Gujarati Cinema on the Doorstep of Change

January 14, 2016

In continuation of the paper I presented in 2011, I must admit there have been change agents who have been able to change the game off late. Abhishek Jain with Kevi Rite Jaish and Bey Yaar; Atmaram Thakore with his film Maa Baap na Ashirwad have been able to bring the viewers back to the cinema halls.

Gujarat has been perceived as a progressive state, though the entertainment industry of Gujarat remains under developed. Gujarat has been an entertainment hungry province of India (At any given day Gujarati viewers would contribute highest to the top 5 Hindi television shows, it has considerable contribution in the total collection of a Hindi films). Unfortunately business mind set holder Gujarati entrepreneur has not been able to crack the algorithm of Gujarati cinema.

55 million Gujaratis living in Gujarat and an estimated 20 million living outside of Gujarat, including other countries are looking for an alternative to interact in their mother tongue. In a research conducted online in 2012 has revealed that even the 2nd generation Gujaratis living abroad want to consume content in the language if it is presented in the right fashion.

It is time now to come up with the right kind of content, in the right presentation format so that it gets acceptance. Unfortunately many wannabe filmmakers try hard to ride on the success of ‘one of’ hits that the province gets in a year or two; result? More damages to the industry. The viewers and investors feel cheated, as most of them just copy the idea of making a type of film, but don’t end up making a reasonably good product.

The need of the time is to ensure that the concept of paisa wasoolentertainment is properly executed by the producers and dicrectors. Most importantly young entrepreneurs instead of waiting for a Silicon Valley brand venture to get funded, need to dirty their hands with a consolidated business plan for Gujarati films venture. About a couple of million USD can create a magic. (A good Gujarati film including marketing should cost anywhere between 100K USD to 160K. All one requires is 12 films line up with a turn-around time of 6 months per film). It could bring in a landmark change in the industry. Look at the cultural connect and sense of giving. Most importantly one gets to be a part of the history – that too absolutely free….The question is who will start this process. Do producers need to create a cartel? Does somebody need to try crowd sourcing? Does the industry need a group of angel investors? Yes to all. Two big stories this year is enough to drive the vehicle.

Good news is that the youth has liked the new wave content. The benchmark of quality has been established. There are four to five good projects slated for release and about a dozen filmmakers waiting to start their next. Most importantly the government of Gujarat has shown belief in the potential of the industry for the first time. Thanks to hard work put in by hundreds of artistes and crafts people working hard for last eight decades and more.

Will these filmmakers be willing to work under a consolidated platform and consistently give one release a month that would ensure that the end users don’t go back home with a feeling of being “cheated”? If yes then Gujarati cinema is about to witness a historical change. It will not be a new phenomenon; Gujarati cinema’s black and white era has seen a strong upward trend. Till seventies they used to give tough competition to Hindi cinema. All one needs to do is create an intelligent model for growth.

In hope for a better tomorrow…