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Powering On

Never listen to the gloom-and-doom predictions about the industry for they come from pessimists. Not only is the Hindi film industry thriving, it is in one of its most creative phases

picmonkey-collage

He was the man behind that eternal song – Jeena yahan marna yahan. He was called the showman of this industry. If you haven’t  guessed already, we’re talking about Raj Kapoor.

It’s no secret that the legendary filmmaker suffered huge losses with Mera Naam Joker as the film tanked. The story goes that the film even sent him into debt. Did Raj Kapoor stop making movies after the huge setback of Mera Naam Joker? Kapoor bounced back with his next film Bobby, which became a big success story.

Years ago, Jeetendra decided to turn producer and made Deedar-E-Yaar, but the film tanked. After that, he decided not to continue with film production. However, years later, when daughter Ekta Kapoor decided to get into movie making business, her father was there for her when she took important decisions. Initially, Ekta Kapoor lost a lot of money as many of her movies tanked. She took a backseat but bounced back after a hiatus and delivered many successful movies in a row.

This year hasn’t been good for her production house and once again, she’s decided to go slow for the time being. Will her recent losses keep her away from filmmaking for long? We all know Ekta Kapoor to be a fearless lady and we are sure she will bounce back and come back stronger than before.

Recently, Disney India decided to take a backseat and NOT make hindi movies in the near future. It was shocking news at the time, and the media claimed that ‘black days lay ahead for the Indian film industry. Really? Is Disney the only company who’s been making movies? Was Disney the only hope for the Indian film industry? The industry is a century old and has never needed a foreign corporate house to run it.

There have been many instances when producers have faced losses but did that stop them from making more movies? After a series of successful movies, there was a lull for Vashu Bhagnani. The man, once known as Producer No 1, had suffered losses and that prompted him to take a sabbatical from film production. But not for long. He returned and made many movies. A few did well and a few didn’t. Today, he’s even ventured into all-India distribution.

Boney Kapoor has been making movies for more years than we can count. Some of his films did well and some didnt. Has that discouraged him from making movies? Not one bit.

There have been stories about a ‘black cloud over the Indian film industry’ and that we are making fewer movies. The fact is the number hasn’t declined drastically, and if it has a little, that’s because
we have finally woken up to making content-
driven films.

Never mind the fate of Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale. He believed in the film and made it under his own production house. Currently, he’s producing Imtiaz Ali’s next and, next in line is a film with Aanand
L Rai, which he’s decided to produce, again.

Take the example of Salman Khan, who recently announced his next home production Tubelight being directed by Kabir Khan. Salman Khan believed in Kabir Khan and his script, and is making this film under his own banner. Ajay Devgn believed in Shivaay and dedicated two years to the movie and he too made this film on his own.

In this section of our seventh anniversary issue, we have eminent personalities of our industry discussing the phase we are going through and what’s in store for us. On our part, at Box Office India, we believe that this is a new era for the Indian film industry and there’s no looking back as we go from strength to strength. Jeena yahan marna yahan... iske siva jaana kahan!!! Read on:

ajit-andhare-1Problem Child

5 issues the trade needs to resolve to take the business of films to the next level

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures

With a legacy of over 100 years, Indian films have evolved, year after year, enthralling viewers across the globe. Over time, with cinematic gems like Mughal-e-Azam, Mother India, Sholay, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil Chahta Hai, Kahaani, 3 Idiots, Queen and Airlift, among others, our films have undergone a paradigm shift.

Whether content, marketing, distribution and exhibition infrastructure or production quality, Indian cinema has reached new heights with the aim to entertain, and at times, inspire. Yet, there are fundamental issues that have been plaguing the business aspect of the industry. As a fraternity we need to acknowledge them, debate them and come together, and find a way forward.

#1 Heads: I Win, Tails: You lose

The central issue confronting the industry continues to be a ‘Heads: I Win, Tails: You Lose’ proposition prevalent at the heart of Indian filmmaking. The key issue that few are willing to discuss is the investor-producer being suitably rewarded, given the risky nature of the business.

The current hit rate of Hindi films is at an aggregate level, where only one in two films succeed at the box office. But, is the investor-producer making a sufficient return on a hit to cover the losses he is bound to incur on the other films?

