New Delhi: Whether it is gigolos in the fashion industry, the illegal arms trade or the dark secrets of a film actress, Bollywood seems to be moving away from formula movies to explore relatively unknown and realistic aspects of society.
Fashion choreographer-turned-filmmaker Kaushik Ghosh is set to spotlight how male models are sometimes exploited and forced to become gigolos in his new film tentatively titled "Confessions of a Model".
Producer-director Mahesh Bhatt is set to make a film on illegal arms trading in Delhi called "Informer", which stars Emraan Hashmi and Randeep Hooda.
Director Vivek Agnihotri`s "Buddha In Traffic Jam" starring Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill, is also based on sensitive but true incidents.
"People today want to see what is happening in and around the society they live in and the films reflect the time we live in. People want to know things that might inspire or get affected by," director Rajkumar Gupta told reporters.
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar`s ambitious project "Heroine", which has been postponed indefinitely after news of lead actress Aishwarya Rai being pregnant came out, is about the life and times of a superstar Bollywood actress.
The script is also said to be a daring, emotional, shocking, glamorous and scandalous behind-the-scenes account of showbiz.
"`Heroine` is an extremely glamorous yet bold story of a film star. It is the story of one actress` journey into stardom, the people she meets, the experiences she gathers," said Madhur.
Bollywood has been known for boy meets girl and good wins over evil themes, but the past decade has seen the emergence of fillmmakers like Anurag Kashayp, Onir and Madhur Bhandarkar who focus on issue-based movies.
Film critic Omar Qureshi calls the wave of such cinema a "welcome sign".
"It is a welcome sign that filmmakers are ready to experiment with such subjects. It shows that the film industry is evolving and society is growing. However, it is just the niche filmmakers that are trying to experiment with such subjects, big filmmakers still take a calculated risk as the audience for such films is limited," he said.
Gupta admits it is difficult to make films on sensitive issues and they have to be dealt with in a responsible way.
"It is difficult as one has to have a responsible and sensitive approach towards such subjects and one has to have the right perception," said Gupta, who helmed "No One Killed Jessica", about slain model Jessica Lall, who was shot by the son of a politician in 1999.
Bhandarkar has been a pioneer of such films, whether it was the life of a bar dancer in "Chandni Bar", the glitzy and glamorous world of celebrity lifestyle in "Page 3" or the dark secrets of the fashion world in "Fashion". He won critical applause.
Filmmaker Prakash Jha`s belief in `cinema with power` compels him to bring political and socio-political issues to celluloid. With films like "Mrityudand", "Apaharan" and "Raajneeti", Jha also brought forth the relatively unknown aspects of society.
"The reality of issue-based films excites me. There is a huge story in this reality that deals with all of us. Well, so far reality has been working well from `Mrityudand`, `Apaharan` to `Raajneeti`, I have had an audience and all these films have done well," Jha told reporters.
In the near future, Prakash Jha`s "Aarakshan" will put the spotlight on caste-based reservationa in educational insitutions. Starring big names like Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan, the film is scheduled for release on independence day week - it will hit the theatres Aug 12.