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Studios bet on family entertainers, multi-starrers


New Delhi: The success of films like Gadar 2 and Jawan has not only revived careers of yesteryear actors like Sunny Deol but has opened the doors for filmmakers of the 1990s to experiment with genres, such as action dramas, comedies as well as family entertainers, to cater to the demand of diverse audiences including the small-town moviegoers.

For a while, sequels to hits such as Hera Pheri or Welcome had little success with India’s urban elite. However, there’s a clear shift with renowned film-makers of the 90s, Rajkumar Santoshi and Anil Sharma, lining up projects after a long hiatus, said industry insiders.

Studio executives said film-makers are making a deliberate attempt to bring non-premium viewers who had taken a liking to regional films, back to Hindi mainstream movies. “There is no doubt that films with an emotional core, which were made for the masses have made a comeback. It shows that audiences are still receptive to such old-school cinema and there is a spring in the step of those writing such scripts or delivering such movies,” said Shariq Patel, the chief business officer, Zee Studios, that produced Gadar 2.

This emerging trend may result in the revival of comedies, action and family drama, given that there is value in catering to India’s middle class despite push back from urban, multiplex audiences who may not consider such movies to be “cool enough”, he added.

Santoshi, known for hits like Ghayal and Andaz Apna Apna, is collaborating on two projects with Aamir Khan. Salman Khan signed a family drama by Sooraj Barjatya. Deol may feature in films by Santoshi, Sharma, or J.P. Dutta, following Gadar 2’s success. David Dhawan is planning a comedy film with son Varun.

Vivek Krishnani, CEO of IN10 Media Network- owned MovieVerse Studio said movies tasting success at the box office have mass narratives with a broader demographic appeal. “Film-makers need to bring families back to the theatres as films are being seen as occasions, which can be celebrated with passion and fervour. Most film-makers have realized that there is a significant audience base in Bharat, essentially in small cities and towns, which want to be entertained, have an appetite for it and haven’t been getting too many films with mass sensibilities, at least in Hindi.”

“However, it will be crucial to plan and structure projects in a feasible manner,” Yusuf Shaikh, business head, feature films, Percept Pictures, said.

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Updated: 30 Sep 2023, 12:38 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.