Let's kill some time: How Bollywood movies are reducing their runtime

  • A Sarwar Borah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 15, 2015 18:17 IST

Have you noticed that Bollywood films are lately much shorter than those never ending song-dance sagas they used to be? The recently-released film, Dolly Ki Doli, is all of 100 minutes, Finding Fanny was 106 mins, Dum Laga Kae Haisha has a runtime of 111 minutes and NH 10 goes on for 115 minutes, reminding one of how long (or short) Hollywood films typically are.

Experts see it as a positive development, saying it was much the need of the hour. "Today, people want everything fast. It's not just films, in cricket, too, we have a shorter version now. Shorter screen-time allows more shows in multiplexes. At a time when a film's average ­shelf-life is not more than a month, some films look at generating revenue this way," says film critic Atul Mohan.

However, the theatre owners are unlikely to have repeat shows for every short duration film. "With a film like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, which is ­building up on word of mouth promotion, the number of shows should be kept tight, so that its demand builds up," says film distributor Girish Johar.

Adds Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of a leading multiplex chain, "Nobody sets out to make a film with the prerequisite that it should be a small film, because it will enable more shows. It's a byproduct of the script and narration ... on an average, we slot 5 to 5.25 shows for a screen every day. We go with whatever the audience likes."

Filmmakers, on their part, say to each his own. Hansal Mehta, who mostly does 120-min films, says, "That's my style, one of my first few films was around 95 minutes and I was told to increase its length. We have come a long way since then."

Abhishek Dogra, who has directed Dolly Ki Doli, says, "When you are making a period film, you have to establish every character, but for a modern comedy like my film, it has to instantly click with the audience."

A few examples:
* Dum Laga Ke Haisha: 111 mins
* Dolly Ki Doli: 100 mins
* NH10: 115 mins
* Ragini MMS 2: 119 mins
* Finding Fanny: 106 mins
* Mardaani: 111 mins
* Citylights: 126 mins
* Highway: 133 mins
* Bobby Jasoos: 121 mins

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