ON my first day at Yash Raj Films, Yash Chopra told me, Bete kissi ko nahi pataa picture kyun chalti ya nahi chalti. Just make a film that you are proud of and not embarrassed by. Baaki, all the best! Coming from Yashji, I thought that was just brilliant advice. Simple, honest and true! He mirrored the words of Academy Award winning screenwriter William Goldman, who said Nobody knows anything! So when I was asked to write about likely trends in the film industry for 2013, I thought let me add a big disclaimer upfront.
A good place to start when trying to project the future is to study the past. This years been great for Bollywood, business and otherwise. Films of a variety of genres and scales have done well. A host of new actors and technicians were launched. And never before had the Indian movie-goer got so much choice or been so open to sampling new content. A large number of films were released with a much better success ratio than before. Of course, we had our share of turkeys which have their own set of learnings, but lets focus on what worked.
More than 12 films joined the R100 crore club. More than eight crossed the R50-crore mark. More than five did more than R25-crore at the domestic box office alone. More than 10 films were tentpole, project films featuring A-list actors, banners. More than 10 mid-range films in terms of stars, budgets (for instance, Jannat 2, Raaz 3, Kahaani, Cocktail) did well. More than six indie films were released. About 12 or 13 films were sequels or remakes of old Hindi or South Indian films.
More than 10 films featured newcomers. More than two this year were female oriented films. More than 10 films were dramas. More than eight films were comedies and these had a strong performance at the box-office. More than five were action films. There were more than five adult oriented/ horror films which is a genre thats growing consistently. There were two or three romantic films.
Now lets dig deeper to see what to expect besides remakes, project films, the usual over the top comedies and item songs.
* Threequels, the new sequels: Franchises will consolidate, from Murder 3 and Krrish 3 to the baap (father) of them all, Dhoom 3.
* R150 crore, the new R100 crore club: With more screens, higher ticket prices and more films hitting the R100 crore mark, the new benchmark for the biggies is going to be R150 crore.
* Isko hero kisne banaaya: The rise of the unconven-tional hero. Not a Khan Not a Kapoor Not a classic looker What Look at a Nawazuddin leading Gangs of Wasseypur and holding his own even with Aamir in Talaash. We will see some more of what Ranveer Singh did with Band Baaja Baaraat.
* Gaana kidhar gaya: While Bollywood will always have lip-synched choreographed back-up dancers kind of songs , were going to see a lot more real use of music. There will be more background score led albums as we saw in Talaash and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
* New genres, new voices: Bhangra will never go out of fashion, but there will be a lot more experimentation new genres, new sounds (such as Dubstep in Ishaqzaade and Blues in Talaash) and fresh, new voices.
* Technology aiding story telling: From more 3D as weve seen in Hollywood, to visual effects that help scale up the experience the advent of digital technology will also help movies get produced more efficiently.
*n Foreign hand: With big Hollywood films (such as James Bond, Avengers, Star Trek, Spiderman, MIB, etc.,) having a simultaneous release in India, the bar will be set high, especially for action films. So well be tapping into international experts to deliver world-class quality stunts/ action even in Bollywood.
* Local flavours: Bollywood will get more specific. Versus the generic Hindi film with the Malhotras as the protagonists, expect some very specific settings and characters.
* Disruption/ partnerships: With more people clamouring for attention, marketing campaigns will have to get more innovative and disruptive to have an impact. Big ideas, not small change, are essential.
* The CD will die: While this has pretty much already happened, a large chunk will even discontinue making music CDs.
* Import export: Besides the remakes of South Indian hits/ Hollywood rip-offs, Bollywood will also start exporting content. For instance, Kahaani being remade in the south.
* Kuch nayaa dikhao: Not just new faces, but new directors, writers, technicians with big studios backing will make their debut which is fantastic. This will lead to new sensibilities, new con-cepts and new styles of story tell-ing realistic characters, dialo-gues, stories dramatically told.
Finally, while all this crystal gazing was fun, if any of this actually comes true next year, remember you heard it here first. But, if none of this happens, you were warned at the start! Nobody knows anything!
The author is vice president of Yash Raj Films and business and creative head for youth films, brand partnerships and talent management.