If you compare the film sector with any other risk-oriented businesses that run on a portfolio approach – for instance, the venture capital industry that operates with an even lower portfolio hit rate – the multi-baggers on the few successes more than compensate the losses on majority of investments.

How do we run film portfolios to improve the overall return, is a key question that needs to be addressed. The answer lies in better hit rates and an equation where film IP is held mostly or only by the investor, with box-office-related incentives or first-cycle profits worked out for directors/talent.

#2: Leftovers Of A Cake Already Sliced

Film business is a rights business, where a bouquet of rights is created once a film is made. The producer should work to monetise these rights over a period of time. The star-led rights-deals that carve out satellite or digital rights, impinge on the rights of a producer as you are left carrying only box-office rights that have the maximum risk attached.

This trend needs to be bucked as rights should remain with the risk-taking producer/studio to manage the overall risk. In any case, if the first cycle is sold, the producer’s cost should be reduced adequately and the second cycle should come back to the kitty.

#3: Your Driver Has Already Seen The Film!

Rising piracy combined with greater penetration of mobile devices and satellite television are driving footfalls away from cinemas. A top-billing film could command up to seven crore admissions in cinemas a decade ago, a number that has nearly been halved for the same film today. Rising prices might have pushed box office collections but they have driven admissions out. The ease with which a film is seen by your driver on his phone for nearly no cost, gives him no reason to go to cinemas.

Releasing films only in DCI-compliant cinemas, DPX-only censor process, stronger action by the government against piracy and centralising the final edit in a tightly controlled facility are some of the radical but effective solutions to consider.

#4: Open My Window, Please

An event film commands the audience and pulls them to cinemas. However, smaller films that might be more widely consumed on digital platforms need to be given better windowing immediately after satellite??? so as to maximise digital revenues.

#5: Talent Cost vs BO Returns

Considering that many films chase a limited talent pool allows for the talent to price itself at a level where the film economics suffer. Unearthing new talent and investing in it  to improve talent supply is the way to tackle this issue. Talent prices need to be pegged to the BO opening. This has been spoken about for a while now but remains difficult to implement, given the fragmented nature of
the industry.

Cinema has been the most popular platform of mass media in the country. The big screen offers a form of escapism that simply cannot be achieved at home or on your mobile/ tablets by streaming content. Going to the movies is a ritual – the cue to buy the ticket, the tub of popcorn and the hot samosas to even the trailers that tempt the next visit before that evening’s entertainment has begun. Every industry has its fair share of problems but I would like to conclude with Mr Abdul Kalam’s quote: “We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.”

shibasish-sarkarTruth Be Told

Instead of lamenting the diminishing box-office returns, it’s time we took the bull by the horns and looked at the real roadblocks to profitability

Shibasish Sarkar,Coo, Reliance Entertainment

Like any other industry, the film industry is also dependent on quality, resources, infrastructure, technology evolution and a combination of other underlying factors. At the same time, unlike many other industries, the creative involvement and people participation in this industry is paramount for quality. Yet, films are largely not a profitable proposition as a business. Let us look at the reasons:

1.We are not telling compelling or engrossing stories. Period. I feel the first step to identifying the issues starts with us. We should make compelling stories for the ‘audience’, not necessarily for ‘us’. There is a large audience in this country which wants to appreciate a good story. India is a varied and diverse country and there is scope and an audience for every genre and stories as long it touches
a chord. Films are a hit or a failure, the day the story is green-lit. Everything else after that is about just going through the cycle of execution. So we need to cultivate writers, look for good stories, which is not easy, but we need to harness the best creative minds to work in that space.

2.Movies become hits or flops on cost. We suffer in making cost-rational films. Films even with compelling stories become flops on cost. Talent costs in today’s times are completely irrational / unviable. There is no easy solution to this as the prices of actors and other talent are a market-driven phenomenon. One solution is to use a profit-sharing formula largely, which some actors have already started doing. If it is not working out, producers should resist making films. It’s better not to do films than to do risky projects.

3.Less screens and 52 weeks to showcase. In India, the number of screens is pathetically low compared to the number of films that release every year. The other side of the story is that cinema halls / multiplexes are able to recover only on F&B. Estate costs are exorbitant in India and that is killing the exhibition sector, which in turn affects the film industry. The government needs to take the initiative. Take a look at China, whose box office is likely to exceed that of Hollywood by 2020. The Chinese government has taken the initiative to drastically increase cinema chains, which has paved the way for growth in the industry. Secondly, we need to increase cinemas in Tier II and Tier III cities. The box office can grow dramatically, if we can make low-cost option of cinema halls in Tier II and Tier III cities.

