Posts tagged dvd
By Joginder Tuteja, October 9, 2010 – 11:30 IST
Excited? In fact I was really-really excited when I got a thought of doing a feature on the 40 years journey of Amitabh Bachchan as he turns 68 on 11th October. ‘Wow’, I said to myself, ‘For anyone, it is a lifetime opportunity to be doing something truly substantial on the professional life of an actor who doesn’t have any parallel in the industry for last 40 years’.
And just as it would happened to those dozens of actors who would have jumped with joy when given an opportunity to share centre stage with Amitabh Bachchan, I too found myself pretty much frozen. Pen down the film journey? That too of someone like Amitabh Bachchan? THE Amitabh Bachchan?
Nervous? Puzzled? Confused? Worried? – No, I thought for long but I wasn’t feeling any one of these emotions. Also, it wasn’t even the sum of all of these. And now I know why actors just go ahead and make a sweet and simple statement when asked to comment on their working with Amitabh Bachchan – ‘Oh, I was so excited yet nervous about working with Mr. Bachchan. But then he assured me enough so that I could deliver my best.’
Wish he was there with me as well to assure me when I started penning down this feature. After all the fact remains that books have been written on the life and the times of Amitabh Bachchan. He has been a subject for many a thesis writer. And now it was my turn to do something substantial for audience to know about how the living legend has grown with every passing decade and reaffirmed his place in the industry.
Of course there are dozens of anecdotes to be shared. But then hasn’t everything, just about everything about him, already been well documented, preserved and savoured? If we have been reading the dozen odd major books that have been written on him, we know about majority of these anecdotes. ‘So what’s new’, I said to myself. When you have a subject like Amitabh Bachchan, one is bound to end up wearing a fan’s hat as well and end up going on a few tangents as well.
This is where Google came in handy. I thought, let me browse through the wide world of web and figure out something that I was myself perhaps unaware of. And this is how I came across a startling fact. A fact that in addition to dozen odd guest/special appearances that he has done for known films like Kunwara Baap, Choti Si Baat, Guddi, Chala Murari Hero Banane, Golmaal, Chashme Baddoor, Professar Ki Padosan, Soorma Bhopali, Agni Vasrha, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and many more, there are quite a few more that have went totally unnoticed.
In fact some of the guest appearances belong to the kind that even went un-credited. Unfortunately, DVDs of most of the films are not available on stands that could have aided in cross checking the validity of the information I gathered. Perhaps the man himself would be able to shed light on whether the snippets below belonging to ‘Did you know’ category really existed and then lost in the pages of history? Is this all true or perhaps just folk fare?
Let’s browse through them and await more inputs from film historians or the man on the Big Seat – Big B!
- Before Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, it was Amitabh Bachchan who had acted in Garam Masala. No, not under the baton of Priyadarshan but a director called Aspi Irani. The film was released in 1972 and Amitabh Bachchan had played the role of Robert Taylor in it. To think about it, this was a film where he was un-credited.
- He had also done a guest appearance in a film called Jaban (1972) which was a zero star cast affair. This time around there was some relief for Bachchan though since he also had Dharmendra and Shatrughan Sinha for company, all of whom were billed as special appearance.
- To add to the trivia, there was also a film titled Bada Kabootar (1973) which was directed by Deven Verma and had featured the actor in a guest appearance.
- Many years down the line, he made a special appearance as a ‘Qawalli’ singer in Charandas (1977).
- It wasn’t as if he went un-credited or made minor appearances only during his initial struggle period in Bollywood. Even when he had managed superstar status for himself, he was ever so willing to help out friends in need. This is why he was willing to go un-credited for his role of a Punjabi truck driver in Amjad Khan starrer Commander (1981).
- In the same year (1981), he also made a special appearance for Mehar Mittal starrer Walayati Babu.
- A few years down the line, he also played a minor role in Sujit Kumar’s Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaar (1984), a film which is hardly remembered by any today.
