“When ushering in the Indian new year it’s nice to take stock of changes and trends of the previous year that will pave the path for the kind of content that we will be making and watching in theatres in this coming New Year.

Cinema affects culture and becomes a movement that propagates its self shaking itself out of the complacency of previous ways of thinking and perhaps that’s exactly what is happening now. Has the influx of American content, on our screens, rekindled a thirst for desi content? Who is to say! But a change is certainly afoot.

What was once considered too tiny or niche has now become mainstream and what was a safe bet is no longer that. The tables have turned but change is good. It has thrown open newer stars, rising far more rapidly than they used to. It seems like it will be faster and easier for Vicky Kaushal to find mainstream acceptance than it took Rajkummar Rao.

Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurana have captured mainstream imagination and look out for Radhika Madan, Sanya Malhotra and others too. An Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal serious thriller has made more money than an Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor rom-com. Performance is ranking over star presence and “safe” genres.

Character actors are the cherry on top and the likes of Gajraj Rao, Vijay Raaz, Ranvir Shorey, Neena Gupta, Aparshakti are adding tangible value to the films they act in and upping the level playing field for actors.

That is not to say that our mainstream actors are lagging behind. They still lead the pack and their presence added to good content amplifies its reach and the profits of the film like never before… #Sanju #RanbirKapoor

What is becoming most apparent is that filmmakers: writers and directors and producers are beginning to find their own voice maybe triggered by the rise of censor -less (or should we say censor – free) online content (some good although mostly insane but pushing boundaries nonetheless).

Or maybe it’s a satiated audience tired of the same old fare which could explain why they made the cash registers ring for an unfamiliar genre like horror comedy in Stree. (Mostly unfamiliar for the Hindi-film audience at least because in the South – the horror comedy is popular mainstream fare)

And maybe our expectations are rising. We want to see good movies and won’t settle for old wine in a new bottle. We don’t want wine. We want to taste something new yet familiar to our Indianness.

And these are the thoughts ringing in our ears whilst developing content for the coming year.

This year has been a great year for the Indian film industry and we hope that the next year and many more will be too. It’s difficult, it’s exciting and it’s constantly changing but we know that change is good for us.

Happy Diwali and Happy New Year to us all.
– Rucha Pathak is the Chief Creative Officer, Fox Star Studios.

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