4.Time of partnership / Acquisition model is not viable. The film industry needs to evolve in its mindset. Independent producers, talents and all sections of industry have grown over the last 15 to 20 years with public funding, corporate funding, bank and FI funding etc. The overall industry has benefitted substantially and grown disproportionately over the last 15 years. But somewhere the spirit of partnership is missing and investors bear a lopsided risk, compared to all other segments of the ecosystem. As producers, we need to ensure that stakeholders and investors get their value. We need to work on more partnerships to make sure that all segments of the ecosystem get their returns and that risks and rewards are borne equally. Otherwise, we will very soon go back to the ‘60s and ‘70s in terms of financing structure....and the industry will shrink.

priti-shahani_newUnder Siege

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.

Rampant piracy

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!

amar-butalaWinds of Change

The prevailing situation provides an opportunity to re-examine the processes and systems that determine how the film industry operates. Here’s how the trade can take the next step

Amar Butala, COO, Salman Khan Films

These are interesting times for the industry. The business is undergoing a transformation and studios are in ‘slow down’ mode. This will certainly be a period of correction.

For producers, it is imperative that we bring down the cost of production. The fees for actors and technicians have been inflated for long, and with the current slowdown, it will mean producers will carry a larger risk as fewer films get underwritten by studios.

Moving forward, we will need to structure more backend participation for talent. So if the film works they get additional fees, but big fees upfront will soon be a thing of the past. Another cost which continues to escalate is the marketing cost; in some cases, the cost of marketing a film is higher than the actual cost of production.

Since the dependence on revenue from the first week is so high, producers are being forced to spend money across media without any real post-release analysis on whether the spends are justified. Do the large spends on city visits convert to ticket sales?

TV is still a big cost centre but there’s little discussion on channel mix for different films. Instead, we have vanilla TV plans which we follow. Digital is still underused, while dependence on print continues, with huge spends on impact ads and listing ads.

There have been discussions to replicate the model of Tamil films, which have a limited window to market films, and the budget is agreed on – producers in Mumbai still haven’t been able to do this. With the slowdown of the studios, producers will need more influence in the marketing and distribution of their films. It’s only when we have more control will there be more transparency in distribution and syndication.

The bundling of rights isn’t going to work, the priority would be to slice our rights further for evolving platforms and to create premium windows we can monetise. The lack of screens continues to hurt. Our film Bajrangi Bhaijaan did a little over Rs.320 crore but the footfalls were around 3.5 crore.  So 2015’s biggest film barely reached the population, and the reason is poor screen penetration.

We’ve reached a tipping point on ticket prices. So if we have to go past the Rs.400 crore and Rs.500 crore mark, we will need more screens. It’s the only way our films can reach a large population and generate more revenue.

If screen count doesn’t grow, film piracy will. We’re already seeing zero growth in footfalls in cinemas; only deeper screen penetration will ensure BO growth. Another casualty of this is when two films release on a big holiday weekend, they’re cannibalising each other and because the screens existing currently just aren’t enough, neither film is actually getting
its due.

Moving forward, we will see more and more films clash on the big holidays and it will mean smaller returns at the box office. This is further complicated in the exhibition space. With only three or four multiplex chains exerting clout, it will be interesting to see how discussions on producer shares evolve.

Dependancy on week 1 revenues is overwhelming. The challenges are even bigger with mid-size and small films, which struggle to get showcasing, and these films will find the going tougher than before.

For the creative part, we continue to struggle with scripts, and the script-writing process. Unlike in the West, where writers write and directors direct, in our industry, directors want to write their own films. This means a filmmaker will spend a disproportionate amount of time working on a single script, which might not actually get made, when instead he could be listening to a dozen pitches every month. Also, not all directors make good writers, and writers, who are actually the starting point of a film, aren’t given the respect they deserve, and they continue to be appendages of the director.

