The Badhaai Ho journey started in 2015 when I heard a one line idea of a 50-year-old mother getting pregnant. It was written for an ad film and the idea was not presented to the client so I told the writer to thank his boss for that! As it was a difficult subject it took almost two years to write the rest of the story. From day one we were very clear that it had to be comedy and it could not be a serious film.
Somebody asked me on a forum, what is content-driven film? So, I said whatever is written in the script is the content and it’s either bad or good. Nobody intends to make a bad film. One key learning from 2018 is that content-driven films — films which have a good storyline — are going to work. I was watching some public reviews and I noticed people were talking about scripts, stories, performances and discussing why they liked the film. Audiences have become analysts because as the film releases they say ‘This film will do
Rs 100 crore and this won’t’. Only performances may not work because it’s a package and this is not a recent phenomenon. Producers have started taking risks and so have the actors but today nobody knows what will work or what will not. In 2018 itself we have seen a variety of films — Raazi, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Badhaai Ho and Stree. With Stree, a new genre was created — horror comedy. Now people are ready to experiment, and bolder subjects are getting a hold. 2018 has been really amazing for directors, actors, the entertainment business and audiences too. The audience has changed and they know which film they want to watch on seeing the trailers. After that, all is word of mouth.
In one of the interviews, somebody asked me if stardom is going to end, I said it’s never going to end. All the big stars like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan have their own set of fans and they will always be loved because in India people worship stars. Films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Dangal had scripts along with the superstars so it doubled the scores. Therefore, if the script is good, nothing is going to take the film down.
Talking about OTT, every technician is busy today. People who were doing short roles are now doing big roles and everyone is getting an opportunity. It’s a joy working with the younger generation and them being lazy is a millennial myth. The kind of population we have, we should be doing Rs 3000-4000 crore business but we are not, because only 3-4% public is going to cinema halls to watch films. We are just getting bigger in terms of scripts, movies, ideas and more. 2019 might have something else in store for us and for the audience too.