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Viacom18 Studios Chief Ajit Andhare Reveals Progress Technique After Trio of Hits (EXCLUSIVE) – Latest trending news | Hot Celebrities News


Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18 Studios has just delivered three back-to-back theatrical hits in India. Now it has plans for further expansion in the market.

The company distributes all Paramount titles in India and scored a success with “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” which grossed $16 million in the country. Viacom18 Studios also co-produced and distributed Karan Johar’s “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” and “OMG 2,” headlined by Akshay Kumar. “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani,” a star-studded romcom that addressed a number of Indian societal issues, opened shortly after the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon and grossed $21.7 million in India with a further $20 million overseas.

“OMG 2,” a rare blend of religion and sex education, released alongside the juggernauts that are Rajinikanth’s “Jailer” and Sunny Deol’s “Gadar 2” and held its own, grossing $20 million in India and a total of $25.3 million worldwide.

“Everybody has become a little reductionist in the film industry now – globally, the general sense is that these large scale action or spectacle films or whatever moniker you give it, that’s the only way to get people to theaters. That’s generally the maxim, which is ruling various places, be it Hollywood be it here. That kind of thinking doesn’t help creativity a lot, because everybody is going and thinking only one direction,” Viacom18 Studios COO Ajit Andhare told Variety.

Andhare says that the phase of the story-led films, as opposed to star-driven or action spectacles, working at the box office began in late 2022 with “Drishyam 2,” which was a massive success. “We had a monster hit. We followed that up with, ‘Mission: Impossible,’ which globally, hasn’t quite stacked up to the expectations. But in India, it’s really built up from ‘MI6.’ If you see ‘Rocky Aur Rani,’ a very different, unique love story and ‘OMG2,’ which is, again, a very out-of-the-box, subject,” said Andhare. “What actually makes me happy is that of the four or five different approaches of storytelling, only one of them – ‘Mission: Impossible’ – plays to the gallery or is on expected lines, every other film is very different. That gives me a greater sense of satisfaction, because that is evidence that the audience will come to theaters for different reasons. You can get them in different ways rather than only resorting to this one trick of having one large spectacle film.”

The strategy for the studio going forward is to have a blend of action spectacles and films with diverse themes. For the former, the studio’s upcoming big bet is air force action film “Fighter,” directed by “Pathaan” filmmaker Siddharth Anand and starring top stars Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor, which Andhare says will “redefine cinema.”

“What ‘Gadar 2’ or ‘Pathaan’ has shown is that there is also scope for universal cinema, and ‘Fighter’ is really our attempt to try and mine that theme, because nothing brings people together in theaters like these very universal themes of getting the country together on a common emotional platform,” Andhare said.

For the latter, there are sequels aplenty in the works including “Drishyam 3,” “Pyaar Ka Punchnama 3” and the next edition of “Special 26,” in addition to several new films that are being developed.

“Our long-term vision is very clear, which is to be able to do a kind of cinema which is unconventional, not usually produced by what we call the core Bollywood – the traditional cinema which has always been the mainstay of the industry here,” Andhare said. “We’ve essentially always mined for unconventional subjects.” The quest for the unconventional has stood the studio in good stead with successes including “Kahaani,” “Gangs of Wasseypur” and “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.”

On the television and streaming side, the studio’s Tipping Point brand has a slate of shows including investigative thriller “Gaanth,” transgender-themed “Transition,” slice-of-life comedy “Cheeku” and drama “Shanti Bhavan” coming up. Despite having Viacom18 group streaming brands in JioCinema and Voot, Tipping Point, which has produced shows for Netflix and SonyLIV, will continue producing shows for the entire market.

“For Tipping Point, we will continue to look for bingeworthy content, something that will compel you to consume the entire story and we will continue to bring what we call film scale entertainment to digital,” Andhare said, adding that the emphasis would be on “lasting franchises.”

“This common thread of being able to create lasting stories is something which will continue to guide us as we look at new material and slate development into the future,” Andhare said.

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