The event hosted on 12th April at the Jio World Convention Centre in Bombay by Jio Studios to mark its fifth anniversary left the industry rubbing its eyes in disbelief. The relatively new studio, owned by Mukesh Ambani, in one stroke demonstrated that it is all set to be the market leader in the film industry in the coming years. The studio which, one thought, was taking only baby steps in the film industry, sprang a surprise when it announced a slate of 100 Hindi and regional films and web series at a glittering and star-studded ceremony. Jyoti Deshpande (in picture above with Shahid Kapoor), president of Reliance Industries Ltd. Media Business, proved that while the entire industry had been wondering whether the film industry in general and the exhibition sector in particular had any future post-COVID 19, she and her team worked tirelessly and without making any noise to finalise a hundred projects. These include films and web series in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and South Indian.

Ritesh Deshmukh and Jyoti Deshpande jointly hosted the evening, imparting loads of information but at the same time entertaining the invitees who included Sooraj Barjatya, Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff, A.R. Rahman, Kriti Sanon, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Diana Penty, Sanya Malhotra, Abhishek Bachchan, Randeep Hooda, Boney Kapoor, Dinesh Vijan, Aditya Dhar, Yami Gautam Dhar, Sriram Raghavan, Abhishek Sharma, Mahaveer Jain, Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Varun Sharma, Parmeet Sethi, Madhavan and many more.

It was easily the largest slate to be announced by any studio since the advent of cinema. Many of the 100 projects are ready for release in cinemas and/or on OTT. Obviously, the genres include action, drama, thriller, comedy, romance, horror, biopic, musical etc. The wide range of this marquee offering promises to make Jio a game-changer in the world of Indian entertainment. While recounting the brief which Mukesh Ambani had given her when she joined the company, Jyoti revealed, “He just told me one thing: think big, we have to make films for the whole of India.” Jyoti also paid tribute to her late father who taught her to focus on what she knew best.

Some of the big names Jio has collaborated with are Rajkumar Hirani, Sooraj Barjatya, Dinesh Vijan, Ali Abbas Zafar, Aditya Dhar, Prakash Jha, Amar Kaushik and Laxman Utekar.

Among the films on Jio’s slate are Dunki (Shah Rukh Khan), Bloody Daddy (Shahid Kapoor), Bhediya 2 (Varun Dhawan), Dinesh Vijan’s as-yet-untitled Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon starrer, Stree 2 (Rajkumar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor), Section 84 (Amitabh Bachchan), Hisaab Barabar (R. Madhavan), Zara Hatke Zara Bachke (Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan), BlackOut (Vikrant Massey and Mouni Roy), Mumbaikar (Vijay Sethupathi), The Storyteller (Paresh Rawal and Adil Hussain), Dhoom Dhaam (Pratik Gandhi and Yami Gautam Dhar), Trial Period (Manav Kaul and Genelia Deshmukh), Empire (Taapsee Pannu and Arvind Swamy), etc.

The formidable list of web series includes the following: Laal Batti, a political thriller helmed by Prakash Jha (marking Nana Patekar’s debut in OTT, with Sanjay Kapoor); Union: The Making Of India (Kay Kay Menon, Ashutosh Rana and a stellar ensemble cast); Inspector Avinash (Randeep Hooda and Urvashi Rautela); Rafuchakkar (Manish Paul’s debut on OTT); Bajao (rapper Raftaar’s OTT debut); The Magic Of Shiri (Divyanka Tripathi); Doctors (Sharad Kelkar); A Legal Affair (Barkha Singh and Angad Bedi) and many more. Additionally, the studio has built a Mini-Originals slate showcasing slice-of-life content that includes Ishq Next Door (Abhay Mahajan and Natasha Bharadwaj), Do Gubbare (Dr. Mohan Agashe and Siddharth Shaw) and Hajamat (Sanjay Mishra and Anshumaan Pushkar).

Jio Studios has also invested significantly in building a vast local content repertoire and is set to dominate the regional space too, with a slew of stories across languages. It has a noteworthy Marathi slate comprising such titles as Baipan Bhari Deva (Rohini Hattangady, Vandana Gupte and Sukanya Kulkarni), Four Blind Men (Ankush Chaudhari), 1234 (Vaidehi Parshurami and Nipun Dharmadhikari), Kharvas (Sandesh Kulkarni), Kaata Kirrr (Priyadarshan Jadhav) and Khashaba (Nagraj Manjule). Jio is arguably the only content company to invest in premium Marathi web original series like Kaalsutra (Subodh Bhave and Sayaji Shinde), Eka Kaleche Mani (Prashant Damle) and Aga Aai Aho Aai (Renuka Shahane and Hruta Durgule).

Jio also announced one of the biggest deals in the Bengali market by revealing that it had entered into a multi-year, multi-film collaboration agreement with SVF Entertainment, the powerhouse of Bengali cinema. The upcoming films in this partnership will include top-of-the-line talent such as Mithun Chakraborty, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Jishu Sengupta, and makers Dhrubo Banerjee, Raj Chakraborty, Anirban Bhattacharya, Srijit Mukherji and Suman Ghosh, to name a few.

The studio is also backing Gujarati cinema and will present an interesting line-up including Bachubhai (Siddharth Randeria), Chaandlo (Kaajal Oza Vaidya, Manav Gohil and Shraddha Dangar) and Ghulam Chor (Malhar Thakkar).

April 12 will go down in entertainment history as the day on which a studio announced the highest number of assets ever. Exhibitors can breathe easy now. For, among the 100 assets of Jio Studios, many are films which will have a theatrical release before they are streamed on OTT.