Director Nitin Chandra says it is sad that despite a huge market in India and abroad, Bhojpuri films, being frowned upon for its C-grade content, have not grown and that it’s time to revive it.
“I totally agree with Bhojpuri cinema being B and C grade and I don’t mind that,” he added.
Chandra, elder brother of Bollywood actress Neetu Chandra, says if the content is good, Bhojpuri films can flourish in international market.
“So, far the kinds of films being made in Bhojpuri are not even sold in Bihar. Bhojpuri has failed to create an inclusive audience for itself,” Chandra told IANS.
“There are countries where Bhojpuri is spoken. Fiji, Suriname, Mauritius, Trinidad and many other countries have millions of Bhojpuri speaking people. Market is created, it’s not god gifted. I am trying to create one,” he said.
The content of films are being looked down upon, thanks to excessive skin show, raunchy item numbers and double meaning dialogues that titillate front-benchers and drive away family audiences.
Keeping the sad state of affairs in mind, Chandra plunged into feature filmmaking with “Deswa” in a bid to give the industry a facelift.
“Bhojpuri film industry is killing both cinema and language. It needs revival,” Chandra told IANS in an interview.
“When I passed from the university in 2005, I saw the plight of Bhojpuri films. I was aghast at the kinds of films being made in my mother tongue. That time I decided that I would make a Bhojpuri film someday and finally I could make it,” he said.
Scripted by Chandra, “Deswa”, made on a budget of Rs.2 crore, was completed in 2011 and it was first screened at the Bhojpuri Film Festival in Patna.
“The film focuses on Bihar of 10 years ago and shows how youth, if not given opportunity, can be pushed into quagmire of crime. Ninety percent of the film was shot in Bihar,” said Chandra whose efforts were lauded when “Deswa” was screened at the recently concluded International Film Festival of South Asia in Toronto.
In fact, “Deswa” was also screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), South Asian Film Festival of India, Montage Film Festival, Habitat World Film Festival and International Film Festival of Fiji.
Did you have a commercial release?
“No, my film didn’t have a commercial release. It was released in just a token of five theatres for National Award,” he said.
The industry started on a high note in the early 1960s with family drama “Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo” and later paved hits like “Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram”, “Bidesiya” and all-time favourite “Nadiya Ke Paar”.
But from the 1990s onwards, the quality of Bhojpuri cinema went downhill and Chandra says that now it is tough to find distributors for meaningful Bhojpuri movies.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t know when the film will be released because finding investor for a clean Bhojpuri film is really tough. If I had item girls showing their skin and double-meaning crass dialogues, it was a cakewalk for me to release ‘Deswa’,” he said and added: “I will wait”.
Post “Deswa”, Chandra plans to make films in both Hindi and Bhojpuri.
“There are a few Hindi films and Bhojpuri, I hope I find investor for them,” he said.