Latest Updates

Jackie Chan in India to promote his next
SS Rajamouli makes grand plans
Hrithik Roshan in a double role in Karan Malhotra film?
Watch out for Sajid Nadiadwala and Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon

Small Is Big

Children’s films are perhaps the most unexplored genre in India even though they have the potential to bring in handsome returns

Pt-1-1024x358

India is one of the most flourishing film markets in the world, churning out more than a thousand films a year, and this includes a mix of genres and languages. Yet, children’s films barely figure on the radar of filmmakers and even the audience, especially when it comes to homegrown content.

The happy exceptions in Hindi, in the last three decades, were films like Mr India, Chhota Chetan, Taare Zameen Par, Chillar Party, Bhoothnath and Bhoothnath Returns and, Stanley Ka Dabba, among others. But the number of films that has stirred the imagination of children is so few that they have not made so much as a dent at the ticket counters in India.

On the other hand, Hollywood has had much better luck in India, with children’s releases such as the Kung Fu Panda series, Minions, Inside Out and most recently, The Jungle Book, booking handsome profits here. Why, weeks after its release in India, The Jungle Book is still doing brisk business at the ticket window.

This suggests that there potential for kids’ films is huge; we simply haven’t tapped into it yet, locally. This week, we asked the experts why, in an age of experimentation and evolved audience sensibilities, children’s films are still commercially unviable.

Nina-Lath-GuptaNina Lath Gupta, MD, NFDC India

Just because a film features a child or children does not make it a children’s film. It is important to remember that in a children’s film, the filmmaker’s gaze should be the child’s and not adult’s. Somehow Indian filmmakers seem to have forgotten what they enjoyed reading or watching when they were young.

Creating content for children is serious business. Children enjoy comedy and adventure. They don’t relate to message-heavy films, which definitely work with adults. With children, the message needs to be told in a highly engaging story. That’s the toughest part. Of course, there are many films that are enjoyed by children and adults alike, but this is an exception. Children need content which deals with their issues while also addressing the
right values.

Further, there is no generic children’s content. It is age-specific. When NFDC started a script lab devoted to developing children’s content, the first thing that writers were asked to specify was the age group they were targeting with their stories. That was the ‘eureka’ moment. You have to think and feel like a child to create content for children.

NFDC has tied up with Cine Kid Amsterdam to exchange ideas, projects and expertise. The idea is to encourage Indian writers with children’s content to explore the latest trends and possibilities gathering steam in other parts of the world. We also feel that this is a great area for potential international co-production.

Ajit-ThakurAjit Thakur, CEO, Trinity Pictures

Even though the kids’ genre has huge potential, there are barely any films being made for them in India. At Trinity Pictures, we are looking at multiple kids’ franchises that will be deployed across media beyond cinema and we will invest in scale to ensure it’s a cinema date kids will not want to miss.

 

amole-gupte-150x150Amole Gupte, Filmmaker

I totally believe we need to give importance to children, an area we are ignoring at present. At the end of the day, a child cannot go and watch a film on his own; he needs to be accompanied (by adults). It’s not that we don’t make films for children at all. There was Ra.One, Taare Zameen Parand Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which has the industry’s biggest stars and all these were kids’ films. Bajrangi Bhaijaan did so well at the box office, it’s a story about a child who gets lost in another country and this super-hit star goes to her country to take her back.

If you treat a film properly, it will reach out to the audience. The reason we see only a handful of films like this is because, as I said earlier, we don’t give children due importance. What one requires to do is engage with children in the same way one engages with adults. If big stars keep supporting such properties, films like this can be explored further. Currently, Eros International’s division, Trinity Pictures, is backing kids’ films and I am making a film called Sniff with them.

 

Nitesh-Tiwari-150x150Nitesh Tiwari, Filmmaker

The scope has always been there, take Mr. India for example. But I don’t think any producer in Bollywood would approve a big budget for a children centric film if it doesn’t feature a big star. And I wouldn’t blame them. The sources of recovery are very limited for a Bollywood film. And if it doesn’t have a star, recovering a big production budget would be a daunting task and I don’t think there are many who would even want to contemplate a scenario like that. Films like The Jungle Book can afford a huge production and marketing budget because of the kind of reach Hollywood has. Forget the budget of The Jungle Book, a children’s film minus a star wouldn’t even get a half decent production or marketing budget in Bollywood. Sadly, it also has a lot to do with the way our audience perceives a Hollywood film vs a Bollywood film. In case of a Hollywood film, the film is the star while in case of a Bollywood film, the star is the film.

