Bollywood's A-certificate films rake in moolah

By Nivedita Sharma

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) "Delhi Belly" has shocked quite a few with its toilet and sex scenes and generous use of expletives, but the A-certified film got a bumper response. With "Haunted" and "Murder 2" also raking in the moolah, these movies have shown how to make money despite having a restricted audience.

"The reason we are seeing A-movies becoming hits is because people are experimenting a lot with the subject. Gone are the days of happy family with Ram Rajya-type subjects. Just to get out of the family drama zone, Bollywood is experimenting with subjects, language and characters," director Rahul Dholakia told IANS.

Dholakia, known for making movies like "Parzania" (2005) and "Lamhaa: The Untold Story of Kashmir" (2010), which were released with A-certificates, is penning down a courtroom drama, "Kanoon", which has a close reference to the 2007 Nandigram incident in West Bengal.

He believes the audience was always ready to accept strong and bold concepts, but producers and directors shied away.

"We always watched such things, but it's just that we never really told such stories through our cinema. There were films by Mahesh Bhatt which had strong and bold concepts like 'Saaransh' (1984) and the movie was well received by the audience.

" 'Nirmaan' (1974), directed by Ravi Tandon, was another example of strong and real subjects. Though the movie received an average business, the plot is revisited now," he added.

In the past few years, things have changed and filmmakers have become bold storytellers and A-movies are setting cash registers ringing.

"Delhi Belly", an adult comedy produced by Aamir Khan, has broken the dry spell at the box office by earning Rs.15.65 crore on its first two days and Mohit Suri's crime thriller "Murder 2" earned Rs.34.9 crore net in the first week.

Earlier this year Raj Kumar Gupta's "No One Killed Jessica", which makes heavy use of abuses, was given an A-certificate, but it created a box-office record.

Anurag Kashyap's "Shaitan", about the dark side of the life of Mumbai youngsters, and Ekta Kapoor's horror flick "Ragini MMS" received critical acclaim and did decent business at the box office.

Gupta said the times have changed and so have viewer perspectives.

"Bollywood films that include reality, violence and the dark side of life have caused a stir. The film industry is also trying hard to shed its traditionally conservative image and develop a new Bollywood which is full of experimentation," said Gupta.

Film critic Taran Adarsh feels a new Bollywood is coming out and said: "Now the whole concept has changed. I am not denying that masala movies have taken a back seat, but other films are also doing very well. 'Delhi Belly' is a shining example. We have a broader outlook towards everything; so we are automatically experimenting."

Mainstream cinema has moved into the 'adult' territory nowadays with acclaimed actors like Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah, who acted in "Ishqiya", jumping into the A bandwagon without any hitch.

Dholakia feels Sharmila Tagore, the ex-chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), and Vinayak Azad, the regional director of CBFC, played a big role in changing the trend.

"Full credit should be given to two people for this change in Bollywood - one is Sharmila Tagore and the second is Vinayak Azad. They are the ones who made a revolutionary change in cinema in the last five years. I love the way Bollywood movies are made nowadays," he said.

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