Finding Success Beyond Opening Weekends: The Case of “12th Fail” and the State of Indian Cinema

In a recent interview with PTI, filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane delved into the nuanced dynamics of success in Indian cinema, using the film “12th Fail” as a prime example. He highlighted the importance of allowing movies to breathe and build momentum through word of mouth, emphasizing that success in theaters extends beyond just the opening weekend.

The Success of “12th Fail”:
Motwane pointed out that “12th Fail”, directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, achieved both commercial and critical success by garnering attention and discussion even in its fourth and 12th weeks in theaters. This extended presence allowed the film to thrive beyond the initial hype, showcasing the power of word of mouth in sustaining a movie’s success.

Challenges in the Indian Film Industry:
Motwane acknowledged the challenges faced by Indian filmmakers, particularly in terms of screen availability and distribution. With only 10,000 screens for a population of 1.3 billion people, compared to 30,000 screens in the US for a population of 300 million, he stressed the need for a more balanced approach to screen allocation.

The Need for Diversity:
While recognizing the profit-driven nature of movie theaters, Motwane advocated for a balance between mainstream commercial films and smaller, niche productions. He suggested that 30 percent of screens should be reserved for a diverse range of films, allowing for greater inclusivity and variety in the cinematic landscape.

Platform Agnosticism and Future Projects:
Motwane described himself as platform-agnostic, expressing his commitment to storytelling across various formats, including theatrical releases and streaming platforms. He discussed his upcoming projects, including “Black Warrant” and “Control”, highlighting his versatility and dedication to compelling storytelling.

Confidence in Storytelling:
Despite the uncertainties of the industry, Motwane emphasized his confidence in his storytelling abilities. He stressed that a good story will always resonate with audiences, regardless of the format or medium.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s insights shed light on the complex dynamics of success in the Indian film industry, emphasizing the importance of patience, diversity, and compelling storytelling. As filmmakers navigate the ever-evolving landscape, Motwane’s perspective serves as a valuable guide for navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


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