Posts tagged amod mehra
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 11, 2010)
Director Anubhav Sinha (known for the super dud Cash) must have felt like King for exactly a day when rumour mills said that his Ra.One with Shah Rukh Khan was sold for Rs.175 crores. But a segment of Bollywood saw red. “How can a Anubhav-SRK project get Rs 175 croreswhen a SRK-Farhan Akhtar (Farhan’s box office record is much better than Anubhav’s) combination be negotiated for Rs 125 crores,’’ asked a trade guru. He added, “While neither the price of Don-2 is Rs 125 crores nor can Ra.One ever fetch Rs 175 crores (in these economically challenged times) it is ridiculous for vested interests to spread these stories.’’
Trade expert Taran Adarsh said, “Bollywood is going through a correction process. Now, more than ever, there is arithmetic attached to the acquisition process. And the price of a film is based on the combined equity of the director and the star. If Shah Rukh Khan and Raju Hirani were to come into the market with a project and you hear figures like Rs 125 crores being bandied about, it may seem more likely. Both are hot at the box office. But just to float random figures will once again be Bollywood’s biggest folly. ’’
It is said that after disasters like Raavan and Kites (both of which crossed the Rs 100 crore marks leaving their investors near bankrupt), the Hindi film industry is very sceptical about acquisition prices. Exaggerated reports say that reeling under the impact of huge disasters like Drona, Blue, Kites and Raavan, there are film corporations who are unable to float their own IPOs (initial public offerings). An insider said, “Some corporations have tightened their purse strings and are even keeping a count of how many cups of tea are being served each day in their offices. So where is the question of them acquiring movies for ridiculous prices?’’
Trade consultant Amod Mehra also warned that one irresponsible number can have a domino effect on the whole system. “Stars and makers will again start believing in their own supremacy theory. And if they make ridiculous demands, then the trade that is just about raising its head with correct pricing (as in the case of I Hate Luv Storys) will fall prey to its own greed.’’ However, he felt that the biggest superstars (Aamir Khan, SRK) and sensible filmmakers are very aware of the trade machinations. “And it is just a few ill-informed people who end up spreading rumours of crazy prices when the reality is something else,’’ said Amod.
While corporations conveniently keep saying “company policy doesn’t allow us to talk figures,’’ it is hinted that the deal for Don-2 will close at Rs 81 crores; Golmaal-3 is being negotiated for a similar amount; Akshay Kumar’s Tees Maar Khan will sell for Rs 55 crores despite the unbeatable combination of Farah Khan (whose last hit Om Shanti Om was huge) and Katrina Kaif (10 hits in a row); Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also reportedly closed at Rs 81 crores. “This itself is a very big price to recover,’’ said a broker. It is hinted that SLB (whose Saawariya was a washout) has allegedly been paid Rs 30 crores for this film, and so has his hero Hrithik. But these are definitely the biggest deals as far as the current scenario goes. And even these may prove fatal for Bollywood. Ideally films that are in the Rs 55-70 crore bracket are the safe bets.
“Producers be warned. A 3-Idiots that grossed something to the tune of Rs 375 crores is a once-in-a-blue-moon phenomenon,” said Taran.
But trade disagrees that sharper editing could have saved Mani Ratnam’s film
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; June 22, 2010)
Blame it on the editing. Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan did exactly that on the weekend. In his tweets with Filmfare editor Jitesh Pillaai, the concerned father expressed the view that it was the editing of Mani Ratnam’s Raavan that led to the inconsistency of the performance of the protagonist — Abhishek Bachchan.
Amitabh implied that had the film not been so “sadly edited”, Abhishek’s erratic behaviour (and all that jazz about his 10 heads) would have been easier for the common man to comprehend. One of the Big B’s tweets read: “Lot of merited film edited out, causing inconsistent performance and narrative, but what presentation!’’
However, trade specialists don’t seem to be in tandem with the legend’s views. Says trade guru Taran Adarsh, “The film (Hindi) opened to a weak response. The figures have just come in this Monday morning. It has collected only 45% of what Kites and Raajneeti collected over the opening weekend. It has fared very average in the UK too.’’
