Kevi Rite Javana Aapde?
Dhollywood gets fresh lease of life
The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation, says Abhishek Jain, director of ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ to our reporter, Disha Deshpande
Dhollywood has come of age after 30-year long wait! As the Gujarati film industry completes 60 years, the industry is undergoing a slow metamorphosis with newer film themes. After the golden era of the 70s, came the clone period where the films and music lacked innovation, post which the Gujarati film industry saw its viewership dwindling. But the silver lining may yet be visible as the young filmmakers explore newer and bolder themes to move past the long shadows of the Gujarati films revolving around the same old themes like mythology and love stories. But is it a comeback yet?
First time directors seem to be taking the reins in their hands, instead of migrating to television and Hindi films like before. “The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation. They want to get into the Gujarati film industry and change its face. Their involvement will bring fresh perspective to the films. I have lived in Ahmedabad all my life, so I understand Gujaratis better. This gave me the confidence to make a Gujarati film,” says Abhishek Jain, debut director of upcoming comedy film ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ (How will you go?),It is a satire on the fascination and obsession of Patels, a farming community, migrating to United States of America and starting a life afresh there. It has received a lot of attention post release, specially from the gujju crowd.
Multiplexes have a different story to tell. “Gujarati films lack the basic audio-visual quality. Even if the film is screened, it is a no show. People do not come to watch. The acting is not up to the mark and the actors lack the intensity in their expressions. It becomes pointless as the films are just not worth it,” says Manubhai Patel, owner of Wide Angle Multiplex. Owner of Ashok and Roopam theatres in Ahmedabad, Vandan Shah adds, “People are ashamed to watch Gujarati films. The government give filmmakers a sub- sidy of Rs 5 Lakh. Despite this, on an average, 40-50 Gujarati films are produced every year. Last year, the industry churned out 63 films.”
The involvement and contribution to the Dhollywood is definitely on the rise. But direc- tors are making sure they give the audiences a lot of variety to choose from. ‘Megh Dhanushya- Colours of life’ is one such film which is sure to raise some eyebrows. “My film is about homosexuals, their lives, and their struggles. They are criticised, mocked in public and used as humour props in several other films. The film is not aimed at increasing their acceptance, but to sensitize people about gays and their turbulent world.” says director K R Devmani, another debutant. His film is scheduled to be released worldwide. He is quite sure that his film will be accepted as it is an informative one, for all age groups, with no offensive scenes.
The new age directors and actors of the Gujarati film industry are very optimistic about its future. Devmani adds, “For the past several years, films were not very well made, and the repetitive aspect of the rural stories was not getting the audiences. Now, with new concepts pouring in, one hopes the audiences will re- turn.”
“Marathi cinema was in a similar position a few years back. But young directors gave a slew of great critically acclaimed films and they just could not be ignored anymore. The Maharashtra government had stepped in and it was made compulsory for cinema houses to carry Marathi films,” says Abhishek Jain, positive that a few good films will be an urban contemporary wave and everybody will accept Gujarati cinema as a something valuable. Will this new wave in Gujarati cinema turn the tide is something that one can only wait and watch!