Former Disney India head Siddharth Roy Kapur, producer of the Oscar shortlisted film “Last Film Show”, has an eclectic range of movies and series set to release in 2023 from his team at Roy Kapur Films.
In the first half of 2023, the epic war film “Pippa”, a co-production with RSVP by Ronnie Screwvala, directed by Raja Krishna Menon (“Airlift”) and starring Ishaan (“A Proper Boy”) and Mrunal Thakur ( “Sita Ramam”) with music by AR Rahman. Co-produced by Junglee Pictures, Arshad Syed’s “Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?” is a wacky comedy starring Taapsee Pannu (“Blurr”) and Pratik Gandhi (“Scam 1992”). Another film, the comedy-drama “Bas Karo Aunty!”, starring Ishwak Singh (“Rocket Boys”), is directed by newcomer Abhishek Sinha, written by Nitesh Tiwari (“Dangal”) and co-produced by Tiwari’s Earthsky Pictures and RSVP for Disney+. hot star.
Returning series include the 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 Nagraj Manjule (“Jhund”) that explores the world of matka gambling and the dangerous men who run it. Vishnuvardhan, director of the Amazon Prime Video film “Shershaah”, will make his series directorial debut with an epic multi-season action drama, which will tell the story of an integral part of India’s military history of the twentieth century.
“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 “Kaamyaab”, will headline a family drama series set in Europe, Africa and India in the world of warring business families. Abbas Tyrewala (“Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”) will write and host a spy action drama series set in the world of South Asian counterintelligence.
Arati Kadav (“Cargo”), winner of the BAFTA Breakthrough 2022, is creating a series that will be a quirky take on romance in the sci-fi genre. Advertising filmmaker Bhavesh Kapadia will make his directorial debut with a female-led comedy thriller series. And Anubhav Chopra (Netflix’s “House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths”) will write and direct a young adult drama series, set in a modern high school.
Roy Kapur Films also has a multi-part English-language series adaptation of William Dalrymple’s 2019 bestseller “The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company” in development.
Roy Kapur recently stepped down after six years as Chairman of the Producers’ Guild of India, where he successfully weathered many storms during his tenure, including providing industry workers during COVID-19 and leading the industry against Bollywood’s defamation of Bollywood. of some Indian TV channels. . During his time he has watched the industry closely.
“2022 should not be seen as the year we make definitive predictions for the future because it was a year of change, with both creators and audiences just returning to a post-pandemic scenario. In terms of where things are both in theaters and on streaming platforms, it’s kind of everybody picking up,” said Roy Kapur. Variety.
“If there are any early trends to watch, and that could be a harbinger of things to come on the theatrical front, it seems like the big spectacle movies are the ones people go out to see, movies that are probably bigger than the entertainment experiences. life. Movies that have a built-in community viewing experience, like probably horror or thrillers, are also movies that definitely do better than others in the theater,” added Roy Kapur. “On the other hand, movies that are not genre movies that are maybe in the drama space or in the light comedy space that could be movies that you can very easily consume in the comfort of your home without it being an experience. cinematic, they look like I really won’t find takers in movie theaters right now.”
The biggest trend of 2022 at the Indian box office was that South Indian films were huge hits across the country, while Hindi-language Bollywood had just a handful of hits. Roy Kapur says this was not a sudden trend as Indian audiences got used to seeing dubbed versions of South Indian movies on satellite channels over the past decade and especially during the two years of the pandemic and therefore it became more open to directors. the stars and storytelling style from there.
“Naturally, you have to give credit to the filmmakers and the kind of movies they’ve made. So from ‘KGF 2’ to ‘RRR’ to ‘Pushpa’, these were all movies that really did incredibly well and crossed over from South India to North India. I am hopeful that we will make it across the other way as well, because it can only be good for Indian cinema in general,” said Roy Kapur.
Talking about the high flop rate among Bollywood films, Roy Kapur said that many of the films targeting an urban audience were greenlit and were produced in pre-pandemic times. Now, post-pandemic, the urban audiences that made those movies successful aren’t coming back in the numbers they used to, while audiences in second- and third-tier centers are coming back for movies that cater to the mass market.
A big winner at the Indian box office has been Hollywood, with “Avatar: The Way of Water” one of the biggest hits of the year and on track to unseat “Avengers: Endgame” as the highest-grossing Hollywood film of all time. in the territory. Roy Kapur said that during his tenure at Disney, internal discussions centered on the fact that, at best, Hollywood would capture 10% of the Indian box office and the focus shifted to producing local content. However, with Disney and other major Hollywood companies spending time and effort marketing Hollywood to a broad general audience and dubbing it into multiple languages, which coincided with the superhero movie, creature movie, disaster movie, and the rise of of the VFX-heavy movies in Hollywood, that wall has been breached. In 2021, Hollywood accounted for 11% of the Indian box office, according to the latest EY report on the industry.
“The quality of the visual effects, the sheer scale of those movies just lends itself to the big screen experience beautifully. The fact that they don’t have a lot of dialogue, they don’t really require plot and dialogue at a very basic level to be appreciated and therefore the dubbed versions can work across cultures and have been working. Indian audiences are taking those kinds of movies in the movie theater because they don’t actually get that from their home makers because the scope of imagination and those budgets are so incredible that now they get their cinematic fix from those movies. said Roy Kapur, adding that Hollywood’s theatrical popularity is limited to event films, not so much dramas, comedies, romantic comedies and animated films. “The Avengers and the Avatars of the world can compete with any Hindi and southern film,” said Roy Kapur.
On the Indian broadcast market, for which his company is a key content provider, Roy Kapur said: “It’s been the golden age for broadcasting in India, the kind of content that you can create and watch, there really hasn’t been “. been a better time. Shows of all kinds, from investigative to thrillers, horror, drama, comedy, scenes from life and legal thrillers – it really is fertile ground for creators to hone their craft in order to tell stories they may have felt impeded from being able to tell. theatrically due to the commercial pressures involved.
Inevitably, Roy Kapur feels there will be a consolidation in the streaming space with the nearly 50 platforms in India shrinking to 10 over the next three to five years and streamlining in current production practices.
“There has definitely been some streamlining of budgets and spending in recent months, which had to happen at some point. There will be big stakes, there will be those few shows that every streaming platform bets on every year that they really want to be able to create an impact on. But if you need to create that volume of content that is required to power each of these services, going forward they will be more focused on profit and loss rather than just subscription in terms of subscriber growth. Every one of them is really looking to be able to streamline to some degree both the volume and the budgets per show,” said Roy Kapur.
As for Indian-produced broadcast shows having a global impact, like “Delhi Crime” did, Roy Kapur feels the time is not far off.
“I think it’s inevitable that in the next two or three years there will be some Indian shows that have managed to break through and become global phenomena. When you look at what happened with ‘RRR’, just by being on a streaming service like Netflix, the kind of visibility that it managed to get, of course, all the credit for the movie, but the fact that it was able to be distributed so widely on such an important platform has put it front and center in the minds of a global audience,” said Roy Kapur. “And so today, I think we have no excuse. In the past, we used to complain about the fact that distribution was so difficult in countries where we were trying to reach a non-South Asian diaspora. Today, with streamers, we have the ability to do that. So now everything depends on us. And I think we need to take up that challenge and say we’re going to do it and hopefully in the next three years it will happen.”