Taran who has been following Amitabh on the micro-blogging site says, “When a film flops everything about it seems at fault. It is very easy to blame the editing. But, according to me, Raavan failed because the script was too linear. It was stretched. If the editing is consistent, it can make a film slicker; it can make a performance look better. But inconsistent editing can’t save a bad performance. In my opinion, Aishwarya was good in the film, however Abhishek lacked the maturity for this role. If the editing was bad, then even Ash’s performance would have got diluted.’’
The other trade consultant Amod Mehra, adds, “Everything about Raavan except the cinematography was mediocre.’’ He feels the performances of all the lead actors was strictly below average. “When a film goes wrong people are looking for various factors to put the blame on. But the fact is that Raavan has failed. Mani couldn’t justify Abhishek’s character well. And he made Beera look like a lunatic muttering to himself.’’ A staunch supporter of the editor of Raavan, Sreekar Prasad, says, “Sreekar has won 11 National Awards. So to blame his editing is the lamest excuse one can throw up. When Mr Bachchan spoke about Raavan being sadly edited, he probably felt that the length went awry and some scenes got left out as a result of which Abhishek’s performance as the 10-headed Beera came out looking half-baked.’’
Whatever the implications, the debate continues. Unfortunately, Bollywood feels that Mani’s labour of love doesn’t merit the debate either. It is reportedly a dead duck.
Bharti Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; June 21, 2010)
Mumbai: Days before Hrithik Roshan’s much-hyped film Kites hit screens, it was declared a flop on social networking sites. “Sabse mehngi patang kat gayi’’ and “zindagi do pal ki, kati patang ke peechhe kyon bhaage?’’ were some of the posts that sealed its fate. The film bombed, and Hrithik later tweeted about “sabotage’’ and hinted that some people were deliberately running down his film.
With Twitter’s popularity increasing, the industry made full use of it during the release of Mani Rathnam’s Raavan. Twenty-four hours before the first show, there were nasty tweets: ‘Now for the next five years, Mani saar will not direct a film’, and ‘Why is Sita made to be this wimp who goes to Raavan as soon as Ram dumps her?’
A few years ago, Akshay Kumar had blamed his rivals for nixing his career via SMS after his two films, 8×10 Tasveer and Chandni Chowk To China, flopped. Amitabh Bachchan, too, had alleged that his world tour was being deliberately disrupted. “I am shocked and covered in disbelief at being privy personally to a design by certain sections of the media and the fraternity to bring down this show,’’ he wrote on his blog. Ajay Devgn, too, felt the same about some of his films.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra, known for sending out SMSes on the eve of every film release, says he is often accused of sabotaging a film. “My sms reviews upset producers, but an SMS cannot make a film a hit or flop,’’ he says. “I didn’t like Raajneeti at all, but the film became such a big hit.’’
Producers also blame peers for their films’ poor performance, but not producer-director Karan Johar. “Nobody can bring down a good film,’’ he says. “It is the insecurities and complexes of certain people in the film industry that make them do such things, but no one can harm a good film.’’
E-PHOBIA GRIPS MOVIE INDUSTRY ‘Audience in 14-35 age group key to film’s success’ Mumbai: Film-maker Sajid Nadiadwala was one of the first to develop Twitter phobia before the release of his last film, Housefull. “Had I shown the film to people before release, I am sure business would have been affected by 15% as there are some people always working against you,’’ he says. “The verdict on a film is out within seconds. People get influenced and it is quite damaging. I plan to get people to sign a non-disclosure agreement if I show them my film before release.’’
“What used to happen in two days is happening in two shows,’’ says an industry insider. “You can actually see the impact of the audience after each show gets over. The age group of 14 to 35, which is key to a film, is very much present on social networking sites, and their status messages are very often about films they have just watched.’’
Salman Khan had once said on television that people in the film industry celebrated when their colleagues’ films flopped. Film writer Dilip Thakur says this has been a reality for decades. “Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker was declared a flop even before its release as Dev Anand starrer Johnny Mera Naam was also being released,” he says.
