Malayalam cinema has gracefully opened its doors for the newcomers across all fields. It is reported that newcomers play the female lead in at least 40 forthcoming movies, though there is a dearth for female actors. This trend is not limited to the heroines alone as the number of movies made by debutante directors have gone up significantly in the last few years.
Gone are the days when one has to work in the industry as an associate director for, at least, 15 years before turning independent, that too by securing the dates of the superstars after persistent requests. Today, a two-minute-long short film shot on your mobile phone could be added to your profile as a filmmaker.
Surge in business
According to the trade pundits, it was Mollywood which produced the most number of movies last year, though the success rate was a mere 14%.
New producers are ready to finance projects with fresh faces in the lead. During 1990–2000, a maximum of 80 films were released in Malayalam in a year. Now the number has escalated to 200 movies per year. It is reported that at least 20 movies are filmed simultaneously at various locations around Kerala. A producer comments that many actors today earn what yesteryear superstar Prem Nazir had earned in 600 movies, with just five movies itself. In the 1990s, the heroines were paid about Rs 1 lakh as remuneration. Now the leading ladies would charge up to Rs 50 lakh for a movie.
No dearth of producers
The number of movies produced in Malayalam is going up every year even though most of them do not make an impact at the theatres or in the broadcast market. Though it was widely assumed that the demonetisation and the crash of real estate industry would severely affect the cinema industry, it hardly made any difference. M Ranjith, General Secretary of Film Producers Association, says that at least 15 new producers show up every month with interesting new projects.
Betting big on low-budget films
Low-budget movies have taken over the cinema industry and even ace producers are ready to bankroll such projects. The financial losses and the pressure of production would be comparatively less, and these factors make low-budget movies a favorite among the producers. The makers won’t have to schedule the filming as per the available dates of the superstars as three or four fresh faces would be roped in to play the lead roles.
The actors too are ready to act in the movies of debutante directors. If one or two small-budget movies make it big in the theatres, more such movies could be made. Even though not all these movies are box-office hits, it wouldn’t leave the producers financially devastated as some big-budget movies which bomb, despite having an amazing star cast.
Many producers say that these days even big-budget movies of leading stars do not find the satellite rights that easily. If a movie is successful in the theatres, then other business too would become profitable even if it does not make much money prior to the theatrical release.
An ‘adaar’ business
Omar Lulu’s forthcoming directorial 'Oru Adaar Love', which does not boast of big stars or an overwhelming budget, has raked in crores of rupees even before its filming was complete. Leading lady Priya Varrier became an overnight internet sensation after her wink in a video song from the movie became viral. The movie too cashed in on her new-found popularity. 'Oru Adaar Love' will be the first Indian movie to be released in all the Indian languages, that too on the same day itself.
Meanwhile movies like 'Queen' and 'Sudani From Nigeria', which did not make any pre-release business, went on to become sleeper hits at the theatres and even made more money than many other big-budget movies starring the leading actors.
Woo the youth
Many new-age movies revolve around the central theme of friendship and camaraderie, and mainly focus on the young audience. Superhit movies like 'Sudani From Nigeria', 'Ee. Ma Yau', 'Queen', 'Angamaly Diaries', 'Oru Mexican Aparatha' and 'Kismath' primarily targeted the youngsters. The families turned up in large numbers for many of these movies only after the young audience made it a hit. Critics say that 90% of audience who watched the latest Antony Varghese-starrer 'Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil' were youth.
Cinema is undergoing major shifts and changes and logically constructed plots give way to new ways of entertainment. Here cinema alone is the ultimate winner.