Aditya Chopra The release of every Yash Raj film is an event as major expectations ride on what is arguably India’s most famous film production banner, now celebrating …
The release of every Yash Raj film is an event as major expectations ride on what is arguably India’s most famous film production banner, now celebrating its fortieth anniversary. In a winning testimonial to its abilities to create blockbusters, the company’s extravagantly scaled Dhoom 3 went on to become the biggest hit of the year and reportedly grossed over 260 crore.
Aditya Chopra runs Yash Raj in the style of the Hollywood studios of yore and it has a steady roster of releases at all times — Shuddh Desi Romance found a sizeable audience last year while Gunday hit its mark in early 2014 and as many as three releases – Mardaani, Daawate- Ishq and Kill Dil are on the anvil for this year.
Though Ekta Kapoor’s films have not yet paralleled the meteoric success of her TV serials, the 39-year-old TV czarina has carved out a formidable place on the filmmaker firmament too.
Taking a leaf from her TV serials, which are predicated on content and not name-value stars, Ekta has concentrated on making films with strong themes. The producer reiterates, “My focus is to conceive scripts; and not cast actors.” Her attempt to make a big film with Once Upon Ay Time Dobaara did not quite pan out last year but she has restrategised and played on her strengths – her recent medium-budget films like Ragini MMS 2 and Main Tera Hero were box-office winners while Lootera won critical acclaim. With Ek Villain adding to her oeuvre and Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 ready to roll, Ekta has had her hands full with a packed production schedule.
Gauri Shah Rukh Khan
As co-founders of Red Chillies Entertainment, Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan have become production powerhouses who have delivered several cinematic triumphs (Main Hoon Na, Om Shanti Om, My Name Is Khan) that have ensured blockbuster returns and bagged awards too.
Their latest film, the Rohit Shettydirected Chennai Express, raced well past the 200 crore milestone in its victory lap at the box office in 2013. Except for a few collaborations with Karan Johar’s Dharma productions, Red Chillies prefers to concentrate on films that star in-house megastar Shah Rukh. Their company’s next film, the Farah Khandirected Happy New Year, starring Shah Rukh Khan of course, is one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2014.
Who knew Karan Johar had such a good head for business? We are all aware of Karan Johar the party-hearty, caffeinated dilettante.
Successful talk show host? Tick.
Reality TV judge? Tick.
Costume designer? Tick.
Film actor? Tick (he plays the main antagonist in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet).
But these myriad interests belie the fact that Karan is, most importantly, a hard-nosed filmmaker.
Karan has leveraged his powerful people skills and indubitable talent to take his father Yash Johar’s production company Dharma to lofty heights. Besides producing his own directorial ventures, he has bankrolled for other directors major money-spinners like Kal Ho Na Ho, Dostana and Agneepath.
He astutely analyses, “Collaborations between producers and co-productions may be a new phenomenon to India; but not in the west. It’s the new way forward.” Over the last year, his banner has produced, or collaborated on four films, of which Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and 2 States were smash hits, confirming that you can totally believe Karan when he proclaims: “I am making better films in 2014.”
There’s one primary motivation driving Rakesh Roshan. “I made Krrish 3 because my heart told me that I must make it,” the filmmaker says.
A producer for 35 years now (he started his Filmkraft Productions in 1980 with Aap Ke Deewane), Rakesh Roshan is that rare entity who has managed to proudly survive, and thrive, as an old-world style solo producer in the increasingly corporatised and synergised world of Bollywood filmmaking.
Roshan has just delivered his umpteenth blockbuster with the superhero extravaganza, Krrish 3, which like his three previous blockbusters (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish) starred his son Hrithik Roshan. He now owns India’s first super successful superhero franchise. Over the last decade, Roshan’s attempt to expand his horizons by producing films for other directors may have fizzled (Krazzy 4, Kites) but whenever he produces a film that he has directed, you can be sure that Rakesh Roshan will make a superhero- like impact.
Sajid Nadiadwala has four major films to his filmmaking credit in 2014. He collaborated with Imtiaz Ali on the well-received Highway, co-produced 2 States with Karan Johar and made the right gamble on Tiger Shroff, who proved capable of filling theatre seats with Heropanti. He caps this year with his directorial debut Kick which stars Salman Khan and is one of B-town’s most expensive projects.
20 years after striking out in mid-sized films, and then going on to build his brand, Nadiadwala has tremendously escalated the magnitude of his production activities. A scion of the Nadiadwala family which started making films 50 years ago, Sajid branched out on his own
with his banner Nadiadwala Grandsons and has done the family proud.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
A creative prodigy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is also pragmatic enough to co-produce the creations he has so painstakingly wrought. Moreover, SLB Films also produces films for other directors – both mainstream fare like Rowdy Rathore and award-bait features like the forthcoming Mary Kom. Elaborately scaled and made at a Pharaonic expense, Goliyon Ki Ras Leela Ram Leela justified its price tag by receiving a thumping reception at the box office. Credit goes to Bhansali for exhibiting the courage to make a big budget film even without a superstar marquee name as his hero. As a producer, Bhansali does not believe in splurging money on Special F/X, he lavishes his budget on expensive sets that temporally and spatially recreate his vision of an era and a place his story is set in. Art is conjoined with mart in Bhansali’s filmmaking.
Siddharth Roy Kapoor
UTV Motion Pictures has been at the vanguard of the corporatisation of Bollywood over the last decade and has produced some major blockbusters starring the leading actors of the day. It has now become a subsidiary of Disney UTV and continues to green-light big-ticket projects under the steadfast leadership of Siddharth Roy Kapoor. They have had a busy slate of releases over the past year with Chennai Express, their co-production with Shah Rukh’s production company, breaking the bank. It was also one of the last major film ventures that former head honcho Ronnie Screwvala was involved in. The response to their other recent biggies – Satyagraha and Ghanchakkar — was less heartening but Disney-UTV continues to be a colossal entity in Bollywood’s film market.
Sunil Lulla, director of Eros International, are known for their associations with superstars, their marketing know-how and their perspicacity in backing the right projects. From international distributors of Bollywood content to co-producing blockbusters and becoming prominent players in the film industry, the brothers have ambitiously steamed ahead with time. Over the last year, he has witnessed a significant success with the multi-award winning hit, Goliyon Ki Ras Leela Ram Leela, which was co-produced with Sanjay Bhansali. Another co-production, the Prabhudevaa-helmed R Rajkumar was also well received. Many thought it would be a boutique version of the production house when Sunil’s wife Krishika Lulla backed the Anand Rai-directed Raanjhanaa with a new hero for Hindi films, Dhanush; but the film was a thumping affirmation of her vision when it surprised many by becoming the sleeper hit of the year.
A multi-interest conglomerate that has successfully invested in the creative field of filmmaking, Viacom 18’s Ajit Andhare has shown willingness and the acumen to also back edgy film projects with the emphasis on exploring new genres and themes.
Recently, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures co-produced Madras Café with John Abraham and Shoojit Sircar’s Rising Son Pictures, and the film garnered a decent response. More significantly, the company backed Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a co-production with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, despite the fact that Mehra had not had a hit since Rang De Basanti (2006) and Farhan Akhtar had not had a solo-hero success. But the film grossed over 100 crore and became one of the most significant films of 2013, winning good notices for Mehra, manifold awards for Akhtar and acknowledgement of the production houses’ acumen.