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Indians Gave Their Money to Bring These 5 Films to Life. Watched Them Yet?

Indians Gave Their Money to Bring These 5 Films to Life. Watched Them Yet?

Did you know that Shyam Benegal’s masterpiece ‘Manthan’ would have remained an idea had it not been for half a million farmers from Gujarat who funded the movie?

What could three different films—about a doctor on a white revolution mission; an insomniac and an unemployed youngster—possibly have in common?

Well, all these movies saw the light of the day, only because they were crowdfunded.

Crowdfunding is a concept where people from society allocate funds to aid the filmmaking process and has gained popularity as the go-to method for budding and independent filmmakers who want their voices heard.

Although the Hindi film industry is known for the money it makes nationally and internationally, several films fail to see the light of the day due to the shortage of funds.

Fed up of going from one producer’s office to another, many independent movie makers are now relying on crowdfunding projects.

Here are five films in India that were financed by the aam janta:

1) Manthan: Shyam Benegal

Source: Wikipedia

Sisoty apni hai, apni

As an agitated Bhola (Naseeruddin Shah) reminds a group of villagers about the benefits of forming a co-operative society for milk on a 70 mm screen, audiences in Mumbai’s Regal cinema let out a huge applause.

The dialogue which translates to ‘society is ours’ is from filmmaker Shyam Benegal’s masterpiece Manthan that was released in 1976. This powerful dialogue motivates the characters in the movie to accomplish their mission.

Besides, it was Benegal’s way of thanking the farmers who turned his vision into a full-fledged movie.

Manthan was the first crowdfunded movie in India, and also demonstrated the power of “collective might” as it was entirely crowdfunded by 500,000 farmers who donated Rs 2, each.

The film is set amidst the backdrop of the White Revolution of India, pioneered by Verghese Kurien, and revolves around Dr Rao (Girish Karnad) who heads to a village in Gujarat’s Kheda district, intending to establish a Milk Co-operative society.

Other actors include Smita Patil, Amrish Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.

Interestingly, its title sequence includes the line’ 500,000 farmers of Gujarat present.’

You can watch the movie here.

2) Nedunalvaadai: Selvakannan

Source: Twitter/Ramesh Bala

When Selvakannan quit his well-paying engineering job to enter the world of light, camera and action, his major concern was money. Though it unleashes the creative side of people, filmmaking is a costly affair.

That was when his friends from college came forward and pitched in.

I had a script, which was very close to my heart. About thirty of us, all engineering diploma graduates based out of Nellai, knowing my passion, came together to make my dream a reality, he told The New Indian Express.

The Tamil drama revolves an unemployed youngster who is torn between his family and love. The movie, subtly, also addresses the issue of daughters who are unable to inherit property.

With a rating of 7.6 on IMDb, the movie garnered applause from both critics and audiences.

Watch the trailer here.

3) Kothanodi: Bhaskar Hazarika

Source: Twitter/Kothanodi

A recipient of the National Award for Best Feature Film in Assamese (2016) and Asian Cinema Fund Post Production, Kothanodi set a trend of crowdfunding movies in North East.

It encouraged many independent filmmakers like Kenny Basumatary and Reema Borah to pursue their film projects.

The film, which stars stalwarts like Seema Biswas and Adil Hussain was directed by Bhaskar Hazarika. It is based on characters and events described in Burhi Aair Sadhu (Grandma’s Tales), a popular compendium of folk stories compiled by Assamese literary giant, Lakshminath Bezbaroa.

Crowdfunding is definitely a viable option for independent filmmakers. If you look at it, cheaper film technology and expanding social media have converged to create perfect conditions for indie filmmakers to get off their couch do something about their script, said Bhaskar to TOI.

Watch the trailer here.

4) Lucia: Pawan Kumar

Image may contain: 4 people
Source: Facebook

Taking advantage of the rising popularity of social media, former IT professional Pawan Kumar started a crowdfunding blog and used Facebook to finance his film.

As per The Economic Times, the filmmaker was able to raise close to 50 lakhs within ten days from 100 investors for his psychological thriller that was released in 2013. It was remade in Tamil as ‘Enakkul Oruvan’ in 2015.

A thin line between fantasy and reality, this Kannada film with a non-linear plot, follows a man who has insomnia and is desperate for good sleep. The plotline moves forward when he consumes a unique type of pill.

The film went on to premiere at the London Indian Film Festival 2013, where it won the ‘Audience Choice Award.’

Watch the trailer here.

5) Greater Elephant

Source: YouTube

Released in 2012, this black comedy is about finding a purpose in life. It involves a mahout who has lost his elephant, a devil who has lost his teeth, a god who has lost his identity, a theatre owner who has lost her god and a constable who has lost his faith.

Ordinary people crowdfunded the distribution of the movie as director Srinivas Sunderrajan fell short of money.

Crowdfunding is a novel platform that’s just found its way into India after finding success in the western countries. It’s a process in which we involve cinephiles to invest in a film and thereby getting to be part of the film’s crew, he said in a conversation with The Hindu.

Watch the trailer here.

Also ReadThis Man’s Brilliant Stories Took Him from a Meghalaya Village to Cannes Film Festival!

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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