Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bollywood News, Bollywood Gossips and Movie Reviews

After being ignored for years, the Bhojpuri film industry is finally getting its due. Bhojpuri films are not only reaping rich dividends at the box office but also attracting the attention of Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar and Jeetendra.

While the Amitabh starrer “Ganga” is doing very good business, thespian Dilip Kumar has written the script for a film to be produced by his wife Saira Banu and Jeetendra is in talks to star in a Bhojpuri film. There are rumours Konkona Sen Sharma could also act in a Bhojpuri film.

“Around 50 Bhojpuri films are released in a year. Every week there is one release,” Mumbai-based film publicist Ashok Bhatia told IANS.

The industry, which is re-surfacing slowly, churns out moderate budget films that do well in the rural hinterland of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These have benefited from the highly glamorised recent Bollywood potboilers, which are aimed at NRI audiences.

“Single theatres in small regions in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh don’t run these big-budgeted Bollywood films as they focus on the NRI audiences. The B and C grade audiences don’t like them. They prefer Bhojpuri films instead,” said Bhojpuri filmmaker Alok Kumar.

Kumar has made two films “Raja Bhojpuriya” and “Ho Gail Ba Pyaar Odhaniya Waali Se”, which has completed 100 days in Mumbai.

To cater to the audience’ taste for fast-paced action, the family-oriented Bhojpuri films had to morph into the masala genre.

“Earlier, it used to be family-oriented emotional dramas. But now the audiences like to watch masala flicks. So the current films are modelled on the Hindi hits of the 70s and 80s,” said Kumar.

Making a Bhojpuri film is cheap compared to the many millions spent on a single Bollywood film. They cost around Rs.7-8 million and the biggest Bhojpuri stars like Ravi Kishan or Manoj Tiwari apparently charge Rs.2.5 million per film - a nominal amount compared to what the Hindi film heroes command.

“We have to keep the budget in control because we don’t have access to all the theatres in the country. And we don’t get instant results. We recover our cost, but not immediately,” added Kumar.

Ravi, who is the superstar of Bhojpuri films, said: “I have worked very hard to popularise this language, which was looked down upon as a C-grade vernacular language. I am from Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, and love my language. I decided to market it in a way that would make it an international phenomenon. And see… we are now going to have our first Bhojpuri concert across the globe.”

Over 270 million people speak and understand Bhojpuri and the Bhojpuri diaspora is based in countries like Mauritius, Ghana, West Indies, Fiji, Nepal, Dubai, Indonesia, and the Netherlands.

Talking about the overseas market, Kumar said: “There is a demand for Bhojpuri films in those countries but proper infrastructure is not there. I would love to screen my films there. Music albums of Bhojpuri films are going there and are lapped up.”

Bhojpuri film actors, following in the footsteps of Bollywood stars, are all set to woo global fans with live performances.

Members of the Bhojpuri film fraternity, which has seen a phenomenal growth in the last few years, have joined hands to organise their first star-spangled stage show called “Bhojpuri Hungama” with 20 shows planned in various parts of India and across the world.

Amitabh starrer “Ganga” - a Bhojpuri film produced by his make-up man Deepak Sawant, is doing good business.

“There is a huge craze for Bhojpuri films and people will start respecting them after the international shows. Shweta Tiwari of ‘Kasauti Zindagi kii’ fame is also joining us. Actresses Nagma and Rambha are also part of this concert,” said Ravi.

In India, Bhojpuri films are now gaining popularity beyond the boundaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Said Arun Kumar Singh, a Delhi-based teacher from Bihar: “We live away from our home. Whenever we are homesick, Bhojpuri films provide us emotional succour. We are able to connect to the films because they show our culture and tradition.”

Now Bollywood ace choreographer Saroj Khan is directing a Bhojpuri movie, director Tinnu Verma is remaking a Bollywood hit, “Mera Gaon Mera Desh” in Bhojpuri, and Bollywood singer Udit Narayan is producing a Bhojpuri film called “Kab Hoi Gauna Hamar”.

Apart from that, producers like Subhash Ghai, are foraying into Bhojpuri films and so are Hindi movie stars.

Ukrainian actress Tanya has just completed shooting for “Firangi Dulhaniya”.

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