Thakur says there were times when black-marketeers were asked by people from the industry to sell tickets of the film at a lower price and badmouth it. In the 1980s and ‘90s, when single-screen theatres were the norm, people were sent to the theatre to ‘hoot’. Jaiprakash Chokse, a Raj Kapoor confidant, agrees that Gulshan Rai tried to create trouble for Mera Naam Joker by buying tickets and selling them at a lower price.
Industry insiders insist the crowd was often sent by people from the opposite camp. Thakur said, “I remember witnessing something like that on the first day of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Kareeb. This practice has gone down since multiplexes came in.’’
Manoj Desai, managing director of G 7 multiplex, reaffirms this. He said, “A lot of producers used to buy tickets of each other’s films and sell them at a lower price so that the other film flopped at the box office. Producers also send their people to hoot, which affected audiences. Now, hooting does not happen as there are so many cinema halls all over the city—how many people can the producer possibly send to sabotage the other one’s film?’’
Producer Raaj Grover cites the example of Yash Chopra’s Daag and Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay. In the first week of the films’ release, they were declared flops. The Sippys were blamed for the rumours about Daag, and BR Films for Sholay. At that time, trade papers played a big role in declaring films hits or flops. But ultimately, it was the audience that decided a film’s fate.
One of Bollywood’s biggest hits, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, was derisively termed ‘Chhayya Geet’ before its release. A source said, “The industry was calling it a flop and a shaadi ka video, (yet) it became a historic success. The producers only released one print each in the 36 cities so if bad reports (leaked), the film had no chance at the box office.’’
Mughal-e-Azam took 11 years to make but, again, was a historic success. Then there were films that were declared flops before release because the actor’s previous outings were box office disasters. After Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, both Amitabh Bachchan starrer Jadugar and Toofan failed. And despite good songs, Rajesh Khanna’s Prem Kahani fell prey to sabotage.
Bollywood’s nightmare factory has just seen its worst quarter, say trade experts
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; April 3, 2010)
Approximately 70 films released in the first three months of 2010. “And everyone of them has failed in some way or the other,” says trade expert Komal Nahta. Yes, there were superlatives in place for Ishqiya, My Name is Khan, Well Done Abba and Love Sex Aur Dhokha.
However, even these films are just ‘safe’ to commission earners in some centres.
For example, MNIK is the biggest hit in UK. It has also grossed huge numbers in territories like the Middle East and Far East. Overseas, this film could turn out to be Shah Rukh Khan’s biggest hit ever.
However, because the price of acquisition is reportedly prohibitive, it will take time for the film to get into the ‘hit’ bracket. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh is hopeful that by the time the film finishes with its deferred release pattern up till June, it will sail home. “Also the film will fetch a fantastic price on satellite,” says Taran.
Trade consultant Amod Mehra on the other hand says, “No film in the first quarter is a certified hit.” Amod feels breaking even on cost — like Ishqiya and LSD will do — doesn’t qualify them to be called hits. “Unfortunately, Bollywood has been in denial for the longest time,” says Amod. He feels films don’t last in theatres for days, leave alone weeks. “Yet on the Saturday, after the release date, city walls are plastered with hit posters. Obviously people are more interested in pulling wool over the eyes of the junta, rather than making quality content. But like it is said, you can’t fool everyone all the time.”
So what has gone wrong here? Why has Bollywood’s dream factory failed so miserably? “Only films and film people are to be blamed for this terrible state of affairs,” says Komal. “They have become too complacent with the content… and they have failed to curtail costs.”
Taran, on the other hand says, “According to me, five things have gone wrong. Bad content; IPL; high ticket cost; few films have stars with major draws and, Bollywood has its pricing all wrong.” He adds, “Ninety-eight per cent of the films have failed in the first quarter and producers must treat this as a wake up call. If they don’t, Bollywood will be in a black hole.”
A theatre manager from South Mumbai confirms that in the last three months, they haven’t seen housefull boards for a single film. “In fact, there are days when our theatres resemble ghost towns,” says the manager. “We register such few footfalls that it has become impossible for us to make ends meet.”