- Last but certainly not the least, there was a film called Bombay Talkie (1970) where he played the role of a mourner in a funeral? Well, if this is not a bad news by itself, here is some more. His scene from the film was deleted and hence he remained un-credited. Shocked? Well, I too was!
Sonam Kapoor is unhappy with her mentor and guide Sanjay Leela Bhansali who launched her in Saawariya.
Says the actress, “He hasn’t watched one of my films since Saawariya. Not Delhi 6, not I Hate Luv Storys, not even Aisha, my home production, which I’m especially proud of. I invited him for a private screening but you know how he is. He’s so consumed by his new film Guzaarish he can’t think of anything else.”
Now Sonam has resorted to taking all the DVDs of her films to his home.
“His opinion of me as an actress is important to me. Unless he says I’ve evolved I won’t fully believe it. But first, let him be done with Guzaarish,” she says as she tries to get her groove back after a nasty bout of typhoid which confined her to her bed for a good three weeks.
Also, a bout of box-office success might also just do the trick.
A four-star review from ‘The Observer’ for Anjaana Anjaani revealed some bizarre factual errors. The paper lavishly praising the film is not the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper. Read on…
It’s such a clever trick. A chimera that would otherwise evade the average reader. But we’re not average. An advertisement for Sajid Nadiadwala’s Anjaana Anjaani proudly boasts of the many reviews that salute its creativity.
One such review in the ad (see picture) by a Devansh Patel, reportedly from ‘The Observer, London’, gives the film four stars with a congratulatory blurb that reads: “Anjaana Anjaani is a matchless exploration of love, luck and telepathy.” Our psychic energy somehow sensed a mismatch. We did call London.
And we did take a note of the truth that the paper in question was not the Observer after all. The Observer is the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper. The Harrow Observer, in turn, is a local gazette from one of the boroughs of North-West London.
The moniker of this tabloid has thus been cutely abbreviated to give the illusion of international acclaim. So there you have it.
And if you thought that this was merely an underhand trick of the desperate, then you are wrong. For example, the DVDs of some smash Bollywood hits also have fond opinions from ‘The Observer’ by Devansh Patel.
When contacted, Patel told Mumbai Mirror (yes, we do write Mirror sometimes), “I wrote this review which you refer to for the Harrow Observer, which is from the Trinity Mirror Group.
There are two ways of looking at this: Either I write ‘Devansh Patel from Harrow Observer’. Or then, I write ‘Devansh Patel, Observer (Trinity Mirror Southern)’.
We then asked him if he was aware of how many more producers might be fooling the public (Patel and ‘The Observer’ often appear on DVD covers praising the picture ensconced within).
To this Patel replied, “You know what the problem is? Many people have called me and asked if I write for The Observer owned by The Guardian group and I usually clarify. But I have no contact with any producers.”
Closer home, producer Sajid Nadiadwala was rather nonchalant (though to be fair, many others in the film industry have played a similar game of convenient misnomers in the past). “This ad has not gone through me. It must have gone through either Eros or some distributor,” he claimed.
The head honcho of Eros International, Sunil Lulla, did not respond to our calls. “Sounds like a heady political thriller!” says the Mumbai Mirror. Five stars.
Peepli (Live) director Anusha Rizvi is unlikely to participate in the excitement regarding the film’s Oscar nomination. She explains why
In a day and age when a person even remotely associated with a hit film shouts from the rooftops about it, Anusha Rizvi seems remarkably unaffected and detached. The journalist-turned-director might have given a huge hit with her debut film, but would rather tour with her theatre group than be part of a marketing jamboree.
How did you get to know about the Oscar nomination for Peepli (Live)?
From the media! I heard it on NDTV. It was of course very exciting. Maybe we should’ve been informed by the government agency that decides which film goes to the Oscars.
Didn’t your producer Aamir Khan inform you?
He didn’t know! He is in London for the release of our film.
Why aren’t you in London for the release of Peepli (Live)?
Because I have not been asked to be in London. It is my film. But I live in Delhi. And I have no connection with the decisions that are taken in Mumbai.
