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Where is the rural india

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Netowrk
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Dil Chahta haiShekhar Kapoor in his speech on the eve of FICCI Frames 2007 said that the mechanism needs to be devised on an urgent basis that could bring back the rural masses back to the film viewing as the industry could not sustain itself in the long run based on the support majorly of the middle class, and their also is a need to give a much needed push to the regional cinema. His views are sort of prophetic if it were to be viewed in the context of the fact that during the month of March 2007, 7 films were released, most of them were multi stars and all seven of them stumbled at the box office and could not sustain themselves even for a week.

This inspite of that fact that there was a lot of pre-release publicity, and media hype through all the possible modes of communication. What is it that deters the
multiplex audience, from visiting the screen, inspite of the hype and hoopla created for the movie? First and foremost is the high cost of ticket, which deters the audience to visit a multiplex, and icing on the cake has been added by loading service tax on to the ticket by the recent budgetary pronouncements, which the multiplexes in most of the cases has passed it on to the viewer. The audience of the cities has become so discerning that it relies more on the gut feeling and the word of mouth feedback to make up its mind to view the movie, reviews be damned.

It is in such a scenario that the rural audience comes into play. The problem that is posed for them is that they are not able to relate themselves to the themes of urban angst, which has become the sort of staple diet for most of the movies. As a result they do not throng the cinema halls at all to view these movies. And the result is, a steady market has suddenly dropped out of the horizon. No wonder, the concept of universal hit, has gone out of vogue from the box office lexicon and the films are declared a hit based only on the basis of collection of the first week itself.

This is in such a scenario that the Bhojpuri films have been able to make a considerable dent. While Farhan Akhtar may not agree that the films have assumed an urban proportion, how many of the people living in the country side would be able to connect to the world of a DIL CHAHTA HAI, hardly one percent and there in lies the catch. Can any of the present crops of the stars portray a rural character with a finesse, which was displayed by the stars of the yore like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra, and the tradition seems to have stopped with Amitabh Bachchan. The present stars try to fill this lacuna in their oeuvre by portraying Punjabi characters but there again they woefully flounder when the action shifts to rural areas. Can any of the top stars claim to have a hit, which has a rural milieu as the connecting theme, not likely. A Shahrukh Kahn tried to do it in DON with Khaike Paan Benares Wala, but the character seemed to be straight lift from urban India and the rural mass simply rejected it. Coupled with this also is the fact that none of the present crop of singers have the voice modulation to convert their voice into a voice of the rural public, but for an Udit Narayan, as could be done by Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey or a Kishore Kumar.

The industry needs to introspect and deconstruct, or else the films would continue to tumble and universal hit would be a mirage.


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