Let’s stop cribbing and fire up the engines – opportunity is knocking at our door
Ajit Thakur, CEO, Trinity Pictures, Eros International
A lot has been said and debated recently about the challenges that ail our industry, from taxation to inflated ticket rates, from star prices to inadequate screens, but for me this is the time of infinite opportunities.
As a relatively new producer working for Eros International, I see it very differently. Hollywood’s biggest film does Rs.6,000 crore business, China’s biggest film does Rs.3,000 crore just domestic as opposed to our biggest film making only Rs.300 crore. That, to me, is an opportunity and a rather big one.
We often bank on or hope for a tail wind. The need of the hour is an engine upgrade. And here are a few thoughts. We have some of the most creative minds all around us yet none of us invests enough in writers or writing. We prefer packaging than the hard work that a good script needs.
There are just so many young brilliant writers out there. Let’s all invest in grooming a hundred of them and give them the time and space they need. Between the top 10 producers and studios, that’s a thousand writers. And it will cost less than one bad film that makes it to the theatres without a script.
Let’s look at literature and folklore and thousands of years of history and more. Our literature across languages can give us stories that the whole world will envy.
Let’s invest and back young directors. Let’s take the risk in backing these brave young filmmakers and get our best to mentor them. Let’s each make 10 films every year with first-time directors within reasonable budgets. That’s a hundred new directors in the pool.
Let’s invest in technology and infrastructure to create worlds that trigger and fire the imagination of over a billion Indians and more. We have the ideas but we shy away from investing more in VFX and action and animation and technology in general because our economics tells us not to. But we make that investment elsewhere or someone else takes away our audience with the same.
Let’s take the leap and make films such as Lord Of The Rings. We have the stories. We may need help from talent abroad who have supervised those. And I am sure we have the audience around the world who will pay for these films coming from India.
Who says we have only 5,000 screens? We have 50,000 screens. Let’s make films with the US and the UK and China and France and Russia. What’s stopping us from finding stories that resonate beyond just Indians? We use their phones, we watch their films, we play their games. Time to reverse that. It again goes back to the writers and directors and technology.
Let’s also acknowledge that there are many Indias. Let’s not have the bias of Hindi vs regional films. The sooner we realise that there are very few universal films and a lot more that can be segregated into urban or youth or kids or Marathi or Bengali, the better we will be in allocating the right budgets to the films and then doing it with purity, keeping that target audience in mind. It doesn’t make the film smaller, it’s just more focused audience targetting because that’s what the story demands.
These are just few of the ideas that can help us re-engineer. In fact, at Eros and Trinity Pictures, we are open to business with more optimism than ever, with a lot more enthusiasm, despite what a few pessimists might say. I see opportunities everywhere with dreamy eyes. Time to fire up the engines…