Why have you cut yourself away from your film?
That’s partly because of the person that I am. I can’t change that. And I’m happy being that way. My work finished when I made the film that I had to make.
Of course publicity and marketing are important. And a lot more people went to see Peepli (Live) because of the way it was promoted. But what is more important to me is that a film should be seen for what it is. I think it is important for the audience to discover a film on their own.
A film should not be pushed down people’s throats. It’s important for it to create its own credibility.
Changes were made in the Peepli narrative for the London market. Are you aware of this?
Yes. Only two scenes were tampered with: one featuring a reference to Saif Ali Khan and the other to TRPs.
These were scenes that were never part of the original screenplay. Like many other scenes they were added later to increase the running time of the film for the Indian market.
Initially the interval was coming after 40 minutes of playing time.
I don’t think Peepli (Live) needed an interval. I don’t think so either. But it’s an intrinsic part of marketing our film. And I’ve no quibble with it. However I wish the film had not been pushed as a comedy, although I know that so many people would not have seen it otherwise. Let’s be honest. Peepli (Live) was not easy to market.
The film has made huge profits.
Would you be expecting a larger budget for your next film?
The content of the film and not the success or failure of the earlier film should decide the budget.
The DVD of Peepli (Live) is out soon. Are you participating in its editing?
I’ve got nothing to do with the DVD. I’m back in Delhi. I’m simply cut off from Mumbai and the film now. My husband Mahmood Farooqui and I are back to travelling with our small theatre group.
Hasn’t Peepli (Live) changed your life in any way?
Yes, to some extent. It’s become difficult to travel by train. I really miss that.
Your husband co-directed Peepli (Live). Not too many people know that.
It’s in the credits of the film. And of course he’s the co-director. He has also done all the casting. In the credits after my names comes a long list of producers. Then his name. That’s why his name is missed.
Why is his name not in the credits jointly with yours?
These are things that we had no knowledge or control over. Our main concern was to make the film we had.
What has the experience of directing Peepli (Live) taught you?
It has taught me to deal with a large number of people. It has been a huge learning curve for me. I know how to cope better with the production part of a film the next time.
You’re the first debutant director from India after Satyajit Ray to be going to the Oscars.
Yes the comparisons between my film and Pather Panchali keep surfacing. But there can be no comparison between the two. And I’m not being modest.
Are you and your husband going to Los Angeles for the Oscars?
It’s really exciting to see the film go to the Oscars. But it’s far more exciting to know that people in Patna, Gorakhpur and Barabankhi are watching and discussing it. Like I said Peepli (Live) was a film that we had to make. That it’s touched people is a very happy situation for us.
Final question. Would Aamir Khan be producing your next film?
No, he won’t.
Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and Salman Khan are all fighting for the rights of the Telugu film, Don Seenu, directed by Gopichand Malineni, which is apparently a huge success in the south Indian film industry
The success of Wanted and Ghajini has started a brand new trend. Both were remakes of South Indian films and many Bollywood actors have now taken a liking for similar upcoming projects.
Unexpectedly however, three of our biggest Bollywood A-listers, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan, are now fighting for the rights of the Telugu film Don Seenu.
The film, directed by the Gopichand Malineni, stars Ravi Teja, Anjana Sukhani and Mahesh Manjrekar, and is apparently the biggest hit of the year in the South film industry. The Tamil remake of the film is already being considered.
Don Seenu is a comical story of a young man who is hugely inspired by Amitabh Bachchan’s film Don and dreams of becoming world’s number one don. The plot revolves around his attempts to realise this dream.
The 27-year-old debutant director from Hyderabad is obviously elated and says, “Yes, Bollywood has shown a lot of interest in my film. AR Murugadoss (director of Ghajini), who happened to watch my film, is responsible for it. He has been discussing it in Bollywood. My producer told me that Sohail Khan called and asked for the DVD copy of the film because Salman wanted to watch it. I am told that even Akshay Kumar has shown interest in the film. The dialogue writer of my film, Kona Venkat, is in Mumbai for the past one week. He told me that even Saif Ali khan is keen on buying the rights of the film.”
