Cinema is an expensive art form so patronage is always welcome. However, the economic dynamics of Hindi film industry is such that there seems very little scope for ideas out-of-the-box, which might explain why the makers often tend to go for formulaic methods. Nevertheless, there are instances when a relatively small film manages to grab the attention of powerful film personalties, if not just the so-called moneybag producers. And such a union benefits both parties most of the time — well, almost.
A reason why Vidhu Vinod Chopra's (inset) decision to extend financial support to an upcoming filmmaker like Shlok Sharma is more than just welcome. Hence we take a look at some small-time projects that received appreciation big time over the past few years...
Director: Hansal Mehta
Merit point: Hansal Mehta, during a recent tete-a-tete with hitlist, claimed that independent cinema doesn't really exist in its purest form in our country. Films, sooner or later, have to attract the big production house to score a reasonable release. Thanks to his indie film's merit, it did remarkably well at the box office after Disney UTV decided to release it.
'The Lunchbox' (2013)
Director: Ritesh Batra
Merit point: Undoubtedly one of Indian cinema's greatest success stories from last year had about 17 international co-producers on board. But, it was only after UTV Disney showed interest that the acclaimed film starring Irrfan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur bagged itself an extensive commercial release in the country.
'Sulemani Keeda' (2013)
Director: Amit Masurkar
Merit point: Having been screened in the city earlier at a film festival, this project earned positive reviews and was looking forward to a proper outlet. Although it was supposed to release last week, it's now expected to release under the PVR Director's Rare umbrella next Friday as also in other multiplexes. So far, the independent film had only been showcased on the film fest circuit.
Director: Kanu Behl
Merit point: Names like Aditya Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee are now associated with this project. But to put it plainly, it is a directorial debut that was selected by NFDC Film Bazaar's Screenwriter's Lab in 2012. Last year, the film on its completion premiered at Cannes. As of today, it's slated to release in early 2015.
'Ship of Theseus' (2012)
Director: Anand Gandhi
Merit point: Three years in the making, this film began its global journey at the Toronto Film Festival before receiving the acclaim it deserved. However, the scope of receiving a commercial release on Friday in India remained bleak until filmmaker Kiran Rao and UTV Motion Pictures came on board. It finally released in July last year.
Director: Nitin Kakkar
Merit point: When his directorial debut was being screened at the Jagran Film Festival last year, Kakkar told us that a film is "incomplete with a commercial release". A year later, his film with no recognisable face but a heartwarming story to boot on the Indo-Pak border released in June this year after UTV showed interest in the project.
Director: Vasan Bala
Merit point: This crime thriller went all the way to Cannes and has been screened at several film festivals across the world. To its credit, Eros International reportedly acquired the Indian rights of the film and was supposed to ensure it hit the marquee as well. So far, the development appears ambiguous as there has been no buzz of a release date yet.
'Delhi Belly' (2011)
Director: Abhinay Deo
Merit point: The US-based film writer Akshat Verma sent a copy of his script to Aamir Khan's production house and the legend goes that Kiran Rao accidentally flipped through it. Impressed by the quirky but entertaining story, she decided to helm the project as producer along with her husband.
'Phas Gaye Re Obama' (2010)
Director: Subhash Kapoor
Merit point: Starring non-A-list actors like Rajat Kapoor, Sanjay Misra, Manu Rishi and Neha Dhupia, this entertaining film with the US President's name in its title and a storyline that finds resonance in the recession of 2008 — fittingly enough — found itself an American distributor in the form of Warner Bros Pictures.
In March last year, Anurag Kashyap liked the Tamil film 'Pardesi' by Bala so much that he decided to distribute the film. Owing to this, the film saw a limited release in the city but earned critical acclaim.