Sunday, 15 September 2013

It’s All About Money, Honey! Part-III


Money over creativity?

Though this new trend has taken the industry by storm and maybe occupies a producer’s mind day evening and night, there exists a section of ATMs (producers) who are not even slightly awed by it. Actor-turned-producer John Abraham, who has been focusing on making small-budget films that guarantee little but quick returns doesn't believe in the 100-crore fad. His debut production Vicky Donor was widely appreciated and made a decent earning. His latest venture Madras Cafe, made on a modest budget of Rs.30 crore, recovered its money and achieved critical acclaim.

"Not all 100 crore films are great films. Sometimes people watch films because they want to be entertained. It is just a number today, tomorrow it will be 150 crore because such huge success is not an outcome of a film's aesthetic quality but the changing nature of film business. As an actor and producer, I make films for a different target group. If my target audience is small, my films won't do 100-crore businesses, but for me that is okay" said John recently to India Today.

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Actor-director Makrand Deshpande, who has been in the industry for more than two decades, appears to be a really worried guy. He feels that Hindi cinema has lost its charm and has only become a money minting machine. He said that if money continues to dominate the film industry then there will not be any scope left for good cinema. "Now, Hindi cinema is all about 100 crore and the subject of the film is not being counted. Earlier, we used to remake Hollywood and Korean films, but these days we are adapting Southern films”. "After ten years nobody is going to remember all these films. People will not even buy DVDs of them. We are only making noise by the term that 'Indian cinema is getting global'. Only money is dominating the industry and if it continues to do so, soon there will be a dearth of good films," Makrand said in The Financial Express.

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Anurag Basu, who delivered a surprise-hit Barfi! last year, doesn't believe in the 100 crore club either although his film crossed that mark. Barfi! was made on a budget of Rs.30 crore. In return, it made a killing of Rs.175 crore. "I would rather touch a hundred hearts with my film than run for making it to the 100-crore club," he had said famously after the success of his film. Direct, clear and undaunted, this guy is. But who doesn't desire for a commercial success?

In a corner, trade expert, Komal Nahta is singing his own song, “A film’s success does depend on the star cast and the box office collections but the story as well as the entire narration is equally important to sustain the audience attention.” If the story and the direction are not catchy, the collections do drop after initial days and the film suffers despite of being a collection of a hit star cast combo.” Ohh! Can you please explain Mr. Nahta why does the success story of Ek Tha tiger and Chennai Express contradict you?

In 21 days, the Rohit Shetty comedy thriller had managed to make a remarkable collection of Rs.218.42 crore in the domestic market. An express train’s speed like rise in the collections of the film has diminished the fact that Chennai Express wasn't a path breaking film. It was an unpretentious, light hearted entertainer that narrates a ‘we-have-seen-this-before’ story.

I couldn’t help but laugh at a friend’s sarcastic comment, “Dear Bollywood. I am just tired of you telling me how many crores you made over the weekend. Good for you. Trust me, screaming cooked-up statistics from headlines will not make us rush to the ticket windows to contribute towards your Bentley funds. In case you step out of your glass house you will see, we are not exactly in the mood to celebrate.”

 In store for future

Chennai Express has elevated the level and the trend is now shifting to the 200 crore club. Diwali will see the return of Hrithik Roshan in his superhero avatar in Krrish 3. Ranbir Kapoor returns on October 2 with Besharam. Aamir and Katrina team up for Dhoom 3 which, many in the trade foresee as the biggest hit of this year. "The business has doubled and thus the Rs.200-crore club has emerged as the new benchmark in Bollywood. This is largely because the number of screens has increased. Big film- makers strategically pick most apt release dates, too. This apart, star craze and mass appeal add to the business of a film," Adarsh said.


Dadu explained his conern to me with an intense look on his wrinkled face coupled with a calm voice,”100 crore is the new yardstick for super success, just as silver or golden jubilee was in our times. Back then, it was Rajendra Kumar who was reverentially referred to as ‘Jubilee Kumar’ because of the line of silver and golden jubilees he had to his credit.”” Now, toh there is a Rajendra everywhere”, he exclaimed as a matter of fact as he brushed aside the dust, covering the Sangam VCD. “Look out for Raj Kapoor, he is amazing in this”, said he, leaving the room on his crutches and me in deep retrospection.

Part I

Part II
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