2024 is beginning with a lot of excitement for me, as my film Ayalaan releases this Pongal. This is a first for Tamil cinema, as the film features me alongside an alien in lead roles.
Ayalaan, heavy on graphics and CGI, will be a sign of things to come in 2024. Tamil cinema’s technicians will look to capitalise more on graphics and AI tools this year to enhance their creativity. This will in turn bring to life exciting and engaging stories on the big screen. I also hope that those in the film industry take up more experimental projects within the commercial space, like I did with Maaveeran (2023) and Ayalaan.
Apart from my slate of films, I’m also looking forward to this year as a Tamil cinema fan. Almost every leading star has a release slated this year, unlike previous years, and this gives me great joy as an audience member.
Supriya Yarlagadda, Producer
Virtual production is set to grow in 2024. The technological possibilities in this space are both expansive and expensive. There has been a lot of interest ever since the virtual production stage was launched at Annapurna Studios, Hyderabad, with trials and actual film shoots being carried out. The best use of virtual production will happen when it is factored in at the writing stage. For instance, an action sequence on snow-capped mountains is tough to film in real; so, virtual production can help and it can be decided at the scripting stage.
Earlier, a big technological change would happen every five years and we had time to adapt. Now, it’s all about a quicker learning curve. We are still understanding the possibilities of AI (Artificial Intelligence), which can make things easier in film production. However, since AI is easily available to everyone, creative minds will need to come up with innovative concepts to use these tools effectively.
During the pandemic, there was speculation on whether theatres will survive. The big action films showed us the potential of theatrical releases. We will continue to have star-led event films but I believe there will be all kinds of good cinema — a spark like Balagam, poetry like Sita Ramam or emotional films like Hi Nanna. We need to understand a story and its potential, then produce and market it accordingly.
Some geniuses write solo while some creative minds like to collaborate. Both will co-exist. For long-form writing in the case of web series, writers collaborate. This becomes essential when, for example, a story is about a female character and that character has about 100 minutes of screen time; then a female writer’s perspective becomes important. When a group of creators collaborates, the one spearheading it has to be confident to assess what is required for a story.
During lockdowns, people were consuming almost eight hours of content each day. This has changed. OTTs know the changes in viewing habits immediately, and accordingly, the business will change. They think of return on investments. One of the findings is that women are big consumers of OTT. The key is to understand that for both movies and series, we cannot (blindly) do what someone else is doing anymore.
Jeethu Joseph, Filmmaker
Unpredictability is the only salient feature of cinema. We are dealing with themes and stories we have heard and seen before. The way forward is to give it a fresh narrative to hold the viewers’ attention, as we did in the case of Neru., starring Mohanlal. Neither quick-fix methods to make a quick buck nor copying a successful theme will work. For instance, we see a lot of violence in movies attracting viewers in 2023 but that may not work in 2024 as the audience may demand something else.
We made Drishyam before the age of OTT in India and it made a mark across the country. It was also remade in languages outside India. OTT platforms, in recent years, have widened the audience for Malayalam cinema. I am sure that will only increase in 2024. The constraints in the Malayalam film industry have been financial, as we make movies within tight budgets. Given the right budgets, the industry can easily make films on a large scale that will have a pan-Indian influence. We have the technical and acting talent to make it happen.
Whether a film clicks or not, actors from the Malayalam industry are among the best and I feel more youngsters will make a mark in 2024.
Hemanth Rao, Filmmaker
While 2022 had films such as KGF: Chapter 2 and Kantara that did unbelievable numbers, 2023 did not have many blockbusters. That said, it wasn’t entirely a bad year either. Rookie filmmakers told their stories and walked away with box-office hits. The likes of Daredevil Musthafa, Aachar & Co, Tagarupalya, and Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare are some examples of this phenomenon. These films showed that newcomers can come with fresh ideas, mount projects, and convince audiences to come to theatres.
In 2024, I wish the general sense of pride towards the Kannada language continues to increase in Karnataka. I would love to see more people wanting to watch Kannada films in theatres. We can’t win the hearts of the audiences overnight. It’s a process that I have been witnessing since my debut, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu. The situation has changed for the better. For instance, a film like Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, which was an unconventional love story, did close to Rs 50 crore business. Shivanna (Shivarajkumar) tried something offbeat with Ghost, and people liked it. So, the onus is on the film industry to make it even more exciting for the fans.
There are quite a few interesting Kannada films in 2024. From Rakshit’s (Shetty) production house, Paramvah Studios, two films are lined up for release — Bachelor Party and Ibbani Tabbida Ileyali. I am also excited about Blink, a film starring Dheekshith Shetty and Chaithra J Achar. Agnyathavasi, from my production house, will come out this year. We will also see a film from Sudeep sir, and of course, Hombale Films is planning to release Bagheera, starring Srii Murali.
Siddharth Roy Kapur, Producer
Action as a genre is something that the audience clearly enjoys. A good quality action film with big stars and a story well told will always be a great theatrical experience. If we can offer audiences films that engage them, even if they don’t have big stars, they will still come to the theatres. So a film like 12th Fail, for example, you know, without big stars… just a great story, well told, relevant, pertinent — if not necessarily entertaining then engaging — is something that the audiences will love and enjoy. I’ve always believed that it’s important to want to tell a story and then to tell it well; it will then naturally find its audience, whether through theatres or television or streaming.
What the audience is also telling us is that the kind of movies that they want to watch in the cinemas are the ones that offer them either a visual spectacle or ones that engage them tremendously. They seem to be enjoying watching the other kinds of content in the comfort of their homes.
From the Roy Kapur Films team, in 2024, there is Deva, an action thriller with Shahid Kapoor and Pooja Hegde in the lead, directed by Rosshan Andrrews. We are excited about shooting that now and releasing it for Dusshera. There are also a few series that we are working on and we are very excited with all the work that we currently have in development.
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