The Bhojpuri film industry has been consistently growing over the years, doubling its output from 50 films four years ago to 100 films annually, and making money too. There was a time when Bhojpuri movies were considered laughable in its aesthetics and objectionable in its form. But not anymore. For instance, the 2003 blockbuster “Sasura Bada Paisa Wala” that featured superstar Manoj Tiwari, was made at a budget of Rs. 35 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh, but made massive profits all over India.
The Bhojpuri movie industry is fondly known as Bhojiwood. It’s a fast growing industry, thanks to ace actors like Ravi Kishen and Manoj Tewari. But how did this small-scale industry turn into a Rs 2000 crore worth industry? Well, it created several milestones to reach here!
Cut to year – late 1950s. Two men met at Mumbai. One was Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, who hailed from Patna, Bihar. And the other was Nazir Hussain, a highly popular Bollywood actor, known for his stellar performances in films like Parineeta, Devdas, Naya Daur and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. What these two gentleman didn’t know at that time, was that their meeting would lead to the birth of a very talented industry – the Bhojpuri film industry.
During this meeting, Dr Prasad asked Nazir about the prospect of making films in Bhojpuri.
Making a mainstream film in pure Bhojpuri Language had a high risk of failure. But Nazir was willing to take the chances. He pitched a Hindi script to one of the greatest director then – Bimal Roy, who was acclaimed as the Best Director for Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, etc.
The actor took risk to take the same script to a Bhojpuri language. On February 22, 1936, the first ever Bhojpuri film Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari), featured Nazir himself and actress Padma Khanna. The film was released at Veena Cinema, Patna and was made within a budget of just Rs 5 Lakh!
This laid the foundation of Bhojpuri film industry! It started with a film which dealt with issues like widow remarriage and many more movies followed like Bidesiya (1963), Balam Pardesiya (1979) etc.
Did you know that Nadiya Ke Paar (1982) was remade in Hindi as the super blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994)?
Film makers slowly started drifting away and the industry became almost nil by the early 90s. In late 1990s came the great hit Sasura Bada Paise Wala which started a new era of Bhojpuri cinema.
Then came the real saviours of Bhojiwood. Actors Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishen who became brands in the industry and the sole runners of the show from 2004-2014. With superhit releases, they changed the face of the market completely. Check out their exclusive chat together:
According to sources, 2015 was the best year for the Bhojpuri industry, where the total collections from the box office were close to Rs 35 crore followed by 2016 where collections were to the tune of Rs 30 crore from the 56 films produced. The top grossing film of 2015 was Nirahua Rikshawala 2.
And in 2016, seeing the success and creditably of Bhojpuri Cinema, actress Priyanka Chopra produced Bam Bam Bol Raha Hai Kashi (under the banner Purple Pebble Pictures) became of the year’s top blockbuster movie, which grossed over Rs 4 crore at the box office!
Bhojpuri film budgets have gone up from the Rs 5 lakh to Rs 100 crore mark now. With rich businessmen and Bihari expats from Nepal, Mauritius and Fiji islands gearing up to invest heavily, the industry is here to stay for a long time.
Meanwhile, Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen’s superb role in Bollywood’s movie Lucknow Central was anything hard to miss. Thumbs up to Bhojpuri actors and their talents!