As on today, if we were to single out Bollywood’s most successful production house, one would invariably name UTV first! In 1990, Ronnie Screwvala founded the United Television Group that first produced the most popular television soaps of the 90s especially Tara. It was much later in 1997 that Ronnie decided to move into film production with Manisha Koirala starrer Dil Ke Jharoke Main. The film failed to emerge as a box office success! However, Ronnie didn’t stop there.
In 2000, Ronnie produced Karisma Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan starrer Fiza. Despite good reviews from critics, the film was a flop commercially with earnings of 12.25 crore.
In 2004, Ronnie produced Farhan Akhtar directorial Lakshya. Starring Hrithik Roshan and Priety Zinta, along with Amitabh Bachchan, the film despite being an intriguing premise performed below average at the box office with a meager amount of 23 crores. The same year, Swades, directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar starring Shah Rukh Khan gave an average business at the box office. With earnings of 15.25 crores, the film did not create any box office magic. Gowarikar’s previous film Lagaan had won itself an Oscar nomination and hence Swades’ performance was unexpected.
In 2005, Screwvala made a host of unappreciated films. Producing ventures like D and Main Meri Patni Aur Woh, UTV did not earn any miraculous amount that year! However, the same year UTV also produced Vishal Bharadwaj’s The Blue Umbrella. Based on a story by Ruskin Bond, the cinematic translation won the team good reviews everywhere!
2006 turned out to be quite an important for Screwvala. It was this year that he was truly established as a successful producer! The maximum credit for his success should be attributed to Aamir Khan starrer Rang De Basanti. The film that raked up 50 crores was a box office hit, mostly it was hailed as a revolutionary film in popular culture. Evoking rebellious veins in all, the film is one of the most impactful ones of the recent times. He also produced Chup Chup Ke the same year. Faring averagely at the box office, the film earned 14.75 crores! He went on to produce talented director Dibakar Banerjee’s Khosla Ka Ghosla which was a critically acclaimed feat and celebrated director Mira Nair’s artistic masterpiece The Namesake. These films weren’t really money spinners, but the films created for themselves a notable space in their distinct niches!
In 2007, Screwvala produced an American rom-com called I Think I Love My Wife! In Bollywood, he made the cricket film Hattrick which fared below average at the box office. He also produced the Anurag Basu directorial, Life In A Metro which went on to become a semi hit commercially. With earnings of 16.25 crores, the film fared well at the box office. He also produced the John Abraham and Bipasha Basu starrer Dan Dana Dan Goal. The film evoked a below average response at the domestic box office with a total collections of 16.51 crores!
In 2008, Screwvala enjoyed a good year mostly because of Jodha Akbar. The Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai chemistry sizzled the audiences and the film was a semi hit with 59.03 crores! Screwvala however also launched television star Rajeev Khandelwal in Aamir. The film due to its gripping story performed well at the box office. The same year, UTV also produced Naseerudin Shah and Anupam kher starrer A Wednesday which opened a good receptivity from audiences! UTV also produced the Shyam Benegal directorial, commercial film Welcome to Sajjanpur which did not perform exceptionally well at the box office. Ronnie went on to produce Priyanka Chopra starrer Fashion. The film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar performed good at the box office with a total earning of 26 crores! Ronnie again teamed up with Dibakar Banerjee and deliver Oye Lucky Lucky Oye! The film, a hilarious comedy, earned both critical acclaim and audiences’ love unanimously.
In 2009, Ronnie continued giving impetus to experimental films. The biggest example of the same is Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D. Based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas, the film was a wittily done modern translation of the story. The film performed above average at the box office and earned 15.87 crores of lifetime collections. The next film UTV released was Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6. With a total earnings 31.35 crores, the film was a box office flop! He went on to release Kunal Khemu and Soha Ali Khan starrer Dhoondte Reh Jaoge that became invisible too soon! He also produced Hollywood flick Exterminators! Following that was Agyaat which again disappeared too soon to be noticed!
Ronnie teamed up with Vishal Bharadwaj again for Kaminey. The film was a semi hit and earned 41.92 crores at the domestic box office! The same year he also produced Priyanka Chopra starrer What’s your Raashee which flopped at the box office and made a sum of 12.11 crores. He also produced the terrible box office fiasco Main Aur Mrs Khanna which made 7.97 crores!
In 2010, Ronnie along with Aamir Khan produced Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live. The film was a semi hit with an income of 30.04 crores! He also produced films like Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance and Hook Ya Crook! In the same year, UTV also produced Imran Khan-Sonam Kapoor starrer I Hate Luv Story which was a box office hit with 43.68 crores. Though UTV’s Guzaarish, was an interesting film on Euthanasia, the film was a box office flop with 29.42 crores! The indomitable chemistry of Hrithik and Ash couldn’t save the film commercially. UTV went on to produce Akshay Kumar starrer Tees Maar Khan which fared average at the box office with 61.01 crores!
In 2011, UTV began the year with the powerful film No One Killed Jessica starring Rani Mukherji and Vidya Balan in main roles. Inspired from the real life incident of the Jessica Lall Murder Case, the film earned a plus amount of 29 crores at the box office. UTV again teamed up with Vishal Bharadwaj for 7 Khoon Maaf. Based on Ruskin Bond’s story called Susanna’s Seven Husbands, the film was a flop commercially. The film earned 19 crores only. He also produced Chillar Party which was quite a pleasant film! UTV then produced another commercial crash Thank You which despite earning 46 crores flopped. However, crude humor film Delhi Belly earned as plus of 54 crores and was hit for most of the multiplex audiences!
2012 was a brilliant year for Ronnie Screwvala. With Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra starrer sweet natured tale Barfi! and Akshay Kumar starrer Rowdy Rathore, UTV catapulted itself into a double 100 crore treat. While Barfi! collected 120 crores and was a superhit, Rowdy Rathore earned 131 crores in total. UTV produced Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine too, which earned 44.25 crores! But the biggest hilt of the year was with Irrfan Khan’s Paan Singh Tomar which was both critically acclaimed and a box office hit. The film earned 15.09 crores at the box office!
This year so far has been mostly good for Ronnie. Beginning with ABCD which was a super hit with 45.50 crores, his best work was producing Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che! which was also a box office hit with earnings of 50 crores! However, this year’s biggest fiasco, Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala was also produced by Ronnie Screwvala. Though its box office income was average, the film panned general expectations. With an earning of 45 crores, the film has been the most criticized film of the year.
UTV’s performance in the last 2 years has been phenomenal. With most of its films putting up a great show, Ronnie’s choice of scripts is what has made the production come such a long way in Bollywood. Ronnie Screwvala’s vision of cinema is impeccable, his choice of scripts is path breaking, which has given UTV an indomitable company today. Giving tough competition to veterans of the industry, it is Ronnie’s credit that UTV has been hailed so brilliantly by all and sundry. On his 57th Birthday, Koimoi encapsulates the entrepreneur’s achievements and takes this cue to extend our best wishes to him!