Mahesh Bhatt admits Vishesh Films needs steroid shot, will oversee move to focus on content-driven cinema
Sonil Dedhia (MID-DAY; March 16, 2017)

For almost a decade, filmmaker brothers Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt were known to unapologetically bank on sex and thrill to get a grip on box office success. From erotic thrillers like the 'Murder' (pictured below) and 'Jism' franchise to supernatural films like the 'Raaz' series, films emerging from the Vishesh Films banner have been commercially successful. But their last few films, 'Blood Money', 'Khamoshiyan' and 'Mr X', were washouts at the BO, and it’s believed that Mahesh felt it was time to reinvent themselves.

Vidya Balan-starrer 'Begum Jaan' is an outcome of this introspection, he admits. “The film marks a renaissance for Vishesh Films. It’s a new homecoming for me. This is the kind of cinema I was known for in my formative years. That withered away. I am privileged to have a filmmaker like Srijit Mukherji [director] on board,” he says. He agrees that the audience is bored of the kind of cinema they have produced in the last few years.

Still from Murder

“We had become complacent. We felt everything was going well with our production house. We were making films that generated revenue since they were smartly packaged, but they looked like assembly line productions. The economic model was working, but we had lost an emotional connect [with the audience] for which we were known. It was as if we were cloning our own content,” he shares.

Bhatt knows the secret for a production house’s longevity is relevance through constant reinvention, when he says, “We were known as thinking leaders [of the industry] and that’s where we want to be. The audience gave us a reality check. We are now set to ride on new energy with content-centric cinema.”