The debutant director will not be making the Bollywood remake. We wonder if Murugadoss will take on the job.
When asked who among the three Bollywood stars fits the role of the protagonist the best, Malineni says, “Both Salman and Akshay are great entertainers. I think both can play the role very well.” Sorry Saif.
As a footnote, the director is quick to add, “The hero of my film, Ravi Teja, is known as the South Indian Akshay Kumar.” Sorry Sallu.
By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, August 28, 2010 – 12:26 IST
Very often we get to know or hear about a deleted scene in a film only after the film’s original DVD releases. However, the makers of the forthcoming film We Are Family starring Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal have already announced about a 9 minute scene being deleted as it had racial undertones. Bollywood Hungama got in touch with director Siddharth Malhotra who was gracious enough to share what you are not likely to see in We Are Family. So over to you Sid…
“Yes…it’s true that we have completely chopped off a 9 minute scene from We Are Family because of the racism angle in it. The scene revolves around Kajol’s boy being abused by some kids at school who call him ‘Shit Brown’. The kid decides to bunk school after this incident. When Kajol asks him to just ignore it, he shares his experience with Kareena who tells him not to give in to the bullies and asks him to be brave and give it back to the kids. So you have a scene showing the small boy spraying paint all over the Aussie kids who called him ‘Shit Brown’ and beating them full on Rajinikanth style. It’s actually quite a fun scene which the kids in the audience would have loved. This particular shot is when a shocked Kajol arrives at the school and sees Kareena cheering the small boy as he gives it back to the kids who’d earlier abused him.”
“This is the scene in the Principal’s office after the boy is reprimanded for beating his classmates. When Arjun comes to know of the real reason behind his son’s act, he actually stands up for him against the Principal.”
“This is the confrontation scene between Kareena and Kajol after the small boy has been reprimanded by the Principal for beating his classmates. Both Kajol and Kareena’s approach to the way the whole incident should have been treated is what results in the confrontation.”
On being asked why they decided to delete the entire sequence, Siddharth said, “See…the scene was written nearly one and a half years ago when racism wasn’t so common in Australia where our film is set. We didn’t want people to get the impression that we have included such a scene just to cash in on the racism controversy currently prevalent in Australia. Moreover, our film is not based on racism in any way, the primary intent of the whole scene was just to show two different approaches to upbringing and also establish a kind of a special bond between the small boy and Kareena’s character. However, when we saw the final edit, we realized that there was already a scene showing Kareena bonding with the boy and hence felt that there was no real need to show them bonding yet again through this particular scene.”
However, there is good news for all those who wish they could get to see this scene. Siddharth confirmed that the scene would surely make it in the Deleted Scenes section of the original DVD of We Are Family.
Presenting the trend of film ‘tracking’, the tool that analyses which film the audience is more inclined to watch
Ever wondered why Salman Khan’s Wanted was a blockbuster while Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, released a few weeks later, starring the same actor was a dud? Or why Yashraj’s New York clicked but a similar-themed Kurbaan flopped despite heavy promotion?
While it’s still impossible to foretell the fate of a film or its opening weekend numbers (the biggest aspect that makes or breaks a movie these days), one tool helps a filmmaker gauge if he’s on the right path to box-office success – organised tracking.
What is Tracking
A common feature in Hollywood, tracking has now come to Bollywood too. This is basically a statistical and scientific technique which tracks the buzz about a film and predicts if it will translate into footfall.
Twelve-16 weeks before a film is released, the PR machinery gets into action. Tracking analyses whether this buzz – promos, songs, posters, media coverage etc – is actually clicking with the audience. Is the movie-goer impressed enough with the campaign to spend his money on a ticket?
