Rohinton Screwvala, known to the world as Ronnie, is a pioneer in the true sense of the word. The affable yet shrewd businessman has founded companies which are as diverse from each other as possible, but with the central ethos of ‘all glory is fleeting, so strive for more’ running in their entrepreneurial veins. After founding India’s premiere media company UTV Group, he started a non-profit organisation named The Swadesh Foundation with his wife Zarina Mehta, later entering the online education space with Upgrad and finally founding the Sports company named U Sports. With so many feathers on his cap, he never forgot his first love which is movies. With RSVP movies, Ronnie Screwvala placed a purposive bet on content above the superficial glitter of Bollywood.
RSVP Movies has carved a niche by having scripts dictating the cast and crew instead of the other way round. Started in 2016, RSVP Movies has given us movies like Karwaan, Uri :The Surgical Strikes and the recent Sonchiriya. In between they have also collaborated with Netflix for such gems like Lust Stories and Love Per Square Feet. In fact, RSVP was the first Indian production house to pioneer the distribution of a key title exclusively on digital. Knowing Ronnie, this does not come as any surprise, as disruption and taking a chance is a regular Friday for the media mogul.
His decision to go digital for his first venture with RSVP clearly shows the vision of a man who is ahead of the curve. He revolutionised home shopping in India with the Tele-Shopping Network (TSN) decades ago, and now the man is on a mission to take Bollywood to places it doesn’t always see. Ronnie is of the firm belief that Multiplexes and content makers need to ally and innovate. In his own words, “ Multiplexes need to be partners in increasing footfalls, but they have been too focused — maybe rightly so — in expanding their footprint of screens, because we are such an under-screened country. But it is definitely a time for a very serious dialogue between creators and exhibitors to see this as a common problem, which is only going to worsen,”.
RSVP Movies will be a repertoire of scripts which may jolt you, tickle you or make you fall in love, but which will celebrate it’s characters and the variety of emotions which they go through. In Lust Stories, we saw the stories of sexual liberation involving people who could easily be our neighbours or acquaintances. In Karwaan, we saw three very dissimilar people connect on a road trip, while in Uri :The Surgical Strikes, we saw the defenders of the country pulling off an intricate mission to eliminate enemies of the state. The latest movie from the RSVP stable is Sonchiriya is a gritty tale of people on the wrong side of the law where humanity survives amidst the blood-swathed gunfights and chaos on screen.
As movie lovers, we are looking at RSVP to helm the change ushered in Bollywood to put substance over glamour. Waiting for ‘The Sky Is Pink’ to hit the theatres this year.