Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj has described the success of 12th Fail “like a silver lining” for independent films at a time when no one is sure about what will work in theatres.
There was a time, Bhardwaj said, when it was not difficult to get films like his Shakespeare trilogy — Maqbool, Omkara and Haider”— or movies like Dev D and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye financed.
“Independent cinema has progressed a lot. In fact, it progressed and is now regressing. What’s responsible for that, we all are exploring. There was a time when Haider, Maqbool, Omkara, which still had commercial stars, but films like Dev D and Oye Lucky Lucky, we used to easily get money to make those kinds of films.
“Now it’s very difficult to raise money for these kind of films because everyone is scared, everyone is exploring ‘ki kya chalega theatres mein’ (what will work in theatres),” Bhardwaj said during a press conference at the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival 2024.
He praised filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra for 12th Fail, a film that surprised trade analysts by performing exceptionally well at a time when spectacle cinema seems to be the flavour of the season. Mounted on a reported budget of Rs 20 crore, the Vikrant Massey-starrer released in cinemas in October and is still running despite being available on OTT. It has earned over Rs 70 crore at the box office.
“A silver lining in this is the success of 12th Fail. There is no star, there is no weirdness, the background score is also beautiful. It is pure filmmaking by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and I think this is his best film.
“To see the kind of success and love the film got, if there is a silver lining that the audience is there to watch every kind of film but it must be worth it for them to come to theatres. So we all are exploring whether a film like ‘Animal’ will work or a film like Jawan or Pathaan or a mindless south Indian action film. It is all imbalanced,” he said.