And in a day and age when the marketing budget of a film ranges from Rs 4 crore to Rs 12 crore, such insight can change the fortune of a film. Also, this technique tests the creative materials – trailers and film posters – before it goes for public consumption. “The data thus provides a ready reckoner on whether the makers have been able to communicate effectively to the masses,” says Dr C R Sridhar, IIT-alumnus and a director of 4Sight, a recently set-up film tracking company.
Tracking is different from focus group discussions, a popular tool with the likes of Aamir Khan and Karan Johar who use it extensively to know audience reaction before a film releases so that necessary changes can be incorporated. “Focus group is qualitative but tracking gives you the metrics,” says Sridhar, a pioneer in film tracking in India.
The advantage to a filmmaker is obvious. Based on the input, he can change his pitch to the audience which might impact a film’s initial.
How it works
The method is very scientific and quantitative. A database of one lakh movie goers across 22 towns has been created. A sample group is chosen and sent a questionnaire based on five parameters.
• Awareness about the film
• Source of awareness (TV, Newspapers, Radio, Net…)
• Desire to see the film
• The urgency – will it be watched first day first show or would the viewer rather wait for the DVD?
• What are the drivers – songs, action, dialogue, stars etc.
The data is then fed into Film Track Analytical Engine (FTAE), an indigenously developed engine by Sridhar and the report is out.
The results point out to the perception of the film in the public’s mind.
4Sight shares with Mirror their analysis of the campaigns and mood about five forthcoming films that will hit the screens in the next few weeks.
Reading the figures
The film track data for the week August 13-20 shows that Dabangg is tracking quite well with a 17% unaided recall – the highest among all five movies. That is, it is uppermost on a movie-goer’s mind. Sallu seems to be on a winning track.
Following closely is Anjaana Anjaani with a 10 % spontaneous recall. Not bad considering the film is still a few weeks away from release (generally, the closer the release date, the more is the recall).
We Are Family, surprisingly, is average considering its stellar cast and banner, but might pick up next week. But Aashayein, the next immediate release, with less than 10 % spontaneous recall is low. Himesh Reshammiya needs to pull up his socks as Kajraare has spontaneous recall of only 2.8%.
Mere awareness isn’t enough, it needs to convert to viewing also. Here again Dabangg scores high at about 90 %.
Bottomline: Among all films it’s the promos of Dabangg and Anjaana Anjaani and to some extent We Are Family that have aroused curiosity.
• Data for August 13-20 • Base score – 100
Akshay Kumar, who plays R K Laxman’s common man in his next film, visits the ailing cartoonist in hospital
Mark Manuel | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 12, 2010)
R K Laxman didn’t know who Sachin Tichkule is. Nor did the eminent cartoonist of The Times of India recognise Akshay Kumar when the actor visited him at Breach Candy Hospital yesterday morning. Sadly, the three mini strokes he suffered in Pune last month have deprived Laxman of speech and much movement. It was left to wife Kamala to make the introductions. She leaned over her husband, propped up in bed, and said, “He is a very, very, very well known film star who is acting as your common man. And more than anything else, a thorough gentleman.” To Akshay she asked, “You don’t mind me putting it that way?”
Akshay blushed but gallantly replied, “You can put it any way… but yes, I am playing a character called Sachin Tichkule based on his common man in my film Khatta Meetha.” Kamala looked at him in disbelief. “You,” she said incredulously, “it is unbelievable and different from all that you convey.” Laxman watched this interaction, his eyes curious and alert and never leaving Akshay, a scowl on the face. He’s never been much of a Bollywood man and was always selective about the cinema he patronised. “He can only follow colloquial Hindi,” explained Kamala, “that’s the language his common man spoke in the teleserial Wagle Ki Duniya.”
Meanwhile, the seventh floor room at the hospital was filling up with visitors come to see neighbouring patients. There was already Laxman’s daughter-in-law Usha and granddaughter Rimanika (“His life and energy,” said Kamala), plus Mahin, Selvaraj and Sivakami, the attendants looking after the ailing cartoonist and his family. And Dr. Hemant Thacker of Breach Candy Hospital who popped in to check on his celebrated patient. Akshay sat holding Laxman’s hand, talking to him with his eyes, oblivious to all that was happening around them. He told Kamala, “I want Laxman to see my film. It will release in two weeks. May I send you a DVD to watch it here?” And she confidently replied, “In two weeks we will be back home in Pune.”
