On February 14, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures based in Mumbai, announced its plan to release 10-12 films in 2011. Most of these films are in the various stages of pre production and production and are being helmed by prominent directors of Bollywood like Abbas-Mustan, Anurag Kashyap and David Dhawan to name a few.
However, what stood out in their announcement for 2011 was the setting up of Tipping Point Films that will absolutely cater to the urban Indian youth who prefer films that cause a tingling sensation on their taste buds. Today, most of the multiplexes are teeming with the urban youth whose sense of cinema has evolved over the years. They are open to any genre as long as they are able to identify with it and if it matches with their sensibilities.
Among the 10-12 films Viacom 18 and Tipping Point Films are producing, Tipping Point Films is producing three films that will be catering exclusively to the urban youth audience. Shaitan, a thriller, which is being directed by Bijoy Nambiar and staring Kalki Koechlin among others, is slated to release sometime in April this year. The second film, Michael once again a thriller about an ex-cop with the same name, has been directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and features Naseeruddin Shah and Mahie Gill. Michael is slated to be released in the first quarter of the year. And finally Gang of Wasseypur (based on the coal mine mafia) is being directed by Anurag Kashyap. Gang of Wasseypur is also slated for an April release. Anurag Kashyap who’s known to make hatke (different) and hard hitting films whether it’s Black Friday, Dev.D or the yet to be released Paanch (2003), surprisingly will be the co-producer for these three films.
Keeping in mind the audience trend across cinema halls across the country, Viacom 18 has done the right thing by thinking of tapping the urban youth. As compared to other production houses, Tipping Point Films has no set budget for each film. The budget for the three films varies from film to film depending on its story.
Gang of Wasseypur will be following the path of Rakta Charitra directed by Ram Gopal Varma and will be made as a two part series. Having tasted success earlier with films like Jab We Met, Singh Is Kingg, Welcome and Ghajini, Viacom 18 and its subsidiary Tipping Point Films will be keen to keep the success momentum going, having set its eyes on being one of the top three film studios in the country by 2014. It’s success will surely depend on how Tipping Point Films, going ahead with its agenda to cater to the urban youth by giving them films that touch their sensibilities, achieves its goal it has set out for itself.
Keeping in mind some of the small films of last year and before that, Viacom 18 has been a bit of a late player in this segment. Over the last few years, some of the sleeper hits were films that the urban youth enjoyed because of its different storyline. One can’t forget Dil Chahata Hai that came a decade ago that was lapped up hungrily by the urban youth and which became a monstrous hit pushing its director Farhan Akhtar in the A list category. And then you had Dev.D by Anurag Kashyap that looked at the classic Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s story ‘Devdas’ with a set of modern eyes. And last year, there was Udaan which received its share of flights across theatres thanks to its patronizing by the urban youth.
Today, the urban youth represents a decent percentage of working class as well as the fastest growing audience share. One can’t ignore this set of audience whose number’s simply going up. Tipping Point Films today firmly believes that the youth is going to form the market of the future. Whether they manage to hold on to the pulse of this urban youth and sustain a healthy relationship with them over the long run, we’ll just have to wait and watch and see how the first three films from the Tipping Point Films’ stable fares in the market.