 

Sanjay Chouhan, Writersanjay-chouhan

I believe we have barely explored this genre. In simple terms, if you make a children’s film he/she will come with at least one adult, so you sell two tickets for the same movie. My film, I Am Kalam, was made on a very modest budget and it earned at least 10 times the cost of production. We cannot hold up The Jungle Book as an example because the film was made on a budget of `1,166 crore. Apart from budget, they had the whole globe to showcase their movie whereas we don’t even have the whole of India for a Hindi kids’ film. But, of course, if we work on logistics and make children’s films, not childish films, the whole family will come to watch because then there is something for everyone. In a country where more than 30 per cent of the population is aged less than 15, it is high time we explored this genre.

 

Shiladitya_Bora-150x150Shiladitya Bora, CEO, Drishyam Films

Within India, the children’s genre hasn’t been developed to its full potential yet. Internationally, however, the scope has always been there, and that is why Disney and Pixar movies break box-office records year after year. With The Jungle Book, the primary movie-going audience had a huge emotional attachment to the source material as the Indian public had grown up watching Mowgli on TV, which also played a huge role in the film’s success. Its incredible record collections are sure to give a boost to the children’s genre in times to come.

 

Rajiv-Chilkha-150x150Rajiv Chilaka, Director

In India, animation movies have been largely perceived as ‘only for children’. With the advent of high quality animation and CGI and wit, the success of movies like The Jungle Book and Kung Fu Panda 3 along with the success of an Indian movie like Bahubali, more people are now watching animated films.

It’s heartening and wonderful to see the success of The Jungle Book in India, and more importantly for the animation industry, which has been churning out exciting stories during the last few years. I am sure people will watch more animation movies in future.

 

Raj-Malik-11-150x150Raj Malik, Senior Vice-President, Production And Distribution, Krian Pictures

The astounding box-office results of The Jungle Book can be attributed to various factors besides the exceptional marketing and mounting of the presenting studio. It’s an iconic Indian story, which has been re-told in various forms, including a television series. Mowgli has delighted generations, and almost all of us fondly remember The Jungle Book characters.

There was enormous urgency among consumers of all age and social segments to see the latest, revived version of The Jungle Book. Being a brilliantly made film, it managed to impress everyone. The holiday season also played a big role in getting the audience to cinemas. However, the kid’s film genre on the whole does not get the attention it should have. Films likeChhota Chetan and the more recent Chillar Party are few and far between.

Perhaps filmmakers should attempt more children’s films and make them engaging enough for parents to take their wards to cinemas. Such films should be made aspirational too, by promoting them innovatively. The home-bred Hanuman and Chhota Bheem films were a step in the right direction. Let’s hope more films like those are made which also have franchise value.

Soumita Sengupta and Rohini Nag
Collection Chart
As on January 21th, 2017
FilmsWeekWeeklyTotal
Ok Jaanu1
16.55Cr
16.55Cr
Haraamkhor
1
1.13Cr
1.13Cr
Ashley1
3K
3K
Yeh Hai Full 2 Dhamaal
1
10K
10K
xXx: Return of Xander Cage**122.59Cr22.59Cr
Prakash Electronic216K16K
More

Featured Video

Most Viewed Articles

Today

Last 7 Days

Last 30 Days

Twitter

Box Office India's Twitter avatar
Box Office India
@boxofficeindia

Here's the last poster of #Irada featuring @sagarikavghatge & directed by #AparnaaSingh. The trailer is slated to r… t.co/yZMbR089HL

Box Office India's Twitter avatar
Box Office India
@boxofficeindia

Check out the poster of #Irada featuring @SharadK7 & directed by #AparnaaSingh. The trailer is slated to release to… t.co/Lw2oi6jnKv

Facebook

Instagram

This Week’s Issue

TRADE GUP

  • Anushka Sharma’s production venture Phillauri is making a lot of buzz before the release
  • Imran Khan to turn director
  • Arjun Kapoor to be paired opposite Anushka Sharma

IN CONVERSATION

  • Shah Rukh Khan talks about his highly awaited film Raees
  • Musical maestro Sukhwinder Singh talks about bagging Udi Udi Jaaye from Raees
  • Payal Dev discusses her journey in Bollywood and her newly released song Saara Zamana

FEATURE

  • When sports and entertainment are a winning combination, why aren’t they paired more often in the film industry?
  • We take a look at Jordan, the hottest new destination for film shoots