: While a plethora of sectors target kids as key consumers, Indian cinema is yet to tap the market
Houseful. Irrespective of which of the about 450 screens you went to last Thursday night, that was the response as Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince released with 350 plus prints in India. Films for children are big globally. This film made a new record for opening day collections â€” Rs 520 crore. Just about everyone is familiar with the top box-office grossers â€” The Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ice Age series, Lord Of The Rings, The Lion King, Jurassic Park and countless others. Eight of the top 10 grossing movies ever made are childrenâ€™s films. As a series, the Harry Potter films overtook all the Star Wars films when the Order Of The Phoenix was released. While global cinema has recognised the enormous potential of kids as consumers, Indian cinema seems to have still not woken up to this goldmine.
Childrenâ€™s films in India, usually targeting the age groups 6 to12 and 12 to 17, have been almost an apology. In India, the list has just a few names â€” from the early Safed Haathi, Chhota Chetan, Mr India to the more recent Jajantaram Mamantaram, Krrish, Koi… Mil Gaya, Makdee, Nanhe Jaisalmer, Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii, The Blue Umbrella, Taare Zameen Par etc. Out of these, only the big star cast films did well at the box-office (see box). â€œKids are the biggest consumers of media, be it in the form of music, dance or television. But India makes no major films for children,â€ says Sushovan Banerjee, CEO, Childrenâ€™s Film Society of India. Despite making childrenâ€™s films, none of the CFSI films got a theatrical release (see box). â€œNo one thought of releasing these films. There was nothing wrong with these films. CFSI was headless, and when there was an incumbent, the thinking was not towards theatrical releases,â€ adds Banerjee.
Stars in kidâ€™s zone
Even those made, banked on major adult stars. In spite of few successful childrenâ€™s films such as Makdee and Hanuman series, the industry prefers not to invest in films that feature children alone, instead opting for films that appeal to children as well as adults. Is the presence of an Aamir Khan or a Hrithik Roshan a must for a film to be commercially successful? Film-maker Shekhar Kapur explains, â€œUsing a star is all thatâ€™s been done. Why think about a great script, a new idea? To risk adverse corporate money, it is only the bottom line that matters. And if a star has in the past ensured a decent bottom line, why make life difficult? Make life easy by bombing the box-office with star power.â€ Continue reading