As major Bollywood releases were postponed and shootings came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production houses and studios have all revamped their strategy to make the most of this abundance of time. Popular film producer Sharad Patel whose production house SP Cinecorp has delivered a number of hits in the past couple of years in both Gujarati and Bollywood film industry has some sage advice. “In every crisis lies an opportunity.”
SP is the producer behind some well-known Bollywood flicks such as Chhello Divas, Buddha in a Traffic Jam, and The Tashkent Files. So what if the studios were shut for operation and production had stopped, SP has utilized this time for some creative revamping. “The shutdown or lull in activity is not a time to take it easy. It is the perfect opportunity to work on pre and post production details. For example, writing and development activity for newer subjects is happening across studios.”
At SP Cinecorp too, the office is bustling with activity. “We have optimized all our resources in this work-from-home paradigm. As a producer, I have read more scripts in 2020 than I have done in my entire career. I have brainstormed and found new avenues for content. All in all, this has been a hugely productive year for us and we got things moving in the right direction.”
SP is excited with their lineup of projects for 2021, including Vickida No Varghodo. Vickida No Varghodo is their latest Gujarati language comedy offering starring Malhar Thakkar in the lead role. “We have many exciting projects lined up for 2021. With the cinema halls resuming operations and status quo being restored gradually, we are very optimistic that 2021 will be a great year for the media and entertainment industry in general.”
As a result of the pandemic and social distancing measures, the Government has released revised guidelines for shooting and cinema halls. “It will be interesting to see how writers and directors bring forth their creativity to work with the new norms. We are positive that this will lead to simpler storytelling with richer content. Grandeur and large-scale sets might be restricted for a while but they have made room for simpler, richer and more effective content scenarios,” says SP.
For instance, he is rooting for a comeback of the 90s style wholesome, family entertainers – that can be shot without crowds and with physical distancing norms. “The lockdown has unveiled many trends in the film industry. There is great emphasis on family bonding and spending quality time together. At SP Cinecorp, we believe in predicting the next trends based on our research and market sentiment. We have always delivered on our promise of quality cinema and stories that make one think.”
SP has never shied away from unusual or unique storylines and believes that it is the narrative that unites us all. “At the end of the day, the business of cinema is all about sharing ideas and telling new stories with a unique flavour.” The show must go on… come rain or pandemic.