The Indian film industry is the largest production house of films in the world. With more than 2000 films released annually, and films in diverse languages, India has a rich and varied film history.
Cinema first arrived in India to Mumbai on 7 July 1896. The first films that were screened here were those of Lumiere brothers. The films were typically shown to a vastly British audience at the plush Watson hotel. Around the same time, the roots of film production in India were sown as two avid film buffs – Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar and Hiralal Sen started getting interested in the business of movie making.
Film producers like Jamshedji Madan and Dadasaheb Phalke were some of the original producers of Hindi cinema. Soon the silent film era made way for the ‘talkies’ and stalwarts like Ardeshir Irani laid the foundation of Indian film industry as we know it today. Talkie production was a highly expensive proposition in those days and it called for an entire overhaul of the existing production systems and exhibition.
Since the 1896 to the film industry today, we have certainly come a long way. From Raj Kapoor, Satayjit Ray, Bimal Roy, Shyam Benegal to Yash Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, V. Shantaram have shaped the history of Indian movies with the films they produced.
Not to forget some of our young blood such as Sharad Patel of SP Cinecorp, Ronnie Lahiri, Karnesh Sharma, Aanand L Rai who are breaking barriers and making content-driven cinema to woo the audiences.
There has never been a more opportune time for Indian cinema than today. With a vibrant producers community, new technology and renewed investment interest, Indian cinema is set to transcend international borders to project India’s capabilities as a film production hub around the world.
In fact, in the past decade or so, the number of new and talented film producers have impacted mainstream Indian film industry in unprecedented ways. These new-age Indian film producers bring a breath of fresh air to the industry. They bankroll, build and contribute to the industry at more levels than just investment and exhibition.
As a result of this new wave, the Indian producer role has evolved to take on a more creative, entrepreneurial mantle. From putting together the film end-to-end, looking for unique content and stories to script development, casting and hiring the crew and finally post-production. Not to mention the gruelling process of marketing and promotions.
Yet, the new breed of Indian film producers are driven by a universal love for good cinema. The new producers are equipped with creative ideas on how things should be done and how to break stereotypes. As a result, you get films beyond conventional tropes in terms of visualization, narrative, acting and presentation.
One key differentiator that enables Indian film producers to make their mark globally is their content-first approach. It is no longer the star cast, the item song, the exotic locales that dominate the conversation but simply the merit of a story.
In Hollywood, for instance actors like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Christian Bale have supported great cinema and tell non-commercial stories. Similarly, the new age producers and directors in the Indian film industry have brought a fresh perspective to çommercial cinema. With better production values, superior technology and foriegn investment, they are sure to make waves globally.