Bold and brazen: Revival of the raunchy on celluloid
They might not evoke the respect that A-grade movies get, but one cannot take away credit from the imagination that’s used in the content and titles of B-grade films. hitlist takes a quick look at the B-grade film industry which seems to be more active than ever before.
Sanjay Khandelwal's 'Vatsyayana Kamasutra 2' is a sequel to his earlier 'hit' film of the same name
Some of the most bizarre and funny titles registered with film associations generally belong to B-grade films. It is obviously a tactic to attract eyeballs and draw audiences inside theatres that still thrive on these kind of films. The industry went through a lull for a while, but now it’s back with ahem, a bang.
A still from Kanti Shah’s film, 'Kaamleela', that is currently under production
A decade ago, filmmakers such as Kanti Shah, Kishan Shah, Dilip Gulati, Komal Gulati, the late Jeetendra Chawda, the late Joginder, Chandani Gupta, Sanjay Khandelwal, Kumar Adarsh, Ravi Patwa and Robin Ghai were credited with making popular B-grade films. Some of these players are back in the scene now, and are busy making similar films.
A poster of Kumar Adarsh's film, 'Secret of Sex 2'
B and C-grade films make a comeback
Trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “Yes, sleaze is trying to make a comeback. A decade ago, we had at least one or two films release in a week. Back then, most filmmakers in this category were working round the clock to churn out one film after another. We had 40-50 films releasing in a year. These cost around Rs 3-4 lakh to make and managed to garner business worth around Rs 10-12 lakh. Then supply exceeded demand, and technology too grew rapidly with mobiles and computers becoming affordable. Sex-driven content was not only relegated to films.”
He adds that the basic plot in most of these films was a revenge drama with a generous dose of sex. The market for their films was so big that producers would make a film every two months. An announcement about their next film would be made on the day their latest film had released.’’
In the last five years, these films reached a saturation point and it became more difficult to find audiences for their films. Some filmmakers diversified into other fields; some opened post-production studios and others moved to the Bhojpuri film industry. With the slow disappearance of these films, C-grade English films were dubbed and presented with titles such as Chulbul Haseena, Sexy Secretary, Haseen Raatein and Mast Sali. But looks like times are changing again in their favour and some are now making sequels to their earlier hit films.
Competition heats up
Producer Sanjay Khandelwal is busy making Vatsyayan Kamasutra 2, a sequel to his earlier hit film, Vatsyayan Kamasutra. Kumar Adarsh, who is making the sequel to his film, Secrets of Sex, claims he is responsible for the revival of this section of the film industry. He says, “A trade magazine said that because I started work on this sequel, others are back to making similar films.” However, Adarsh hates his film being dubbed as C-grade. He says, “Secrets of Sex Part 2 is an educational film on sex. I have used the abbreviation SOS in the title to hint at an emergency and thus draw the audiences’ attention. The film’s intention is solely to educate people about sex and the taboo attached to it. My first film, SOS, was hugely popular online and managed to get about 20 million views,” he says. After this film, Adarsh will make a film called Red Light.
Kanti Shah and Kishan Shah, who are considered the undisputed badshahs of B and C-grade films, are also adding new films to their repertoire. If Bhansali made Ramleela, Kanti Shah is busy making Kaamleela. Shah says, “If there can be a Ramleela, why can’t there be a Kaamleela?” It may be recalled that soon after Katrina Kaif’s item song, Sheela Ki Jawani, was aired, Kanti Shah made a film called Sheela Ki Jawani. This film hit the screens even before Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan, which featured Kat’s item song, was released in theatres. Along with Kaamleela, Shah is also making another film called MMS Kaand, which is expected to release soon. Kanti’s brother Kishan too is getting ready to release a film unabashedly called XXX.
These films are released in single screens in B and C centres in Mumbai, and the producers make business to the tune of around R60,000 per week. But some of them fight shy of saying that their films are only made to titillate. Producer Sanjay Khandelwal says that his films are not porn. “One of my films is stuck with the Censor Board for eight months now. Many films made by reputed producers have far more explicit scenes.”
Well, that again is a topic for another debate.
Films that have recently released or are ready to hit the screens soon:
>> Naadan Haseena
>> Love Sex, Multiplex
>> Tu Bewafa Hai
>> Jigarbaaz Haseena
>> Pyaasi Chudial
>> Tadapta Jism