Mumbai: Family Dramas Now Passe in Bollywood?

Ritu Verma/TNN

Mumbai, Feb 3: Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Maine Pyar Kiya, Baghban, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai....all these titles remind us of opulent Bollywood The secret formula for success in the film fraternity seems to have undergone a sea change family sagas.

Several marriage and festivity sequences, mushy, romantic numbers and heated tussles between families for the sake of pride, all these family entertainers were loaded with enough masala to lure the masses.

No wonder, all of them scored phenomenally well at the box office. However, off late, the secret formula for success in the film fraternity seems to have undergone a sea change. Freshness in content and experimentation in terms of treatment is what the junta desires.

With this shift in the preference and attitude of viewers, as well as the filmmakers, is the concept of family dramas now a thing of the past?

Time to change

With several fast-paced movies releasing every Friday, the struggle for survival and success is tougher in today's Bollywood. Thanks to the concept of multiplex movies, all films get the opportunity to reach out to the audiences. If the content of the product is appealing it will definitely click with the people.

Director Kunal Kohli, known for his hit romantic flick Hum Tum says, "Serving the same concept repeatedly with similar storylines is like underestimating the intellect of your audience. In case of family entertainers, if you can come up with a fresh plot and can deal with it intelligently, viewers will surely like it. For an individual, more than the genre, it's the content of the movie that matters more."

Praveen Suri, a marketing professional says, "These days, to churn out a hit movie, you really need not have a joint family backdrop, extravagant sets and an over emotional story line. Family dramas have ruled Bollywood for long, but nowadays viewers expect the film-makers to go a step ahead."

Viewer's choice

Realistic and hard-hitting films like A Wednesday, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Dasvidaniya may have been low on star value and publicity, but had a good plot and thus did well at the box office too.

Ritika Tyagi, a media person tells, "I am a huge admirer of Shah Rukh Khan and was in college when Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge released. I might have seen the movie around fifty times in that one year. However, if somebody tells me to watch it once again, I will get bored half way. I am habituated to treat myself with different type of movies today. Apart from that, Bollywood should always keep in mind that they are dealing with a much more mature and demanding audience."

Ravi Chopra, director-producer says, "The number of movies now being churned out in India is much more than before. To have an edge over the others, directors are adopting different themes. The number of family dramas hitting the silver screen may have come down, but the concept will always survive. We only need to keep the rule of revival in mind and keep track with the changes in society."

Is the family saga concept ebbing?

Director Kunal Kohli defends the genre by saying, "Television has become a thriving medium today and has over loaded the audience with family dramas. Many of them even draw inspiration from films. However, it doesn't mean that the concept of family entertainers is losing its sheen on silver screen. If you deal with the subject creatively, then whether it's an action movie, romantic or family drama, it will strike bull's eye."

Ranjan Shahi, a television director and producer observes, "Our country is known for its cultural and family values. Most of the television serials survive on the concept of family dramas and these seem to be hitting jackpot with the audiences. The peg of your story might be different, but family dramas are a part of all the shows on-air at the moment."

Change is the only thing constant

Filmmakers claim, family dramas still work. They just need to be treated differently so that they fit into today's lifestyle and the audiences can relate to it. Director Imtiaz Ali did the same and became the proud owner of the movie, Jab We Met .

Ali says, "We live in a modern society so the family values, lifestyle and standard of living has changed and so has its portrayal onscreen. That is why the stories today are more personal and individualized. I recently saw Dev D , it's the latest version of Dilip Kumar's Devdas . The original flick was a contemporary family drama, Dev D is on the same lines and the configuration of relationships is same in the film, only that it is portrayed differently. The language is chic and it's set in today's environment."

Komal Nahata, a trade analyst states, "You can't imagine any individual without a family. We might have become modern today, but we all love our parents the same way. So family dramas will always be a part of Bollywood in some form or the other. If some films like Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi didn't score well at the box-office, then it was the plot that contributed to its failure. The recent Yash Raj film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was a family entertainer too, but it went down well with the viewers. Most of the people prefer such movies when they go out with their clan. So family sagas are here to stay." 


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