When we talk about Gujarati film industry, we talk about two times. One before Kevi Rite Jaish, one after Kevi Rite Jaish. Kevi Rite Jaish was first urban Gujarati movie, which was made at par of Hindi cinema. Gujarati movies before Kevi Rite Jaish were made on rural subjects. The films were not made technically strong. But filmmaker Abhishek Jain changed the scene of Gujarati film industry with Kevi Rite Jaish. The film was made on urban subject and even production wise, it was very strong.
Gujarati films before Kevi Rite Jaish were rarely released in Surat. Saurashtra and Ahmedabad city have always been hub for Gujarati cinema, before the urban Gujarati films. Even when you see the urban Gujarati films, you see Ahmedabad being showcased in most of the films. Taking from directors to producers to the cast, most of them belonged to Ahmedabad. But things have changed lately.
After Abhishek Jain’s second film Bey Yaar, Surat city has emerged to be one of the strongest cities for Gujarati films. According to Abhishek Jain, Bey Yaar did unexpectedly good business in Surat. And after Bey Yaar, Gujjubhai The Great and Chhello Divas also ran well in Surat. Gujarati films always used to run successfully in Ahmedabad. But recent urban Gujarati films have been received surprisingly well in Surat as well.
Now Ahmedabad is not the only hub for Gujarati film industry. Surat has also emerged to be the strongest hub next to Ahmedabad. Films are not only being well received in Surat, but also being shot in Surat. Recently a Gujarati film Lavari was shot entirely in Surat. We contacted director Rahu Thummar to know about their experience in Surat, this is what he said.
“Surat has amazing shooting locations. Taking from outdoor locations to indoor locations, there are tons of options available. Shooting Lavari in Surat has been the most amazing experience. Taking from the people to police to government officials, everyone has been very kind and generous. I’m sure, after watching spectacular locations in Lavari, many directors will consider shooting in Surat.”
Apart from the shooting and business, Surat is now also providing good talent to the cinema. Mehul Surti, one of the best music directors in the industry hails from Surat. He has given music to tons of notable Gujarati films including Kevi Rite Jaish. His upcoming projects are Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish, Vitamin She and Passport. Recently Cineman Productions released first Gujarati thriller Wrong Side Raju in association with Phantom Films. Along with the lead actor Pratik Gandhi, main actors Jayesh More and Hetal Puniwala also belong to Surat. Another Gujarati thriller, Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish is also a product of Surat. Producer (Rohan Shah) to director (Naitik Raval) to cast (Gaurav Paswala, Sneha Devganiya) to the music director (Mehul Surti), most of the crew hails from Surat.
Special screenings (premiers) of Gujarati films are mostly arranged in Ahmedabad. But this was the first time, Wrong Side Raju was premiered in Surat city before the release! Dozen decent Gujarati films are scheduled to release in next three months. And most of them are now considering Surat city for pre-release promotions. Most of these dozen films have visited Surat this Navratri for promotions.
Leave behind the Kankaria Lake and Sabarmati Riverfront; Dumas beach and tons of other spectacular locations are on your way! Don’t be surprised if you see Surat on big screens very frequently now. Add your views in comments below.
[Photo Courtesy: Explore & Discover]