Around 40 to 50 Rajasthani films are released on OTT platforms annually. While regional cinema is experiencing a resurgence, there is a growing need to emphasize theatrical screenings. Similar to Maharashtra, where every cinema hall is required to showcase one daily screening of Marathi films, a comparable system could be implemented in the state to ensure that each cinema hall presents a minimum of 56 Rajasthani film screenings per year. Vipin Tiwari, the patron of the Rajasthani Cinema Development Association, expressed these sentiments. Tiwari, who was in association with the Rajasthani Cinema Festival commencing on Wednesday at Celebration Mall in Bhuwana, highlighted that the most significant hurdle impeding the advancement of Rajasthani cinema is the lack of available cinema halls. Consequently, this scarcity prevents the films from reaching the theater audiences.
The Rajasthani Film Festival is orchestrated with the intention of honoring and providing a platform for regional cinema and artists. Inaugurated in 2018, this festival will witness the participation of numerous artists from the state. The event will feature film screenings, encompassing both contemporary and classic productions, along with the recognition of various artists, both established and emerging.
Commencing on August 23, 2023, the Rajasthani Cinema Festival commenced in Udaipur at 10:00 am, specifically hosted at Celebration in Bhuwana. While the tickets for the films were free, entry was granted through passes. The festival featured screenings of prominent films such as "Bahubali," "Turtle," "Lalji Qalandar," "Nadaniyaan," and "Majo Aa Gayo." On August 24, 2023, at 4:00 pm, an award ceremony is scheduled to take place at Ashoka Green, with the presence of renowned film stars. The awards will be distributed across 24 categories, commemorating the legends of Rajasthani cinema. In a prelude to the festival, on August 22, 2023, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot unveiled the festival poster at Hotel Taj Aravali.
The inaugural Rajasthani film, "Nazrana," made its debut in 1942. Following its release, the regional industry experienced a series of highs and lows. Over the past three years, there has been a notable decline in film releases, with almost no productions hitting the screens. This decline can be attributed to various factors, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a positive shift this year, as around 7 to 8 films are anticipated to be released.
Tiwari mentioned that iconic names such as "Ramkudi-Jhamkudi," "Bai Chali Sasariye," and "Supatra Bindani" stand out as the most memorable and successful films in Rajasthani cinema. Presently, new additions are enriching this list. Notably, "Turtle," directed by Ashok Chowdhary, has secured the esteemed Swarna Kamal, a national award. This achievement makes it the first Rajasthani film to receive such an honor. In recognition of this achievement, the Rajasthan government will provide a grant of 50 lakhs. Furthermore, the film "Bahubali" has also been awarded a grant of 25 lakhs.