Reinventing romance M&B style

Siddhartha M Jain

When it comes to romance, you'd think that it's one genre that Bollywood never tires off, and has mastered it film-after-film for nearly a century. But Siddhartha M Jain, producer and CEO, iRock Films thinks differently. "Romance in Indian films has been largely dominated by the Yash Chopra and Dharma kind of films, the audience for that has now grown older. And there's an untouched market for films in that genre for the young," says the producer, who's inked a deal with Harlequin, publisher of the iconic imprint of romantic novels Mills & Boon. The deal entails making films and TV content based on M&B's vast library.

Jain expresses surprise that the industry did not see the potential in young romance. He's also confident that M&B's girlie romance tag will not be a deterrent in connecting with his target audience of 16-35. "M&B is one brand that's been read by different generations, and is still going strong. It has a large library, and we have picked up stories that are contemporary and can make a connect with the young urban audience. It's not like the films are going to have action and drama in it, but we want to give the young a complete mush experience that they can relate to, the films should ooze romance and passion," says Jain, who produced the urban horror flick Ragini MMS.

iRock has identified three titles for their romance films, which they plan to launch within 18 months. "Over the last forty years, Mills & Boon characters have kissed each other over 20,000 times, shared about 30,000 hugs and headed for the altar at least 7,000 times. This is all I need to make super-hit films. We will soon announce the name of the novel, director and cast of our first film, that will roll, early next year,"said Jain, adding that the cast, fresh faces or established stars, depend on the story. iRock is currently making a crazy youth-comedy Disco Valley, a chick-flick Size Zero and vampire film Bloody Veer.

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