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; March 20, 2010)
The over-imaginative PR machinery of actresses uses one weapon at regular intervals. Every time they feel that they need to get their heroine’s stock up, they brainwash journalists into believing that X actress has been paid an X amount. So you’re sipping your cuppa one morning and you almost fall off your couch, when you read that Priyanka Chopra got paid Rs 6 crore for Pyaar Impossible, or Kangna Ranaut will be paid Rs 5 crore for a film with a minister’s son, and Kareena Kapoor got paid Rs 10 crore for Golmaal 3 (later brought down to Rs 7 crore), while Katrina Kaif is offered Rs 7 crore by Abbas-Mustan for The Italian Job. When this round of blitzkrieg is done, you’ll have a final rumour on how Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who is actually still in demand, is being offered a sum that totals the price of the current lot of divas.
“Circulating rumours on prices is the easiest thing,” says trade consultant Amod Mehra. “The truth is often very far away from the actuality. And, the market right now is certainly not ready to pay the heroines the prices they or their kith often claim.” Mehra explains that the reason for this is simple logic. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that Bollywood heroines still don’t sell a film. Therefore, any producer who pays a heroine a price, has to pay a price for it! “Take the most recent example of the woman-eccentric film Toh Baat Pakki with Tabu. The two time National Award winner reportedly got paid Rs 1 crore for the film. However, the film didn’t even garner an initial collection. So you may rest your case right there,” says a producer.
Leading trade guru and television anchor Taran Adarsh says, “Around 40-45 per cent of a film’s total budget is the remuneration of the starcast. Of that 45 per cent, the leading man takes away 25 per cent. What remains is 20 per cent in which you have to pay your heroine, the second lead actor and the rest of the character artistes. When girls tell you that they are getting ridiculous sums, they are often doing it just as an eye-wash exercise. Spreading rumours on prices helps the public perception of the leading ladies. It also helps them get better prices in the advertising market.”
Taran is right. An insider confirms that with the exception of one leading lady, no heroine’s actual remuneration has actually crossed the Rs 5-crore mark. Taran adds, “After recession, there is a huge correction in the leading actors’ market prices. The only actors who actually command big money are Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor.”
Of course, there are exceptions. In recent times, a Bollywood legend is said to have gotten Rs 11 crore for a film that flopped and another leading man got Rs 8 crore for a comic flick that is also a failure. However, in the case of these stars, the money they got is an exception rather than the rule.
Likewise, as far as the girls go — Kangna doing a movie with a minister’s son may qualify her for a high price for that particular project. Yet it can hardly be termed her market price. Also, desperation to associate with Kareena has forced a film corporation to give her big money. But it is not Rs 7 crore as it is being suggested. And every heroine’s publicity machinery that spreads stories of their girls getting exorbitant prices, definitely shows a very fertile imagination, says a leading man. What is more, no one can call their bluff. Only the producer and the artiste know the actual truth. And neither of them are interested in letting the truth shine.
Meena Iyer | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; March 17, 2010)
Mumbai: Bollywood pashas are on the move again. After a lull of almost a year, when the economic slowdown robbed showbiz of its glitter, there has been some serious trading happening in Bollywood in the last three weeks.
Trade reports say that Eros International has closed the deal on an Imtiaz Ali-Ranbir Kapoor project at Rs 55 crore; UTV Motion Pictures will get the worldwide rights of the Farah Khan-Akshay Kumar flick Tees Maar Khan at Rs 55 crore reportedly; and Reliance Big Entertainment is said to have acquired the Farhan Akhtar-Shah Rukh Khan project Don 2 at an alleged Rs 105 crore.
A trade source confirms that Big is also keen on adding the Shah Rukh Khan-Anubhav Sinha project RA 1 to their roster and the prices being circulated for the acquisition are reportedly even above the price of Don 2. Besides these, leading film corporations are bidding for the rights of one more project with a star son.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “The reason big projects are being sought after by the film corporations is that a couple of the corporations are going in for their IPOs. They need to acquire big projects to open well.’’
