The Hindi film industry is clearly not going through the best of times. And, as the smartphone becomes the preferred platform for entertainment, there are other pressing challenges that we face
Priti Shahani, President, Junglee Pictures
Fix the pricing model
The entire pricing model needs to be re-evaluated – right from talent to business and infrastructure costs. Pricing needs to be set as per content. Over-paying and over-budgeting a project results in lower returns and that takes away the incentive for us to be in the business. If pricing is corrected at the top of the pyramid, which is talent, it will go down to the end of the value chain and will ultimately benefit the audience, and will also probably take care of taxes.
High ticket price
Ticket prices are at the end of the pricing chain and bear the effect of what has gone wrong at the top, like a domino effect. But this end of the chain is the most pressing, as it is the ticket price that brings the money home. Anything above `200 for a movie ticket is expensive for the middle-class moviegoer. The fact that people watched Sairat six to eight times has a lot to do with ticket pricing too.
Within a day or two of release, you see people watching and sharing a high-quality copy of the film on their cellphones in local trains. As much as smartphones have helped diversify the medium, it is also proving to be a bane. This easy availability of content on smartphones, coupled with high ticket prices has left no incentive for moviegoers and is the reason footfalls at cinemas are declining. We need to invest more in technology to put a stop to digital piracy.
Censor copy woes
The entire process of sending films to the censor board needs to be stricter and stringent, so that we don’t get to see films being leaked with the censor copy watermark on it. Ensure more security at censor screenings; maybe move from screener DVDs to password-protected digital methods. You don’t see films being leaked from public film festivals but from offices meant for private screenings, which is bizarre.
As you see, it is a loop of problems. As much as the root cause can be blamed – and addressed – we need corrective measure across the chain, so that the movie-going experience is a win-win situation for both, the makers as well as the audience. We need to ensure that the cycle, and the show, must go on!