The Emotional Quotient: A New Measure of Success for Indian Films

In the ever-evolving and vigorous landscape of the Indian film industry, success of a movie should no longer solely be measured by box office numbers. A new dimension has emerged, highlighting the importance of emotional intelligence in filmmaking - The Emotional Quotient (EQ). As exhibitors, as we come to terms with this new element, we must take a pause and understand how EQ is becoming a pivotal factor in determining the success of Indian films, shaping the industry's narrative and resonating with audiences on a deeper level.

While literally, you may believe that EQ refers to the ability to understand, manage, and effectively use one's own emotions, as well as recognizing and influencing the emotions of others. In the context of Indian cinema, EQ transcends traditional metrics by focusing on how well a film connects with its audience on an emotional level and secures a place in the audiences’ hearts. This shift signifies a departure from the formulaic approach of yesteryears to a more nuanced, emotionally resonant storytelling. It is also important to understand; what factors makes us believe that a film possesses a higher EQ score.

Well-developed characters

Films with a high EQ have well-developed characters, ensuring that audiences connect with their struggles, triumphs, and personal growth. Character arcs that evoke empathy and relatability contribute significantly to the emotional resonance of a film. The massive acclaim received by movies like Marykom, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Iqbal may be attributed to the phenomenal characters, who stole the audiences’ hearts and made them feel their struggles and triumphs emotionally.

Emotional narrative

A strong EQ in filmmaking involves weaving narratives that delve into the complexities of human emotions. Themes that explore love, loss, friendship, and self-discovery are no longer just plot points but integral elements that elevate the emotional impact of the film, something which we all felt so connected in movies like 12th Fail, Kai Po Che and Bajrani Bhaijan.

Cultural Relevance

Indian films are increasingly incorporating culturally relevant themes, reflecting the diverse emotions experienced by the audience. It was the huge cultural resonance which the audiences witnessed in movies like Kantara, Padmavat and Bajirao Mastani, that not only added authenticity to the storytelling but also enhances the emotional connection between the film and its viewers.

Social impact

Films with a high Emotional Quotient often address social issues and challenges, fostering awareness and empathy. The ability of a film to provoke thought and inspire action contributes significantly to its success in contemporary Indian cinema. While the list is endless, few names which have continued to be a part of the social folklore are Swades, Chak De, Padman, PK and OMG

Emotion-triggering music

The role of music in Indian cinema has always been pivotal. Filmmakers have leveraged musical scores and soundtracks to heighten emotional impact. Ranbir Kapoor, whether while wading his guitar in Rockstar, or dancing at the Corsica Island in Tamasha, was building a connect with the audiences, which continues to remain intact. A well-composed background score can elevate a scene, eliciting a long lasting intuitive response from the audience. Movies like Ashiqui and Rock On too deserve a special mention here.

Consumption environment

The manner of consumption of content is important too. The darkness, the quiet and the collective applause of the Cinema halls offer an enchanting joy, derived from a shared cinematic journey with a profound sense of togetherness also trigger a deeper sense of emotional engagement with the content on screen, as you start feeling a part of the story.

As the Indian film industry continues to evolve, the Emotional Quotient is becoming a key metric for success. Filmmakers are realizing that a strong emotional connection with the audience transcends the transient allure of box office numbers. By prioritizing character development, narrative depth, cultural relevance, and social impact, Indian cinema is embracing a new era where Emotional Quotient is not just a measure of success but a reflection of its ability to resonate with the hearts and minds of the audience. Much like the OTT platforms, with cinema subscription service coming into play, and price-resistance being rendered insignificant, we expect more and more audiences to explore more content and engage deeply with movies, from genres which they connect better emotionally.

Talking about Quotients, something which also comes to mind is measurement. Measuring the emotional success of a film involves evaluating various factors that contribute to its ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. While quantifying emotions is inherently subjective, I hope eagerly await a measurement tool, which takes into account, the Box Office collections, measures audience engagement, measures the societal impact, and the longevity of the film. Of course it is easier said than done, but with digitalisation taking centre stage, who knows we have a solution soon.

While the collections remain the true measure of the success of films, EQ, has been, and will remain the heartbeat of this cinematic revolution, transcending conventional metrics by tapping into the emotional core of storytelling. It's the secret sauce that turns a good film into an unforgettable experience, leaving audiences on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the rollercoaster ride of emotions.

This article is authored by Gautam Dutta, Co-CEO, PVR INOX.

( Source : Guest Post )
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