India’s Jio Studios boss reveals slate and strategy| Trending Viral hub

Jio Studiosbillionaire Mukesh Ambani’s content arm Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), is on a roll with several blockbusters in a row.

Almost exactly a year ago, Jio Studios had launched a list of 100 new movies and tv showsThose efforts have now borne fruit. In 2023, “Baipan Bhaari Deva” and “Jhimma 2” in Marathi, Bollywood films Shah Rukh Khan’s “Dunki” and Vicky Kaushal’s “Zara Hatke Zara Bachke”, and Bengali film “Kabuliwala” starring Mithun Chakraborty, became big hits. . . 2024 has already brought Bollywood hits “Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya” “Article 370” and “Shaitan” with Kiran Rao playing in Toronto 2023 Feminist game “Laapata Ladies” also scoring in its theatrical release.

“We are the only studio that has seven successes in a row. “We reached a purple zone, like when (cricket GOAT Sachin) Tendulkar was hitting his centuries,” Jyoti Deshpandesaid the president of RIL’s media and content division. Variety. “We have always been advocates of stories and have tried to do things that break the genre, with the ultimate goal of being stories from India that can be taken to the world. And one of the things we stressed in April (2023) was that we must make regional films at scale. When we say regional, it’s usually only Telugu and Tamil (language films) that make a bit of noise. The other regionals are forgotten heroes. “We have been consciously investing in regional cinema and also in theaters, not only in a symbolic way.”

Regional is the Indian abbreviation for films not made in the Hindi Bollywood industry. Jio Studios’ upcoming lineup includes Pa. Ranjith’s Tamil-language period epic “Thangalaan,” headlined by Vikram; Nagraj Manjule’s Marathi-language “Khashaba,” a biopic of Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, the first athlete from independent India to win an individual medal at the Olympics, with music by Oscar winner AR Rahman; “Aaipan Bhari Deva”, the sequel to “Baipan Bhaari Deva” in Marathi language; the Marathi musical “Sangeet Manapman”; and Punjabi films “Carry On Jattiye”, “Ardaas 3” and “Manjhe Bistre”.

Jio Studios’ Upcoming Film List Also Includes Riteish Deshmukh’s period biopic “Raja Shivaji” which will be released in Hindi and Marathi versions; and Bollywood films, including Rohit Shetty’s star-studded cast, the upcoming cop universe film “Singham Again,” Varun Dhawan’s “Baby John,” the sequel to the hit 2018 horror-comedy “Stree,” the drama Akshay Kumar’s Air Force “Sky Forge” and a couple of titles starring superstar Aamir Khan.

Highlights of the streaming programming include Abhijeet Deshpande’s period political drama “Union: The Making of India,” where civil servant VP Menon and statesman Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel take on the challenge of uniting more than 500 princely states in India; and Prakash Jha’s “Sankalp,” which revolves around the Indian civil services exams.

Deshpande said the huge initial list was aimed at boosting the company. “Now we are not doing quantity, now we have turned to our study hat. From a studio perspective, we want to tell some of the most meaningful stories in as many languages ​​as possible and with as broad a genre as possible. Apart from that, we are working with (Oscar winner) Guneet Monga in a couple of films. We are looking to work with Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”), Richie Mehta (“Delhi Crime”), pioneers in international markets as well, to say how can we take some of our Indian stories and put them on stage? on the world map, as well as being commercially and critically successful here (India) and abroad,” Deshpande said.

“In terms of a film studio, we have managed to build something at scale without losing quality. “We are telling some meaningful stories about India’s narrative to the world and some meaningful stories about women empowerment…also some message in terms of social responsibility, without being preachy or appropriating the entertaining narrative of certain films,” he added. Deshpande.

The executive said that despite being the largest studio in the country and belonging to one of the largest conglomerates in the world, the approach is to always adopt the partnership approach, with all partners having a skin in the game, thus ensuring that Jio Studios is not “sit with all the risk and no reward.”

“Our partners recognize that we go above and beyond to give a film what it deserves, whether during the production process, marketing, distribution, we really push the boat and feel the same passion for each story. For us it is not a transaction. And that is valued and recognized,” Deshpande said. “Therefore, we look for critical acclaim and commercial success. Ultimately, we are also here to achieve ROI (return on investment). But at the same time we want to introduce new genres. “We are committed to theatrical storytelling and launching new talent.”

Jio Studios is already working with some of the biggest names in the business in India, including Ajay Devgn, Aamir Khan and Maddock Films. The next step is to partner with Hollywood. Deshpande says this is “something that one is actively working on, but not really when one is a minority partner in some Hollywood project, but really, how can we bring them into our projects earlier?”

“We have several ambitious projects that are in their early stages of development and that also require technology to be realized. Reliance is above all a technology company. It’s early, but we have to see how we incorporate artificial intelligence and virtual production? How can we learn from where the West stands? And how do we incorporate some of that into our storytelling to make it profitable and visually relevant to a broader audience and give it that language-agnostic edge,” Deshpande said. Jio Studios is also looking east and exploring local collaborations to achieve daily releases for its films in those markets.

Deshpande describes the current situation $8.5 billion merger of RIL group company Viacom18 with Disney as a “fabulous development”. “In terms of our relationship, it’s pretty independent, the studio is as open to doing business with partner companies as it is with Netflix, Amazon or anyone else in the market,” Deshpande said. “It’s mainly about trying to keep the storytelling house as pure and independent as possible, which is why Jio Studios wasn’t part of that deal to begin with.”

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