India’s Super Cassettes Industries, operating under the label T-Series, has revealed plans for a 100-film slate across various Indian languages.
The company was founded by the late Gulshan Kumar in 1983 as a music business. He soon grew it into India’s biggest music label. Bhushan Kumar took over as chair and MD of the company in 1997. T-Series has been producing or co-producing films since 1990, but is now poised for a huge push into the space with a range of films featuring A-listers. The company’s latest film, “Jhund,” starring Amitabh Bachchan, is currently on theatrical release.
Bhushan Kumar spoke with Variety about the company’s plans.
Can you give us some highlights of your 100-film slate? In what languages will the slate be in?
Over the years, T-Series has backed films and graced the audience with commercially and critically acclaimed films like “Aashiqui 2,” “Baby,” “Hindi Medium,” “Kabir Singh,” “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior,” “Thappad,” “Sherni,” “Ludo,” “Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui” and “Atrangi Re” amongst various others. In the coming years too, we look forward to bringing a healthy mix of films that are relatable, entertaining, and highly appealing to the audiences globally. We are already working on various projects across genres with around 100 projects in the pipeline that we aim to bring in the next three years.
Our much awaited magnum opus “Adipurush” with Prabhas, Kriti Sanon and Saif Ali Khan with Om Raut at the helm of it is a prestigious project for us with roughly an INR400-crore [$53 million] investment, making it even more special. Adding to that we have Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor’s [as-yet-untitled] film with Luv Ranjan and “Animal” which is a Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial and has the ensemble cast of Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.
One more exciting project in the pipeline for T-Series is the Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon starrer “Shehzada” which is currently on floors and along with that we also have Ayushmann Khurrana’s “Action Hero” which we are producing along with Aanand L. Rai. That’s not all, “Bheed” starring Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar is helmed by Anubhav Sinha and “Vikram Vedha” with Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan too is in making. The list goes on with varied films and genres which we are extremely excited about.
We are diversifying our content pool by working on films in regional languages as well. India is an enormous nation brimming with so many cultures and languages and we want this rich cultural heritage to reflect the same in our films. Hence, we are breaking the barriers of working just on Hindi cinema and foraying into the regional space and have already commenced working with some talented producers and directors across the country.
As music producers, we have enjoyed working with a fusion of regional languages and we understand the importance of regional cinema and music and thus have always made it a point to include these languages in all our projects.
What’s the total budget for the slate?
Most of the movies in this slate are in the making stage or planning stage. We don’t have a designated budget as we are treating each project individually on its merit and requirements. Even to market a movie – budgets are always a secondary thought; the primary objective is to create good content for the consumer to enjoy.
You’ve recently forayed into producing streaming shows, what can we expect on that end?
In the last decade, internet connectivity has increased ten-fold. The number of OTT [streaming] content consumers has too steadily risen and is at an all-time high at the moment so venturing into the world of OTT is simply the call of nature, especially for a production house and music label like T-Series. While in the past we have had a few films which released digitally, we now look forward to churning out some great shows that will pique the audiences’ interests. We are already working with a few platforms and are collaborating with powerhouse content makers such as Aanand L. Rai, Anubhav Sinha, Nikhil Advani, Hansal Mehta, Sanjay Gupta, Bejoy Nambiar, Suparn S Varma, Mikhil Musale and Soumendra Padhi among several more stalwarts.
We are also working on Saroj Khan’s biopic, a series that will take audiences on a truly incredible life and career journey of India’s first female choreographer. That’s not all, there are several shows in the pipeline with genres ranging from thrillers, biopics, murder mysteries, jailbreak dramas and several tent-pole properties.
What are your plans for growing the Indian music market?
We are not only thrilled to be the first ever channel crossing an incredible 210 million subscribers, but we hold the pride to put our country first on the global map of entertainment.
The Indian music space is ever emerging and constantly evolving. In the 1990s, we were contributing with our music not only in films, but we were also pioneering in the pop music space. T-Series has revived that era of classic melodies again during the pandemic by reintroducing music with similar styles, from romance to traditional singles and albums. Our music label is constantly giving new sound to music. Not only that, we also analyzed that the masses are more receptive towards the soulful and romantic genre of music and singles like “Lutt Gaye,” “Taaron Ke Sheher,” “Meri Aashiqui,” “Chhor Denge,” “Bewafa Tera Masoom Chehra,” all of which went on to break records.
Along with this we also experimented by bringing peppy numbers like “Nach Meri Rani” and “Saiyyan Ji” which too were received well by music lovers across the globe. I firmly believe in the power of trying something new and we have never shied away from experimenting and introducing a new genre of music. The massive success of “Dance Meri Rani,” where we used Afrobeats, is a strong testament to our conviction. Retaining the same, we are looking to explore, experiment as well as collaborate with various artists and create a vibrant spectrum of music themes.
While we keep focusing on Hindi music, we are looking forward to dive deeper into the regional language space. Regional and devotional music has also gained momentum and will continue growing further.