February 4, 2023

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India’s Siddharth Roy Kapur reveals 2023 slate, looks back to 2022

7 min read

Former Disney India chief Siddharth Roy Kapur, producer of the Oscar-shortlisted film “Last Film Show”, has an eclectic range of films and series in 2023 from his Roy Kapoor Films outfit.

In the first half of 2023, the war epic “Pippa”, directed by Raja Krishna Menon (“Airlift”) is a co-production with Ronnie Screwwalla RSVP and stars Ishaan (“A Suitable Boy”) and Mrinal Tagore (“Sita Ramam”) with music. And Rahman. Arshad Syed’s film “Oh Lodki Hai Kahan?”, produced by Junglee Pictures, is a screwball comedy starring Taapsee Pannu (“Blur”) and Prateek Gandhi (“Scam 1992”). Another film, the comedy-drama “Bas Karo Aunty!” Starring Ishwak Singh (“Rocket Boys”), directed by Abhishek Sinha, written by Nitesh Tiwari (“Dangal”), and produced by RSVP for Tiwari’s Earthsky Pictures and Disney+. Hotstar.

Returning series include second seasons of “Aranyak” and “Rocket Boys” on Netflix and SonyLIV respectively.

There are eight new series in various stages of development. These include a series created by Nagaraj Manjule (“Jhund”) that explores the gambling “matka” and the dangerous men who run it. Vishnuvardhan, director of Amazon Prime Video’s “Shershah”, will make his series directorial debut with an epic action drama spanning multiple seasons, which will tell the story of an integral part of India’s 20th century military history.

“Ariyippu” director Mahesh Narayanan will helm a multi-season spy thriller set in the Middle East and South Asia. Hardik Mehta, director of the Busan selection “Kamayab,” will headline a family drama series set in the world of warring business families across Europe, Africa and India. Abbas Tyrewala (“Jane Tu Ya Jaane Naa”) will write and executive produce a spy action-drama series set in the world of South Asian counterintelligence.

BAFTA Breakthrough 2022 honoree Aarti Kadav (“Cargo”) is developing a series that will be a quirky take on romance in the sci-fi genre. Advertisement Filmmaker Bhavesh Kapadia will make his directorial debut with a female-led comic thriller series. And, Anubhav Chopra (Netflix’s “House of Secrets: The Burial Deaths”) will write and direct a modern adult drama series, set in a modern day high school.

Roy Kapur’s film also includes a multi-part English-language series adaptation of William Dalrymple’s 2019 bestseller “The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company.”

Roy Kapur recently stepped down after six years as president of the Producers Guild of India, where he successfully weathered many storms during his tenure, including providing for industry workers during COVID-19 and leading the industry against defamation of Bollywood by some Indian TV channels. . . During his time he observed the industry keenly.

“2022 should not be seen as the year when we make any definitive predictions for the future as it was a year in flux with both creators and audiences returning to post-pandemic conditions. It’s a bit of everyone finding their feet again, where things are in theaters as well as on streaming platforms,” ​​Roy Kapur said. diversity.

“If there are some early trends to watch and this can be a harbinger of what’s to come in theaters, it seems like the big-ticket spectaculars are the ones people are coming to see – the movies that are probably larger than life experiences. Films that have a communal viewing experience, perhaps like horror or thrillers, as well as films that theatrically definitely work better than others,” added Roy Kapur. “On the other hand, films that are not genre films that are perhaps drama spaces or light comedy spaces. Which can be movies that you can easily enjoy in the comfort of your home without it needing to be a cinematic experience, doesn’t really seem to be finding a buyer in cinemas at the moment.”

The biggest trend in 2022 at the Indian box office was that South Indian films were huge hits across the country while Hindi-language Bollywood had only a few hits. Roy Kapur says that this was not a sudden trend with audiences across India getting used to watching dubbed versions of South Indian films on satellite channels over the past decade, and especially in the two years of the pandemic, and therefore becoming more open to directors, telling stories from and around them. style.

“Naturally, you have to give credit to the filmmakers and the kind of films they have made. So from ‘KGF 2’ to ‘RRR’ to ‘Pushpa’, these were all movies that did really incredibly well and crossed over from South India to North India. I am hopeful that we can cross over the other way as well, because it can only be good for Indian cinema,” says Roy Kapur.

Talking about the high failure rate among Bollywood films, Roy Kapur said many films were greenlit for urban audiences and made in the pre-epidemic period. Now, post-pandemic, the urban audiences that made these films a success are not coming back in earlier numbers, while second- and third-tier core audiences are coming back for films catering to the mass market.

A big gain for Hollywood at the Indian box office is that “Avatar: The Way of Water” is one of the year’s biggest hits and is on track to dethrone “Avengers: Endgame” as the highest-grossing Hollywood film of all time. Roy Kapur said that during his tenure at Disney, internal discussions focused on the fact that Hollywood would at best capture 10% of the Indian box office and the focus shifted to local content creation. However, Disney and other Hollywood majors spent time and effort marketing Hollywood to a wider mainstream audience by dubbing them into multiple languages, coinciding with the boom in superhero films, creature films, disaster films, and VFX heavy films in Hollywood. has been violated. According to a recent EY report on the industry, in 2021, Hollywood accounted for 11% of the Indian box office.

“The quality of the visual effects, the sheer scale of those movies lends itself so beautifully to the big screen viewing experience. The fact that they are not dialogue heavy, they don’t really need plot and dialogue at a very core level to be appreciated, and so dubbed versions can and continue to work across cultures. Indian audiences are taking these types of films to cinema halls because they are not getting them from their local makers because the scope of imagination and those budgets are so incredible that they are now getting their cinematic fix from those films,” said Roy Kapur, adding that Hollywood’s theatrical popularity is limited to event films. , including dramas, comedies, rom-coms and animated films. Roy Kapur said, “World’s Avengers and Avatar can compete with any Hindi and South film.”

About India’s streaming market, for which his company is a key content provider, Roy Kapur said: “It was the golden age for streaming in India, the kind of content you were able to create and watch – there really wasn’t a better time. From investigative to thrillers, horror, dramas, comedies, slice-of-life, legal thrillers – it’s truly fertile ground for creators to be able to hone their craft. Stories that they probably felt prevented from being able to dramatize because of commercial pressures.”

Inevitably, Roy Kapur feels that there will be consolidation in the streaming space with around 50 platforms reducing to 10 in the next three to five years and rationalization of current production practices.

“Certainly there has been a certain rationalization of budgets and spending over the last few months, which is bound to happen at some point. There will be big bets to be made, each year each streaming platform will have those few shows they really want to be able to make an impact. But if you want to create the amount of content needed to feed each of these services, they’re going to be more of a profit and loss focus rather than just a subscription focus in terms of growing subscribers. Each of them is really looking at being able to rationalize a little bit on volume and budget per show,” says Roy Kapur.

For Indian-produced streaming shows to make a global impact, as “Delhi Crime” did, Roy Kapur feels the time is not far off.

“I think it is inevitable that in the next two or three years, you will have some Indian shows that will be able to break through and become global. When you look at what happened with ‘RRR’ by being on a streaming service like Netflix, the kind of visibility that got – of course, all credit to the film – but the fact that it was able to be distributed so widely on such a significant platform. brought it front and center in the minds of audiences worldwide,” said Roy Kapur. “And so today, I think we have no excuses. Earlier, we lamented the fact that it was so difficult to distribute in countries where we were trying to reach a non-South Asian diaspora. Today we have the ability to do that with streamers. So now it’s all over us. And I think we have to take that challenge and say we’re going to do it and hopefully make it happen in the next three years.”

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