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Last Updated : Sep 11, 2019 08:06 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Kashmir becomes hot topic for filmmakers, movies like Balakot, Article 370 to go on floors

Vivek Oberoi, who was recently seen playing the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the big screen, has turned producer once again for his next venture titled Balakot.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

Just like the election season this year, filmmakers are now trying to cash in on the news around Kashmir.

Since the time the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), filmmakers have come up with a host of movies based on the Valley.

Director- producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra is working on a movie called Shikara, which is described as a love letter from Kashmir. It is scheduled to hit theatres on November 8.

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Vivek Oberoi, who was recently seen playing the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the big screen, has turned producer once again for his next venture titled Balakot. The film, which will be shot in the backdrop of Kashmir, Delhi and Agra, will release in 2020.

There is also The Kashmir Files that will hit the big screen next year. The film will be directed by Vivek Agnihotri, whose last venture was The Tashkent Files. And who can forget the box office returns of the Rs 4 crore film, that stayed in theatres for around 100 days, a rare feat for even big films nowadays.

In addition, Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Films are working on a project based on the story of Kota Rani, who was the last Hindu queen who ruled over Kashmir.

Producer Anand Pandit, who produced PM Narendra Modi,  is working on a film called Article 370.

Talking to Moneycontrol, he said, “Article 370 is something that has been in the pipeline but the storyline has changed drastically now. I want to get it on the floors at the earliest, given the currency of the theme and topic explored in the film.”

“Following the decision of abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir has definitely been in the news. As a result, we have seen increased curiosity around the Valley. Remember that Kashmir has always been the location for some of the most cinematically and scenically beautiful films made by the Hindi film industry and other film industries as well. With the historical and contemporary context to Kashmir, I feel writers, as well as producers and directors, find that a lot of stories and nuances can be explored.”

Siddharth Anand Kumar, VP Television and Films Saregama India and Head of Yoodlee Films concurs.

He said, “With changing times and shifting social and political conditions, filmmakers are showing a renewed interest in shooting in Kashmir and taking subjects that deal with the situation there.”

“In our case, Hamid from Yoodlee films needed Kashmir as a backdrop as it was inherent in the film and frankly our only option was to shoot there. To our surprise, it was feasible and economical to shoot there,” he added.

Do films on trending topics result in better footfall?

It may stand true for a few.

During the election season, films like The Tashkent Files or Uri: The Surgical Strike stood tall at the box office.

While Uri: The Surgical Strike, which was made at a budget of Rs 44 crore, minted over Rs 200 crore, The Tashkent Files earned around Rs 20 crore.

However, other ventures like PM Narendra Modi or The Accidental Prime Minister or Thackeray did not do wonders at the box office.

This is why Kumar believes that topical films don’t necessarily mean higher box office returns and better footfall.

“The success of a film is entirely dependent on the story and the screenplay, the cast, the director, technical finesse and how all of it comes together. Topicality can help in getting the audience's attention but can’t make them go to the theatres and spend money on buying a ticket if the whole package doesn’t interest them,” he added.

What about the race for film titles?

Within few days after Article 370 provisions were revoked, many producers rushed to Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) to register titles like Article 370, Article 35A, Dhara 370, Dhara 35A, Kashmir Hamara Hai, among others.

“I believe a film’s title is the first identity of the film. Personally, whenever I helm any project, I am very careful to understand what the title of the project is. It’s the first identity of a project, almost like the name of an individual and the kind of impact that it has. So, yes if producers are rushing to get film titles related to Kashmir registered, they know that it would pique the audience's interest immediately,” said Pandit.

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First Published on Sep 11, 2019 08:06 pm
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