Women-led Movies and Biopics Are Here to Stay Says Bollywood Director Omung Kumar

'It is a niche in the industry, but it stands out which is the best part about it'

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We all love our Bollywood movie’s latka-jatka. The theatre will dance on whistles when Salman Khan goes shirtless or Shahrukh Khan does on do his iconic dance movies.

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Having said that, you would surely agree with us – when we say there is a shift, even though it is slow, in a way Bollywood makes it movies.

From the Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra- Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to recently released Rajkummar Rao starrer Stree, Bollywood has started to experiment with its content.

And this trend is here to say. In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Omung Kumar, the man behind two of Bollywood iconic biopic movie – Mary Kom and Sarabjit along with Bhoomi (Sanjay Dutt’s comeback movie), shares some key trends of the industry and why it is here to stay.

For The Love of Biopic    

Kumar has been a part of the industry for than 25-years and has seen the industry evolve. According to the director, the industry which was stagnated for a while in terms of content is now seeing the ball rolling as the box office is all open to charters unconquered territory.

He feels that this one of the reasons why new age actors like Ayushmann Khurrana or Vicky Kaushal works better for a film than any bigger actor.

“We have grown quite a lot in this decade and have opened new doors. We used to copy from abroad, however, we have a niche as we make a song-dance movie,” he shares.

Having said that, the director thinks the evolving factor in the Indian film industry is biopics and once that saturates, then movies will be driven by true incidents.

Additionally, Kumar opines that the trend of creating women-centric movies is here to stay

“Even though we have hypocrite audiences, a lot of them have matured and have started to accept women-centric movies. There will more of the Sania Nehwal and Jhansi Ki Rani coming. Females-led women are here to stay. It is a niche in the industry, but it stands out which is the best part about it,” he shared while he joked, “It also good for directors like us who don't have to wait for the male stars’ dates to complete a movie.”

Amol Gupte is directing Sania Nehwal’s biopic starring Shraddha Kapoor as the lead. The movie is yet to be named. While on the other side, Kangana Ranaut’s  Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, based on Rani Laxmi of Jhansi and her fight against the British East India Company, is slated to release in January 2019.

Apart from the above movies, critically and commercial successful actors like Deepika Padukone is looking forward to work on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal’s biopic.

The Growing Influence of OTT platforms

As smartphones’ penetration increases and data gets cheaper, one cannot ignore the popularity of OTT platform both domestic players like Voot, Alt Balaji along with international players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos.

Kumar has a mixed feeling about the growing influence of the OTT platforms – as one side it has opened a stream of opportunities of the fraternity and on another side, killed the art of detailing.

He shares, “The era of 35mm is over, cameras are all now digital. Movies get off the theatre in no time and you are watching it on a 5'inch mobile phone and that is very disappointing. Imagine this - we worked so hard on a film and my office boy standing next to is watching my movie’s trailer on a mobile phone, not even on a computer. While everybody wants to see it right now, the eye was detailing is missed. The moment pride is stolen from the director or actor or every technician.”

Nevertheless, Mary Kom’s director also agrees that digital is the future and it is time for the industry to pull their socks up.

Giving an example of Julia Roberts embracing the digital medium with Amazon’s web series Homecoming, he says, the stars, including some of the niche actors in Bollywood have realized content is led by story power which is why we have actors like Saif Ali Khan and other moving to the digital platform.

“Moreover, the Indian content like Sacred Games or Inside Edge is watch world opening up a new market for content creators opening up new avenues for us,” he concluded.

Vanita D'souza

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.