The Hindi film industry is experiencing a transition, what with more and more producers gathering the courage to experiment with a wide variety of subjects. With the ratio of flops touching an all-time high in 2002 (96% disasters), film producers in Mumbai have at last realised that the lifeline of any project is the script, not the so-called stars. Nagesh Kukunoor's HYDERABAD BLUES set the trend. The success of the film gave birth to a new genre of cinema crossover films. Films that defied the norms of formula-ridden commercial cinema, but which struck a chord with the cinegoer of today, who desperately wanted a change. The phenomenal success of Mira Nair's MONSOON WEDDING and Gurinder Chadha's BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM was an eye-opener. The success of these two films, coupled with the rip-roaring business of THE GURU, opened the eyes of film-makers on this side of the Atlantic. In the current scenario, almost every producer is attempting a film that not only caters to the Indian market, but also wins laurels internationally. Of course, films like K3G, LAGAAN and DEVDAS, besides the recent KAANTE, have fared very well abroad, but the target audience for these films has been the Asian community. The taste of the cinegoer has undergone a change, Subhash Ghai states, In this changing scenario, any kind of cinema, no matter from which country it originates, will find acceptance provided it is well made. That explains why Ghai has also joined the bandwagon and has announced JOGGERS PARK, a modern upmarket social satire. To be directed by Anant Balani (who has just completed a crossover film MUMBAI MATINEE for Pritish Nandy), Ghai's film will star names from the theatre world. Ashish Bhatnagar of iDreams, who distributed MONSOON WEDDING, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM and BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD in India, feels that the viewer of today is looking for an alternate cinema. Haven't we had enough of the routine fares? The cinegoer of today is just not interested in spending his hard-earned money watching the same stuff, he feels. iDreams is now involved with two 'sensible' films SAMAY: WHEN TIME STRIKES (Sushmita Sen, Sushant Singh), directed by ad film-maker Roby Grewal and JAJANTRAM MAMANTRAM, a fantasy film. Besides Ghai, a whole lot of enthusiastic producers are now eyeing the international market. Actor-director Deepak Tijori has just completed OOPS!, actor-producer Girija Shanker has just returned from the U.S. after filming BANANA BROTHERS, Anand Mahendroo is planning to start a film with an international star of Indian origin, producer Dimppy Ramdayal is all set to release VALENTINE DAYS in the non-traditional market in the U.S., while Joy Augustine is geared up to start an English film (portions of it will be in Hindi) since It's high time we explored the international market. But will the trend last? Or will the bubble burst? Says Shyam Shroff, the distributor of crossover films such as LEELA, LET'S TALK and MR. & MRS. IYER, The viewership for these films is only growing with each passing day. I don't think it's a passing phase, though I do admit that the market for these film is very much in its infancy stages. Shroff attributes the number of films to increase in 2003 since it's getting increasingly difficult to make big-budget films these days. Plus, you can experiment with subjects and complete the entire film in barely a few months, which is just not possible when you attempt a biggie, he adds. Like Kalpana Lajmi sums up, Indian cinema is coming of age. It's time to explore new horizons and prove to the world that Indian cinema has so much to offer. True. Nonetheless, it's good to see the mindset of Indian film-makers changing for the better!
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