The Golden Era
Gujarati Cinema was at its peak in 70s – 80s when movies used to cross silver jubilee. Naresh Kanodia, Asrani, Aruna Irani, Kiran Kumar, Upendra Trivedi, Ramesh Mehta were household name. In those times, many films were adapted from novels that were not only famous, but also probed the society’s conscience. Industry gave some of the amazing movies like Kashi no Dikro, Jog Sanjog, Kariyavar, Mansai na Deeva to name a few.
From 1973 to 1987, Arun Bhatt produced several films matching production values of Hindi films. His Pooja na Phool made in the early 80s won him an award for the Best Film from the Government of Gujarat and was telecast on Doordarshan in the Sunday slot for regional award winning films.
After 90s and in early 2000s, Stories revolved around villages and typical rural love stories same that ran a decades before. Many movies made and subsidies misused, many gujarati production houses came up with movies that made no sense to urban audience. Even action scenes were considered a joke. Undoubtedly It attracts the rural audience but certainly not to expect from urban audience as It was no where to relate to their real life.
Gujarat do not have just villages. There was huge gap in innovation in Gujarati cinema as Bollywood was scaling and producing exceptional movies. People were eager to see their real life aspirations, struggles, romance on the screen instead it got too worse that People laugh when they used to accidentally see Gujarati movie poster.
The Dawn of Urban Gujarati Movies
Gujarati Cinema has been seen evolving in last few years since the release of Kevi rite Jaish in 2012 which was a blockbuster and ran for number of weeks. It was accepted with open arms by the audience and made it very clear that people do want to see gujarati movies if it has content to match Bollywood. Movies like Kevi rite Jaish, Bey yaar, Gujjubhai the great, Chello Divas ruled hearts of people. The use of the latest technology, music, sound and fresh content has brought about a complete makeover. The subject is more urban-centric that touches the youth. This has inspired young talent to indulge into the Gujarati entertainment sector. We are seeing National Corporates, Bollywood veterans showing interest to be part of this industry.
Artists are changing their priorities from Bollywood to Gujarati Cinema which given a new horizon to discover. Veer Hamirji was historical film which was short listed for Indian representation at the Oscars. Movie “The Good Road” was selected as an official Indian selection to compete at the Oscars in the Foreign Film Category later on Lunchbox was sent. Let’s hope that very sooner, A Gujarati movie get sent to Oscars to represent India and win.