It’s that time of the year where LIGHTS take priority over CAMERA and ACTION. The joyous occasion of Diwali has brought new hope to the film industry, with movies like Secret Superstar and Golmaal Again!!! doing good business immediately following the super success of Judwaa 2.
The darkness of the many losses incurred throughout the year has been somewhat dispelled, with not only the above-mentioned films but also the prospect of many interesting upcoming movies – biggies such as Tiger Zinda Hai and Padmavati along with others like Ittefaq, Tumhari Sulu, Firangi and Qarib Qarib Singlle.
This year has also seen many upheavals in Bollywood, in terms of content, star power, commercial success, among other elements. And almost all of these have been due to a shift in the perception of the audience.
This festive season, we asked tinsel town professionals to send out a message to their colleagues, one that would focus on one change they would like to see in the film fraternity.
Tigmanshu Dhulia, Director
Like in the South, let’s put a ceiling on marketing budgets. It’s so unnecessary.
Madhur Bhandarkar, Director
The one change I want to see in Bollywood is a drop in ticket prices. Multiplexes need to do that. Service tax has to be reduced a little. I am very optimistic that in 2018, there will be major changes in this aspect.
Shashank Khaitaan, Director
The one thing I would like to tell everyone is that we should rally for each other. We should stand by each other and support each other because we are going to need strength in years to come. If we are positive towards each other, we will be able to ride the tide that is sweeping the industry right now. Everybody is concerned about how films are faring these days. If we help each other by exchanging information and knowledge and not isolating ourselves by thinking hum akele kuch karenge, we can make a difference.
If we rally for each other, our films, and start hoping that every film does well, we will have no problem getting people to come to cinemas. My message is, let’s truly unite on a real platform and work towards making films that people will come and watch in cinemas.
Rahul Dholakia, Director
A lot has changed over time and a lot more will change because we are now directly catering to the global audience. We are no longer aiming at one circuit or a fixed audience. In fact, Diwali is a very auspicious time for the industry, when many big films release and the industry earns good money. But one thing that must change is that intervals must vanish from our films. They break the continuity. Our movies should be break-free.
Amit Masurkar, Director
I wish for many things but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be scrapping entertainment tax. Films are not only entertainment, they also play an important role in shaping the way people think. They are also a window for the world to look into the soul of India. Respecting that role would help us recover our monetary investments so that we can make more films.
Ritesh Shah, Writer
Every year, Diwali brings us something new and prosperous and this year too, we wish that good luck comes to the industry. With good films doing well and content running, a lot is happening. But one thing I wish for the betterment of the industry is that the government works on the tax structure and that GST should be minimal because taxation is pushing our budgets up by an obscene amount.
Rajat Aroraa, Writer
There are many things that should remain the same like the unity among us. I also believe that good cinema is working and everyone is looking for that one best script. But the one thing that needs to change – and very urgently – is ticket rates. I believe that people have stopped taking their families to the cinema on holidays due to high ticket prices. Diwali was a time when people used to go to the cinema with the entire family. But, today, taxes have made the experience so expensive that it costs the same as going out to dinner with your family. I believe the industry should come together and put a cap on ticket prices with the help of the government.
Shivam Nair, Director
Diwali is that time of the year when everyone spends time with close ones. It’s also an auspicious time for the industry when big films release and do good business. With each passing year one thing is sure – audiences are focusing on content-rich films. If we look at the past few years, content-driven films have done more good than masala films with a big star cast. The one thing which must change is that the industry should look out for better writers and give priorities to good writing than anything else. It’s the story which holds a film, more than anything.
Mudassar Aziz, Director
It truly touches me that this industry is the one place that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, colour, caste, legitimacy, illegitimacy, etc. We have never been divided on these issues; we have always been an industry that promotes talent and merit, which is all that matters. But we live in tricky times, where people tend to get polarised quickly, where people tend to take sides very often and pass judgment on social media platforms very easily. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to remain one undivided unit. Everyone with a phone seems to be a critic now and everyone is quick to pass judgement publicly. In times like this, the unity of the industry is under threat but I hope we can persevere, inshallah. I hope that the only thing that continues to matter is talent and that nothing else divides us. This is my message to my colleagues, actors and filmmakers.
Soumendra Padhi, Director
I think more weightage should be assigned to writers. Since we do not have a culture of writing, directors and other people tend to write. When you do that, it upsets the craft of writing. When you are not really a writer, you will not be able to produce the kind of material or quality that a real writer can. I wish that we can create a writing culture in Bollywood so that we can encourage youngsters to contribute to our stories. That would be wonderful!
Shekhar Suman, Actor-Director
In today’s times, we need to talk about peace and harmony. There is a lot of social upheaval and unrest. People are getting very edgy, impatient, intolerant and uneasy. I advise not only my peers but also everyone around the world to promote peace. We need to exercise patience and spread the message of peace and harmony. There is so much pain and anguish today and it seems as if all people want to do is quarrel and start wars. We have North Korea threatening to declare nuclear war; and we have Pakistan, China, India and so many other countries that have widespread crime. There are mass killings and rape. I think it is important for everyone to exercise restraint and move towards anything that is humane and peaceful. That is what I would like people in our industry and others in general to practice.