A trade insider says Eros (one of the film corporations that is reportedly coming up with their IPO) is part-producing Rockstar with Ashtavinayak Cine Vision.
Independent producer N R Pachisia says, “It isn’t as if the market has opened up. B- and C-grade projects still don’t have anyone interested in them. As far as the AAA projects go—like the films of Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan—the potential for them is limitless.’’
According to Pachisia, My Name Is Khan has added to the coffers. Aamir’s 3 Idiots is instrumental in getting the actor’s stock to rise to an all time high. SRK’s announcements—Don 2 (September 2010) and RA 1 (March 2010)—are being keenly contested for. Other actors whose projects are being studied are Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan. “Reliance Big Entertainment, who have come into the market scouting for big projects, are likely to get both films. Don 2 is already committed to them,’’ say sources. “There is no official announcement on RA 1,’’ says an insider.
HARSHADA REGE Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; February 21, 2010)
When Shwaas tried to revive the flagging Marathi film industry in 2004, sceptics thought it had little chance to survive against the storm called Bollywood. However, six years later in 2010, the film industry is trying to gain a firm foothold. The secret behind this success is not just great movies, but also smart budgeting and savvy promotional activities. Whether it was last year’s bumper hit Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosle Boltoy or this year’s Natarang, the movies have been making enough money to brand themselves as profitable ventures. The multiplex boom has been a boon of sorts for the makers. Says Atul Kulkarni, who was the lead actor in Natarang, “Multiplexes have proved to be a boon for the Marathi film industry. People are going back to the theatres. Also, filmmakers are making the kind of cinema that will appeal to the audience.” However, it’s still not an easy task to get the ball rolling. Paresh Mokashi, who directed and produced the much-talked about Harishchandrachi Factory, says, “It’s definitely a challenge to put together a movie, but that’s the case with any first time filmmaker.” Besides individual producers, even corporate houses are now interested in putting their weight behind movies that seem promising like UTV did when they decided to distribute Harishchandrachi Factory. Trade analyst Amod Mehra points, “At one point the state of Marathi movies was so bad that the government had to offer incentives to makers to make movies. But today the tide is definitely changing. With large production houses showing interest in producing and distributing Marathi films, things are going to get interesting.”
But it’s not just a matter of money and smart marketing strategies, the movies have generated interest because filmmakers have opted to take risks. Atul, who took six months off only to concentrate on Natarang, knew it was a huge gamble to turn away some plum roles in Hindi films. “Natarang was meant for film festivals,” he reveals. Despite not having huge publicity budgets at their disposal the good old-fashioned word-ofmouth publicity has helped these movies get more audience in the cinema halls. And it’s not just entertainment that’s on the mind of these makers. Social issues like students’ suicide too have been addressed in movies like Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho. But despite the encouraging response, filmmakers and actors are treading on the filmi front with caution. Atul says, “It’s too early to call this the golden period of Marathi cinema. There’s lot of work to be done.” Paresh adds, “I agree that it’s too soon to call it the golden period of Marathi cinema. It’s more like work in progress. But the future is definitely bright.”
Jittery Theatres Don’t Offer Advance Bookings For Shah Rukh’s ‘My Name Is Khan’ Despite Govt’s Promise Of Security
Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; February 11, 2010)
Mumbai: On the eve of the release of one of his biggest films, actor Shah Rukh Khan was reportedly living in hope in Abu Dhabi that the controversy surrounding the Friday release in Mumbai would be resolved shortly. Khan was in Abu Dhabi for Wednesday night’s premiere of the film there.
“I hope better sense prevails in Mumbai. We have worked really hard on the movie and we just want people to watch the movie,” Shah Rukh said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. ‘My Name is Khan’ has a budget of about Rs 50 crore and was bought by Foxstar Studio for distribution for Rs 90 crore. Generally, about 35% of the all-India business comes from the Mumbai territory. But trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “‘My Name is Khan’ is more of a multiplex film and being a Shah Rukh Khan film nearly 45 to 50% of the all-India revenue could come from the Mumbai territory. It is estimated that the business the film could do in the Mumbai territory could be at least Rs 10 crore to Rs 12 crore in the first week of release. Besides, it is Shah Rukh Khan who has always given the maximum business and no exhibitor wants to miss the chance this time too.’’
