Not an inkling of mainstream Bollywood is like it was in the 90s. The style of films, the taste of films and their profile look, has seen a transcendental change in the last few years. While most would find it easier to applaud the filmmakers, who are obviously the apparent reason for creating the kind of cinema they are inclined towards, a large part of the credit goes to the bunch of people who are bold enough to stake up large sums of money on projects which might not even guarantee returns. In the last few years, one of the pioneers of revolutionizing mainstream Bollywood has been UTV Motion Pictures. It is commendable how they have been juggling content vis-a-vis commercial, trying to add marvel to the artistic brew at hand. Koimoi takes a look at their ventures in 2013 and how UTV has furthered their revolutionary stance at the box office with the films this year.
Beginning the year by co-producing Race 2 with Tips, the film was sequel of Abbas Mastan’s Race that was inspired from the sibling rivalry genre of work. Sleek and stylish, the film had great ingredients for commercial success and became the first 100 crore clubentrant of the year.
ABCD: Any Body Can Dance
Their second project this year was Prabhudeva’s ABCD : Any Body Can Dance. The film went on to acquire a super-hit status in terms of revenue. Content wise critics did point out flaws, the foremost being it was inspired from Hollywood’s Step Upseries but this film can surely take credit for being the first mainstream Bollywood film to use the 3D Dance formula. Broadening the horizons of typical Bollywood films, UTV gave us a rare, enjoyable feat that audiences were enthralled by!
Kai Po Che!
Kai Po Che! was a critics’ pet for sure. Most hailed the film as one of the year’s most enriching film. Kai Po Che! fared well at the box office and celebrated by the urban crowd as one of the year’s most intriguing and poignant work. Launching new faces, the film worked because of the sheer artistic vision of its director and the lucidity of its original script. It was a moving film, with a story from the grime of Ahmadabad and friendships most could relate to, the loving camaraderie had a message of hope and forgiveness! Most bromance films before Kai Po Che!were set in urban town with dilemmas that were easier, but Abhsihek Kapoor’s film brought out characters who inhabit in and around us!
UTV made a wrong move with Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala. A sequel of a glossy entertainer from the late 1980s, the sequel was a stretched painstaking fiasco which is better forgotten!
However, it took little time for UTV to revive its sense of good scripts. Haven’t we all seen Princess Diaries or Napolean Dynamite and wished there was more Indianized version of the same? Co-produced by UTV and Dharma, Sonam Nair’s Gippiis a persuasively brilliant film that dealt with the most prodding issues of a common Indian teenager with utter simplistic beauty. However, the venture wasn’t a box office maverick, but it doesn’t matter. We finally got a film for Sunday evenings, which we’ll watch while eating candyfloss.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was again a joint venture of Dharma Productions and UTV. Though the box office numbers speaks volumes, perhaps most romantic-comedy fans owe a ton to the production house for giving us this decade’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The dynamics of romance has changed as lovers battle there professional priorities more than families in these era! The lead characters painted such a heart wrenching picture of the persistent relationship issues faced by most people, however one can still vouch that love conquers it all.
Though Ghanchakkarwas met with the most rude comments from critics, as a dark comedy the film was quite a bold attempt. Definitely not a brilliant movie, but it was surely both challenging and compelling as the film attempted to push the dimensions of how humor is perceived in Bollywood.
Ship of Theseus
Ship of Theseuswas another path breaking piece of cinema that UTV dared to invest in. Being well acquainted with the fact that there will be very few takers for this film commercially given its premise, UTV still ensured a wide release for the film, reaching such rare cinema beyond the targeted intelligentsia group it is usually focused on.
UTV and Red Chillies’ super successful stint Chennai Express needs no introduction. Though the critics weren’t overtly pleased with the film or Shah Rukh Khan who is surely made for better projects with themes that have more potential, the company earned heftily from this venture. With the film’s profit rate nearly touching 200%, one of the foremost reasons why companies indulge in such films which assuredly earn well is to be able to amply support content based films!
UTV also collaborated with Prakash Jha productions to produce Satyagraha. Screeching loudly the message of anti-corruption, against dilapidated Government administration, the film is already going down well with its audiences for the mass appeal the film has managed to render to the film. Once again Prakash Jha was amongst the ranks of elite directors who mostly stuck to issue based films, but years later after Damul, UTV is producing a thorough commercial film on consumerism and corruption. That itself speaks a lot about how mainstream cinema has broadened its folds to incorporate themes such heavy themes.
UTV is all set to release the Dharma-DAR joint venture The Lunchbox, which is story of two strangers who fall in love without meeting each other. Celebrated as brilliant cinema at Critics’ Week at Cannes International Film Festival, the film from its trailer itself seems heartwarming. Who would have ever thought that such deviant forms of love could be a recipe for a mainstream film! Unheard ideas of a 40 year old, middle class office man having a girlfriend whom he hasn’t met ever, itself unleashes surprise that such films now have a chance of getting acceptability from general audiences.
It took UTV a long way to become a magnum opus but surely with most of its films making a good moolah at the box-office, UTV is venturing into revolutionizing the way mainstream audiences think but throwing in challenging, refreshing and yet interesting cinema. UTV is not monopolizing the industry business yet, but it is surely working hard at becoming the numero uno of the market. The good thing is that the company is scoring by indulging films that shifts the regular bend of commercial cinema and creating a newer niche altogether!
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