Common man in an uncommon situation
…That’s the predicament Akshay Kumar finds himself in as Sachin Tichkule for Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha, presented by Hari Om Entertainment Company in association with Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd., produced by Cape of Good Films Private Limited, and releasing on July 23. Bollywood’s action king plays the character of the common man inspired by R K Laxman in this political satire. “He’s a struggling road contractor with big dreams who lacks the resources to realise them,” explained the actor. “The film’s a cerebral comedy about corruption in the system, especially in the construction of roads, everybody can see what condition our roads are in… during the rains, the potholes are unbelievable. I met a road contractor and asked him why did potholes only appear during the monsoon. And he told me it’s because there’s acid in the rain! So there’s a message in the film, it also has a serious note, though it will have you laughing at the same time…”
Shilpa Shetty will finally be making a comeback to the silver screen after two years; will be seen as a mentally challenged woman in Partho Ghosh’s next
Shilpa Shetty, after threatening to come into her own post an almost lottery-like reincarnation, thanks to becoming the victim of a racial slur on Big Brother (UK), in which she appeared as a contestant, will finally be seen on the silver screen closer home. After her last release Apne in 2007, the actress’s long held-over movie Signature (initially titled Kaanch — The Broken Glass), directed by Partho Ghosh, will be soon hitting the theatres.
This also, incidentally, will be the actress’s first release after her marriage to Britain businessman Raj Kundra. Neeraj Pathak’s The Man, starring Shilpa Shetty and Sunny Deol, has also been pending for over two years due to various reasons.
The actress has been hectically trying to relaunch a new innings in tinsel town: hosting reality shows, launching her DVD, perfume, becoming brand ambassador of an IPL team, the enterprises starring Shilpa keep mushrooming into its own cottage industry — for instance, there is also talk of her launching a chain of restaurants in the UK. Film-wise though, it has been a dry spell.
Signature, which was completed over a year and a half ago, will be releasing in August. A source reveals, “The movie was stuck in the pipeline due to issues between the producer and financer. Partho’s movie Ek Second: Jo Zindagi Badal De is released today. After this movie the director will sit and plan out the release date of Signature and the promotions accordingly.”
Shilpa plays a mentally challenged person in the film along with Esha Deol. The male lead stars Milind Soman, who is Shilpa’s husband and Esha’s teacher in the movie.
Partho Ghosh confirms the news that he is releasing the movie in August. When quizzed regarding the delay, he replies, “Shilpa was busy with her various commitments, but now everything is in place so after Ek Second: Jo Zindagi Badal De my next release in Signature.”
When contacted Milind Soman, he was unaware about the movie release. He said, “We shot this movie almost two years back. I am not aware about the movie releasing now. Probably Partho Ghosh wants to surprise me.”
Shilpa Shetty remained unavailable for comment. Let’s hope yeh teri zindagi badal de, Shetty.
The low-budget film, which was giving big-ticket cinema a run for its money only a couple of years ago, is said to be in its death throes
Meena Iyer | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; May 16, 2010)
The euphoria over Dibakar Banerjee’s path-breaking Love Sex Aur Dhoka, released this March, lasted less than a week. On the tenth day, the DVD of this unusual film made it to shelves across the world.
So what exactly happened? Why did the film that had every critic in town salivating over its form and concept meet with this fate? LSD broke many norms—it was shot on HD, it had greenhorns instead of stars, the concept wasn’t stolen. Yet, the film that gave the theatre-going audience a completely new experience couldn’t hold out for more than a few days at a multiplex.
LSD’s fate reflects the crisis that the small film—feted by audience and critics alike just a couple of years ago—finds itself in today. In a market that suddenly seems to have developed cold feet about the genre, there are over 100 small films, censored and ready, which have no buyers.
