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Reel Awards: 'Content-driven Films are Becoming Mainstream and Money is Matching The Content'

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan director and Reel Awards nominee R S Prasanna talks about how the digital age is a boom to the first-time filmmaker and how content is finally, and actually, king.

R S Prasanna | News18.com

Updated:March 9, 2018, 5:39 PM IST
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Reel Awards: 'Content-driven Films are Becoming Mainstream and Money is Matching The Content'
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan director and Reel Awards nominee R S Prasanna talks about how the digital age is a boom to the first-time filmmaker and how content is finally, and actually, king.
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2017 was indeed one of the most surprising years in the history of Indian cinema, when many simple yet out-of-the-box tales ruled the silver screen. It was the year when superstars’ heavyweight projects stumbled but small budget films hit the bull's eye at the box office and earned all the love. It was the year when Bollywood showed us that new-age directors could confidently express themselves alongside the likes of acclaimed filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, Imtiaz Ali and Kabir Khan. One such was RS Prasanna, the director of Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, which deals with erectile dysfunction. His innovative handling of a “touchy” subject in the movie was applauded by critics and audiences alike. Prasanna has been nominated in the Best Director category at the upcoming News 18 REEL Movie Awards on March 20 in Mumbai. The REEL Movie Awards are India’s first and only movie awards that recognise and reward New Age Cinema and its artists who deserve glory as they champion creative visual storytelling and epitomize diversity in uniqueness of content. Here’s what Prasanna has to say about it:

It’s a wonderful initiative. Recognising anything that is new age requires a lot of credibility and authenticity. Today, be it in politics or cinema or anything, people either love something whole-heartedly or just hate it. There’s rarely a case in between. So, I think to be nominated as the best director in this initiative is an honour. I think today, in any field, content is winning and that’s a very great feeling.

However, there were always content-based movies, it’s not as if the stars’ films didn’t have content. I remember very clearly when I was in college I was a huge fan of Nagesh Kukunoor’s films. Hyderabad Blues was made on an absolutely shoestring budget and that gave a lot of hope. Also, that time digital revolution had already started happening in India. There were a lot of queues walking around with digital cameras and I was just one of them. Especially, I feel Hyderabad Blues was a turning point. Now, whatever movies we are making are becoming mainstream. It’s amazing to see a Newton is making 20 crore. Shubh Mangal Saavdhan almost did 50 crore worldwide. It’s hard to imagine a movie on impotence could earn Rs 50 crore at the box office. So, I would say that content-driven films are becoming mainstream and money is matching the content.

Also, there has been a generational change. What has happened is a lot of the audience have become filmmaker. It has all become digital. I have not assisted anyone, I have not been in the system and yet I have got a chance to make a movie, thanks to a small digital camera; otherwise it would not have been possible for me. It’s the same thing what blogging did to writing. You could have a mass following with your blog and then any ABC publishing company will call you to talk business. The same thing is happening to cinema. Whereas, on the audience side, I think social media is doing everything. Nowadays, people eagerly wait for reviews. They go through real reviews rather than just the reviews of the main critics and then amplify and decide whether or not they want to watch that particular movie. Then a lot of movies get big through positive word-of-mouth.

Moreover, for a person who is not from the industry and have not assisted anyone, the journey has been beautiful. Obviously, when you have a hit almost everybody wants to work with you. I think that’s the easy part the tough part is to live up to the expectations and just to keep that same honesty and hard work alive and enjoy it as much as you did in your first film.

(As told to Shrishti Negi)


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