The revenue sharing between the exhibitors and distributors for the film is 50:50. With the industry incurring losses of nearly Rs 150 crore in January, exhibitors have been looking forward to the release of ‘My Name is Khan’. A multiplex source said, “Unfortunately, because of the trouble, we have not been able to open the advance booking of the film in Mumbai, but the film’s advance booking in other place is extremely good.’’
Some multiplexes which opened advance bookings on Tuesday had to stop after the Sena went on a rampage against cinemas in the western suburbs. The multiplexes had a conference call with Khan and the distributors of the film.
The police have promised extra security, including guards near screens, but exhibitors are reeling under the fear spread by the Sena. An exhibitor of a national multiplex chain said, “If the problem does not end by 12 noon on Thursday, it will be difficult to screen the film in Mumbai on Friday morning. One hopes the issue is resolved soon.’’
Interestingly, the losses may not be complete for the distributors. Sources insist that they must have insured the film against rioting and political strikes. However, if the film does not release on Friday, cinema halls will face losses that cannot be regained. A source said, “The first weekend of business is very crucial for cinema halls as the business of entertainment is mainly in the first two weeks.’’
About 70 cinema halls are scheduled to screen the film in Mumbai and each would earn a minimum of Rs 2 lakh per day. A distributor would get about Rs 60 lakh a day and the government about Rs 30 lakh a day.
Director of an insurance firm, Aaatur Thakkar, said, “The expected loss in ticketing revenue can be covered for distributors. Movies like ‘3 Idiots’ are covered by us similarly and the Telengana issue triggered claims from big movies. Now, more cinema halls are getting cover.’’
In Navi Mumbai, while there is heavy deployment of police, cinema managements have decided to stay clear of political controversy and are not opening advance bookings. “We have assured all cinema theatres of their safety. From our side, there will not be any law and order problem in Navi Mumbai,’’ said DCP Dattatray Shinde.
The film is releasing in Pakistan. Nine prints sent there will show in places like Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.
—With inputs from Vijay Singh and agencies
The Aamir Khan starrer has smashed several box office records so far, leading exhibitors to smile and say, “All izz well”
3 Idiots has grossed about Rs 240 crore in just 10 days of worldwide theatrical business and may touch the staggering Rs 300 crore figure, according to most trade pundits, by the time it finishes its run.
It has overtaken Aamir’s own film Ghajini’s collections, which held the previous record of the biggest business done by films in the post-multiplex era.
The film, apart from breaking Indian domestic market records, in this time has also emerged as the highest Bollywood earner even in the overseas markets. The film has done well in multiplexes as well as single screens despite its seemingly English title, which is considered a detterent in single-screen markets.
The film has given exhibitors a huge relief. Managing director of G7 Cinemas Manoj Desai said, “2009 had been very bad for exhibitors but Paa and 3 Idiots came and saved us. In fact 3 Idiots has created history at the box office and I can easily call it the new Sholay of Bollywood.”
“In many ways this is a mysterious success. Everyone knew that this film might do well but this is enormous and cuts across various segments. It has come during one of the darkest periods of Indian box-office history,” a trade insider said.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra agreed: “It took 34 years for a film to reach Sholay’s level. This film is set a new benchmark for the film industry. The film will earn a revenue of nothing less than Rs 150 crore net in India and the business in the Bombay circuit will be about Rs 30 crore. The maximum a film has done in the past in this circuit has been Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (Rs 20 crore).”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh too believes that 3 Idiots has shattered all box-office records. “The arithmetic of the box office has gone for a toss. No one expected it to be such a hit and the way it is performing in its second week is incredible,” he said.
PVR Pictures marketing head Ranjan Singh said: “This is the third time that an Aamir Khan film has worked like magic in the last week of the year. The film has created history all over the country and cut across all segments of the audiences.”