Two years ago, this category of cinema was being celebrated. Almost every big film corporation had developed a sub-brand committed to the cause of the smallbudget film, from UTV’s Spotboy and PNC’s Guerrilla to Mukta Arts’ Malpix and Sanjay Gupta’s White Feather Films’ Arthouse. Besides the big corporate honchos, there were others dedicated to this kind of cinema like Sunil Doshi (Halla Bol), Rajat Kapoor (Mixed Doubles, Mithiya) and Sagar Bellary (Bheja Fry). One of them lately confessed that he has six unsold films on hand.
Gupta, who lost a few crores with his last two experimental films, Pankh and The Great Indian Butterfly, says, “The market for
small films has dried up. I suffered huge losses by releasing these films. And now I have decided to shut my arthouse department. I’m committed to good cinema but I can’t mortgage my house, sell my office and give up my lifestyle to support its cause.’’
In the period after Bheja Fry, several small films—Aamras, Siddharth The Prisoner, The Waiting Room, Halla Bol, Saas Bahu Aur Sensex and Raat Gayi Baat Gayi to name only a few—have bitten the dust. One of Bollywood’s leading financiers has allegedly been set back by Rs 35 crore on this brand of cinema. “If you even make a rough estimate of the amount lost on thought-provoking cinema, it would be over Rs 150 crore,’’ says a trade analyst. He agrees that the losses on five mainstream films like Drona, Chandni Chowk To China, Kambakht Ishq, Luck and Kidnap would also amount to Rs 150 crore approximately. “But the point is that people still go to a theatre to see a puerile Akshay Kumar film rather than come and see Vinay Pathak (Dasvidaniya) or Ranvir Sheorey (Ugly Aur Pagli),’’ he says.
Why did small cinema sink like this? One of the reasons was the recession. Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO of UTV Motion Pictures which had a golden run with middle-of-theroad cinema two summers ago (Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Aamir, Mumbai Meri Jaan, A Wednesday, Welcome to Sajjanpur and Dev D) says that the corporation spent double the money and energy to market films like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Dev D to counteract the pull of the big star film. When the economic downturn came, marketing budgets took a huge beating, and according to trade sources, the first casualty was the small films for which the oxygen masks were pulled off. “It’s also a myth that because of the low investment, small films are risk-free,’’ adds Roy Kapur. “On the contrary, if these films don’t hit the bull’seye you can end up losing your entire investment on them.’’
Another reason for the death of small cinema, say sources, was that its economics too began to go haywire after its successful run. Studio gossip has it that actors Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey and director Sagar Bellary, the trio that put together the enjoyable Bheja Fry for a mere Rs 50 lakh, with an additional Rs 50 lakh for marketing, became covetous and began demanding personal fees to the tune of Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore. The producers of small cinema too conned many film financiers by stating budgets far in excess of what they were.
And then there were the financiers themselves who, after Bheja Fry made four times its budget amount at the ticket windows, thought that small films would make their money appreciate faster. “With budgets on star capers having gone through the roof, these men reasoned that they’d rather make four small films than chase a superstar, whose remuneration is more than the budget of a modest film,’’ says a trade source. Quantity overtook quality, and the ensuing rash of badly made lowbudget films sank without a trace.
The final nail in the coffin was the price of the cinema ticket for a small film. “Most small films are on the DTH (direct to home) platform within days of their release,’’ says Gupta. “If the exhibitor charges Rs 300 for Pankh and a similar amount for My Name Is Khan, the audience will naturally opt for MNIK. Despite best efforts to bring down ticket prices for a certain kind of cinema, no solution has been found. And people would naturally prefer to shell out for a star film while paying their dish television provider Rs 50 for the small films.’’ The producer claimed on a FICCI platform recently that the multiplexes, which were launched to give a platform to the arthouse/middle-of-the-road cinema “are the ones who have actually killed these films’’.
So unless a miracle happens your small film will now only be viewed within the confines of your drawing room. The exhibitors have shortchanged it with a SRK starrer.