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Producers who made cinematic history in the year gone by

Producers who made cinematic history

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Anand Pandit, and Karan Johar were among the makers who tweaked the rules of popular entertainment

It is not always easy to deviate from the unwritten formulae of popular cinema but in 2023, a few makers succeeded despite telling stories that broke cinematic norms.

An overview

Vidhu Vinod Chopra

From the time this FTII graduate made his first film ‘Sazaye Maut’, he has consistently taken critics and audiences by surprise with cult hits like ‘Parinda’ and ‘1942: A Love Story’. In 2023, the 71-year-old producer and director made a film that once again redefined the meaning of a successful film. ’12th Fail’, based on a book by Anurag Pathak about the real-life academic journey of IPS officer Manoj Kumar Sharma, not only became a surprise, small budget hit of the year but was immediately accorded the status of a modern classic. The film starring Vikrant Massey, Medha Shankar, Anant V Joshi, Anshumaan Pushkar, and Priyanshu Chatterjee grossed over ₹66 crore and at the 69th Filmfare Awards, received 12 nominations. Founded in 1985, Vinod Chopra Films remains one of the most versatile and prolific production houses.

Anand Pandit

Anand Pandit Motion Pictures is arguably the only pan-Indian production house that has made films in Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Not content to remain within one genre or industry, Pandit has made it a point to work with cinematic talents across India to tell multi-lingualstories. He achieved a major milestone in 2023 when he delivered ‘3 Ekka’, a blockbuster that became the second-highest-grossing Gujarati film of all time. Directed by Rajesh Sharma and written by Chetan Daiya and Parth Trivedi, this Anand Pandit production starred Malhar Thakar, Yash Soni, Mitra Gadhavi, Kinjal Rajpriya, Esha Kansara, and Tarjanee Bhadla in lead roles. This year, the veteran producer is all set to make history again by backing five big-budget projects in multiple languages that were launched together on 23 January in Bengaluru.

Aditya Chopra

Aditya Chopra has always walked to his own beat and set standards rather than follow them. He continued to ace the blockbuster game in 2023 with the YRF production ‘Pathaan’ grossing ₹1,050.30 crore worldwide and becoming the second highest-grossing Indian film of 2023. Directed by Siddharth Anand, the film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana established Chopra as one of the most enduring success stories in the industry. A story that began when at the age of 18, he began working with his father as an assistant director of films such as Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991) and Darr (1993). In 1995, at the age of 23, he directed Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and continues to redefine Hindi cinema as a director, distributor, producer and chairman of entertainment conglomerate Yash Raj Films.

Karan Johar

Dharma Productions was not the powerhouse that it is today when the son of producer Yash Johar, made his directorial debut with ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in 1998. That Karan Johar has not only retained his understanding of popular cinema but also evolved as a film-maker was demonstrated by the success and critical acclaim earned by ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ which grossed over ₹355 crore worldwide and won 20 nominations at the 69th Filmfare Awards. The film stars Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Churni Ganguly, Aamir Bashir, and Kshitee Jog.

Gauri Khan

Red Chillies Entertainment established by Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan in 2002, delivered the biggest hit of 2023 and the fifth highest-grossing Indian film of all time. ‘Jawan’ starring Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, Deepika Padukone, Priyamani and Sanya Malhotra grossed over ₹1,148.32 crore and at the 69th Filmfare Awards, received 14 nominations, including Best Film and Best Director. The Atlee directorial was different from the norm because it not only entertained but also provoked thought about issues like corruption, farmer suicides and more.

Dinesh Vijan

Dinesh Vijan has emerged as a prominent figure in Indian cinema, delivering exceptional content in both Hindi films and the OTT space under his production banner, Maddock Films. One of his recent productions, ‘Zara Hatke Zara Bachke’ (2023), starring Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan, proved to be a sleeper hit, earning four nominations at the 69th Filmfare Awards. Vijan’s next project is ‘Murder Mubarak,’ a horror film directed by Homi Adajania, featuring Pankaj Tripathi, Vijay Varma, Dimple Kapadia, Karisma Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Tisca Chopra, Kunal Khemu, and Sanjay Kapoor. The anticipation surrounding the film underscores the confidence viewers place in Maddock Films, a brand that has left an indelible mark on the entertainment sector with over 30 films, including hits like ‘Stree,’ ‘Hindi Medium,’ ‘Luka Chuppi,’ ‘Badlapur,’ ‘Love Aaj Kal,’ ‘Cocktail,’ and ‘Raabta.’