New Delhi, Nov. 27 -- Keeping in sync with Bollywood's new-found interest in offbeat films, actor Ajay Devgn is the latest to join the bandwagon of actors who have launched separate production houses that focus on making alternative films. Indian film industry is known for belting out masala flicks in a row, which always appeal to the masses and are, more often than not, commercially successful.
However, 2013 saw a string of offbeat films that got appreciated, even if they didn't fetch massive returns. Films like The Lunchbox and Ship of Theseus have proven that there is an audience for niche cinema.
And while mainstream actors and filmmakers have often claimed they want to do something "different", they now seem to be putting money where the mouth is. Actors like Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan have invested in niche cinema by launching production houses that focus only on offbeat films for Indian as well as international market.
Now, Ajay Devgn is set to launch Shivalaya Entertainment (based in Los Angeles), that will produce Leena Yadav's Parched - a film about the journey of women in drought-stricken areas of rural India. Devgn says, "In today's scenario, there are two spectrums - one where films are made on traditional themes, which make business sense; and now there are new formats, storylines and talent."
Akshay's production house (launched in 2011) focuses on Hindi and regional cinema, its latest project being Bhaji In Problem (Punjabi), while Salman's production house (launched in 2010), gave the National Award-winning film Chillar Party (2011). Even producer Ekta Kapoor has dabbled with the same business model and made films like Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (2010) and Shor In the City (2011) under the banner.