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Best time to be in the film industry: Aditya 'Uri' Dhar on the current landscape in cinema

Content is the hero now, Malayalam filmmaker Manu Ashokan, whose Uyare (2019), a film about an acid attack survivor, completed 100 days in theatres, said.

Baradwaj Rangan with Aditya Dhar and Manu Ashokan

Our Correspondent

Well-known film critic Baradwaj Rangan discussed the changing trends in cinema with filmmakers Manu Ashokan and Aditya Dhar at a session on ‘Emerging Filmmakers’ at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here yesterday.

Manu Ashokan’s debut feature film Uyare (2019), about an acid attack survivor, was commercially successful and received critical acclaim as well. Commenting on the success of his film, which completed 100 days in theatres, the director said the audience for Malayalam films is accepting the work of new filmmakers as “content is the hero”.

Stressing this point, Manu said that even though his film was released alongside Hollywood blockbuster Avengers, audiences came to watch his film in the theatres, making it a success. “The criteria have changed," he said. "The audience knows what it wants to watch.” 

According to Manu, this change can also be seen in the growing acceptance of different themes in films by the audience. "It is possible to tell women’s stories much more today in Malayalam cinema,” he said, reminding the audience of a time not too long ago when Malayalam films used to be quite macho.

Speaking about the changing landscape in Hindi cinema, Dhar spoke of the phenomenal response that his directorial debut, Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019), received. “I wanted to tell a great story with a lot of integrity and clarity,” the director said, dismissing any suggestion that it was a propaganda film.

Dhar also recounted his journey as an assistant to filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra on Eklavya (2007) and said it was quite a struggle for newcomers to get a chance at the time. However, films made by new directors have worked really well in recent times, he said, adding, “This is the best period in the industry in a very long time. This is the best time to be in the industry.”

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