Led by industry revival, space for regional cinema expands

Led by industry revival, space for regional cinema expands

Bollywood may continue to be the defining face of Indian cinema, but the Indian film industry’s resurgence in growth in 2011 was led by regional cinema, with non-Hindi movies increasing their space by winning new markets both locally and globally.

Both commercial and art house films are carving a special niche beyond the Hindi belt, says the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2012 by Ficci and KPMG. The proportion of Hindi films to total number of Indian films produced saw a dip, and the share of regional films, witnessed gradual increase. Of the total films certified in 2010 and 2011, nearly 83 per cent were regional films vis-a-vis 17 per cent Hindi films.

Telugu and Tamil cinema constituted 18 per cent share each, Kannada at 13 per cent, with Bengal 12 per cent share and Marathi 10 per cent share respectively.

Quality content

The reasons are not far to seek. Quality content with mass connect has been the key driver in improving occupancy rates, boosting box-office collections. Moreover, niche or focused content from many independent film-makers has gained widespread currency.

Says UTV Motion Pictures Limited CEO Sidddharth Roy Kapur: “Indian audience has definitely evolved. While there is no sure-shot genre for commercial success, it has been proved that audiences are thirsting for quality and differentiated entertainment, irrespective of genre or star-cast.”

Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks Limited attributes “audience preferences and renewed acceptability towards diverse content,” for critical and commercial success.

They cite strong and differentiated content for the critical success of Punjabi film “Jihne Mera Dil Luteya,” Bengali film “22nd Srabon,” Tamil Film “Engaeyum Eppothum,” and “Traffic” in Malayalam, among others, made it a good year for regional cinema in 2011.

The South Indian cinema has been traditionally strong, but the surprise package has been the growth in Marathi, Bengali and Punjabi cinema. The number of Bengali films produced has almost tripled in the last five years— from 44 in 2007 to 122 in 2011.

Mahendra Soni, Director, Shree Venkatesh Films Limited, sees the recent output of good films had led to a newfound interest that in the audience for Bengali cinema. There has been surge of new fresh ideas, new directors and fresh experimental cinema along with commercial films.

The Indian film industry, which saw revenues of Rs 9,290 crore in 2011 registering a growth of 11.52 per cent against Rs 8,330 crore in 2010, is projected to grow at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1 per cent to touch Rs 15,030 crore in 2016. The year 2010 was a testing time for the industry, as most films failed to create a mark at box office resulting in dip of 6.7 per cent in overall industry revenues vis-a-vis 2009 which clocked revenues of Rs 8,930 crore.

Going global

With regional cinemas also boasting of international market such as the US, UK and Canada for Punjabi and Bengali cinema, Bhojpuri films in Fiji and Mauritius, Malayalam films in Middle East, Telugu films in the US, and Tamil film, besides the US, Canada, and South East Asia, seen new markets in France, Germany and the Netherlands, show encouraging signs of growth in near future for the regional cinema and Indian film industry.

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