacom 18 for a comment, but there was no response till the time of going to press.