(AFP) MUMBAI: Bollywood box office king Rajkumar Hirani believes a new golden age is dawning for the Indian movie industry as film-makers look outside the box to tell more varied stories. “Before there was a belief that you had to have songs,” said Hirani, the man behind a string of hits including the global sensation 3 Idiots. “Now people are completely experimenting with the subject matter.”
Even those directors who continue to include songs are also exploring “much darker themes” and still enjoying massive box office success, he added. A case in point is 55-year-old Hirani’s latest offering, Sanju, which the director has brought to this year’s 23rd Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, the largest of its kind in Asia.
But Hirani said he was more confident the film might succeed after seeing the reaction of Dutt, who was released from jail in 2016, at a preview screening. “He saw it three days before its release and I was watching him,” mentioned Hirani. “He was crying and after that, he sat at home and drank for three days, so I knew it had worked.”
Experts say Bollywood is on track for record earnings in 2018, after surpassing last year’s $2.1 billion mark by the end of the first quarter. Across all languages, India now produces more than 1,000 movies a year – several hundred more than coming out of Hollywood.
Hirani said Bollywood film-makers are expanding their own horizons as their audience grows, both domestically and globally. But he stressed he had found no magic wand for making great cinema.