The role of content in the Indian film industry had dipped when their success solely relied on the kind of item number (song) the film had in store for their audiences. The role played by casting was also quite vital. Big Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar made huge profits on their films while small budget films, though rich in content, didn’t make as much. Their audience reach was also limited.
But in 2017, things changed. From Bollywood biggies to intelligent filmmakers, everyone in the industry attempted to take risks with good content films and the results are phenomenal. The era of the 80s and the 90s is somehow back when there were two sets of directors. One (including Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, and Ramesh Sippy) making huge budget films with famous actors while the other (including Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani and Sai Paranjpye) making small budget movies with powerful content.
Films like Newton, Hindi Medium, Qarib Qarib Single, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (SMS) and Phillauri have seen a vertical graph when it comes to reaching heights of success. These films didn’t cast any of the Bollywood’s big names and still made it into the hearts of the people such that they succeeded, not only in popularity but at the box office as well, making more money than an average entertainer with a couple of famous Bollywood stars. Tumhari Sulu, starring Vidya Balan, is still making cinemagoers happy with its unconventional approach and rich content.
The content was not always the king. It had lost its value in the face of the irrationality of the people who loved to see known Bollywood actors and actresses dancing around trees or snow-covered peaks in Switzerland. Today, the people have easy access to information, helping them to move away from ignorance thereby making them more rational when it comes to making choices for entertainment like watching movies. This is why more and more people are now rooting for sensible cinema with good content.
Saregama has come up with a new production house called Yoodlee Films. Which will be inclined towards providing chances of growth to films which have a small budget but contain quality content. Vikram Mehra, managing director of Saregama said, “It’s heartening and is a sign of evolving times as far as the cinematic preferences of Indian audiences is concerned. I am happy to say that times are changing, as there are distributors and exhibitors, who encourage content-driven films and give them the right amount of exposure.”
Irrfan Khan, a class actor in his own right, recently received the Best Popular Actor award at the Star Screen Awards for his role in the film Hindi Medium. He won this award amid big names in the nominations like Aamir Khan for Dangal and Shah Rukh Khan for Raees. On winning the award Irrfan talked to a popular news agency and revealed the increasing importance of content-rich films, “I have always strongly believed that the economics of a film’s success can be achieved with films that run high on content. Hindi Medium, I do truly believe was a complete entertainer with a great message and subject backing it, and that’s what makes this win even more special. The year has ended on a great note first, with my last film being appreciated by all and now, this.”
Even regional films have been taking full advantage of the new era in the film industry. Films like Baahubali and Sairaat have been liked on a pan India level, though they were initially dubbed in their own regional languages. The content of such films was so powerful and attracting that they made huge profits from all over India.
Bollywood is expected to produce richer films, in terms of content, in the future as well, making the industry proud on an international level.