Tanuj Garg, Managing Partner, Ellipsis Entertainment
Let’s not work at cross purposes. Let’s stand united as a community and industry and institute discipline and policies in respect of infructuous elements of cost.
Mahendra Soni, Distributor and Producer
My message is very simple: I urge filmmakers to focus more on content that can bring the audience back to cinemas. Give an opportunity to fresh talent, experiment with new subjects, think long term and, most importantly, control costs.
It is high time everyone came together and took steps that will benefit the industry. Trying to drag down one another can only hurt the industry and this will eventually impact everyone. Peace and love to everyone.
Sanjay Marudhar, Distributor
It is very difficult to think of just one thing to say but if I had to choose, I would say that a joint effort should be made to work on the content of Bollywood films. We should start focusing on that. We should also work on preventing movies from being pirated. Piracy is a big problem as people are downloading lots of films these days. So, yes, piracy and content are the changes that need to be tackled in the industry.
Sunil Bansal, Distributor
I think people should concentrate on their filmmaking process, which is going haywire. The audience and the industry deserve to be treated to good films, good stories and good content. So filmmakers should dream of achieving bigger things. Take a leaf out of the hugely successful Baahubali series. Records are made to be broken. Small films are non-existent; they don’t make enough money at the box office. We will see a few big films releasing soon. If we regularly make larger-than-life movies like Baahubali, the industry will grow. We have two movies releasing at the box office this Diwali – Golmaal Again and Secret Superstar. Both of them are huge, superstar films from big banners. After that, there are two more commercial movies, Tiger Zinda Hai and Padmavati. Let’s just hope that these films close out the year in a big way.
Sanjay Ghai, Distributor
It’s very simple – we need to make more and more mass films. Don’t get into the whole ‘class audience’ thing. In India, mass movies are what work. Actors and filmmakers have seen, time and again, that regardless of how many ‘class’ movies they make, it’s the ‘mass’ movies that truly work. This lack of proper focus is why Bollywood is suffering huge losses. Mass movies are easily understood by everyone but if filmmakers want to make movies as complicated as GST, who will watch them? Just as people cannot understand GST, they cannot understand those films. People who have been in this business for a long time will understand this. Jaise humaare log hain waisi filmen banana chahiye.
Yogesh Raizada, Wave, MD
I wanted to see 100 per cent occupancy on Diwali, considering the big releases lined up for the long, festive weekend. I think we need to focus more on content rather than other factors. Piracy needs to be curbed and, in my view, if the industry focuses on these two factors jointly, then achhe din zaroor aayenge.
Sarang Chandok, Distributor
People are treating films as if they are factory-made products. Instead, a film is a cerebral product. If we have films with good subjects like Baahubali, business will benefit. I also want to wish everyone a Happy Diwali!
Devang Sampath, Exhibitor
My key message is to follow the current trend. Initially, the industry focused on experimenting and now the industry is maturing. Content-driven films are working and doing well. If we follow this data and this trend, we can change the way cinema is shaping up.
Vipin Sharma, Actor-Director
There is more than one thing that must change but, first, the pay structure should improve and people should get paid according to merit. I believe writers and directors should get their fair share of the pie.
Kalapi Nagada, Distributor-Producer, Cinekorn
I think the one message I would like to give my peers is to curate, support and produce quality content. The one thing that has been reiterated by audiences again and again is, ‘Content is King’. If it’s a bad film, no matter what you do it’s not going to work. Audiences want good, quality cinema and we should strive to bring it to them. Happy Diwali and I hope the box office rings success for one and all.
Arijit Dutta, Distributor
I do not know how to mince words so the one thing I will say is that recently, there was a trend of arm-twisting or muscle flexing, ki mera hi picture chalega, kisi aur ka nahi! It needs to be tempered or phased out, because multiplexes are getting away with it. They have a lot of space and can adjust. But what happens to the endangered single screens that still exist? The brunt is falling on them. You have seen Raaes clash with Kaabil. Again, this year it was Secret Superstar and some other film. But the single screens can screen only one film at a time. This is something that’s making the industry lose revenue. It is not about a specific film. This causes bitterness amongst us. So ideally, according to me, this ego thing needs to be re-looked at. My best wishes and greetings on Diwali to all my friends and colleagues in the industry.
Vipul K Rawal, Writer
I would like to see more people with an original thought process. Right now, most so-called professionals in any department, be it writing, direction, action or even PR lack original thinking. They simply hunt for references from other sources rather than applying their minds in creating something original. I would like to see an original thought process in the industry.
Dina Mukherjee, CMO, Carnival Cinemas
The industry will only grow if the quality of content will be in sync with the expectations of the audience and ample number of screens to showcase it. Carnival’s unique offering MoviEcard helps filmmakers get the audience back into theatres even in the dull times when content is not that strong. They can watch unlimited new films every month with it. Carnival has crossed the 400 screen milestone with presence in over 110 cities and counting. Our aim is to provide quality entertainment at a pocket-friendly price. We wish a very Happy Diwali to all.