Hollywood and its magnificent ways are always a talking point with directors in India. It would be great if, like Hollywood, we could also learn to separate writing from directing – it would be a solid step to getting more quality scripts.

vivek-krishnaniSeize The Day

Bollywood has a prosperous future as long as we push boundaries and look at ourselves as a creative industry rather than regard films as a ‘product’

Vivek Krishnani,

Managing Director, Sony Pictures Entertainment, India

As a studio that has been in India for over eight decades, we have been witness to an era of trials and triumphs that have led the industry to where it is today – it’s far more structured, transparent, technologically advanced and professional than at any other time in its history.

India’s homegrown film families that have been in production for decades have also moved to (and many are still moving) a quasi-studio model with increasing focus on content, which continues to be both a challenge and an opportunity.

Content is the King

Content has to drive the business and has to be bigger than any other part of the industry function. Nurturing and investing in good writers who have the imagination to break through the clutter and create cinema that’s different and yet entertaining has to be the biggest priority for all of us.

It’s content that brings audiences back to the theatres, again and again. Today, if Sultan is a huge hit, it’s not just because Salman Khan is a superstar; it’s also because he is trying out newer roles that are not caricatures of his stardom. He is pushing the limits, much like Shah Rukh and Aamir, who are all set to engage audiences with very exciting roles in their upcoming films.

Apart from good writing, as an industry, it’s important to invest in new talent. Today, if Ranveer Singh is considered one of the biggest stars of our times, it is because there was an Aditya Chopra who saw the potential in him and the rest is history.

Karan Johar successfully did that with his ‘students’ of the year and gave the industry new faces who could carry films on their shoulders. Among other things, the advantage of injecting new talent in the industry is – greater options to try differentiated content. It holds true for Hollywood studios as well.

At SPE, each of our recent releases, like Angry Birds, Don’t Breathe and Shallows, has gone on to do huge business globally. The interesting part is that compared to many of the tent pole films, led by Hollywood’s leading stars, that released in the same period, the revenue margins of these films made on small to moderate budgets were higher.

That’s because content was the driving force and that’s what drove audiences to cinemas! Speaking of Hollywood, one often hears that Hollywood is eating into Bollywood’s share without realising that Hollywood is also helping increase the market. There is always room for quality content, and as long as the content is good, it works irrespective of language or genre.

Films Are Not A Product

It’s important, therefore, to focus on quality and not quantity. That’s because there is a huge gap between the number of films that the industry produces and the number of films that finally generate revenue. Apart from
that, we are yet to develop a workable business model.

Any creative industry will have to endure struggle when it comes to finding a foolproof success formula because it just doesn’t exist. Films are not a product that can have a ready formula and that is why there are bigger failures and fewer successes.

In recent years, we have had instances of people putting projects together – on paper you are assured of a big success because that’s what the numbers say but in reality, often, such projects just drown at the box office. So how do we address it? By putting films together, and not projects, because projects are based on just mathematical calculations.

Opportunities

International Markets

The audience comprising of Indian diaspora in international markets are now more accepting of good quality content – a good film can really break out internationally in current times. The contribution of international box office to overall revenues stands at about 20 per cent, on average, and this is increasing.

Today, the UAE market is almost at par with the US market. With our strong international distribution network, we at SPE are looking at pushing boundaries further by even making non-traditional markets profitable for Indian films. So just like Hollywood has been able to make inroads across the world, with over two-thirds of its revenue coming from global markets, we as an industry have an opportunity of taking our content to
bigger markets.

Digital

With growing Internet penetration and changing audience behavior, revenues from digital have seen an upward trend. We are seeing a growth in the number of OTT platforms who are keen on acquiring film content, which has been a shot in the arm for our industry. Also one of the effective ways to curb piracy is to ensure
that the film is available throughout its life cycle across platforms without there being a dark window period. Digital helps bridge that gap and ensures that if audiences want to legally watch content it is available and there is no excuse for people to turn to piracy.

Exhibition

Every screen count increase, presents an opportunity to improve the box office. Over the last few years we have seen a huge growth in screen count and quality theatres which offer a nice and clean environment to watch movies, which has helped bring people into the theatres in large numbers.

As things stand today, we continue to be a very under-screened, with seven screens per million as per the KPMG report – there is a huge opportunity for a faster and healthy growth in Tier II and Tier III markets. A massive surge in the exhibition sector in China has made it the second-biggest market in the world after the US, and given the size of our country and population, there is huge potential to replicate the same success in India.

Government Support

In recent months, there have been a few instances of films being leaked online and that continues to be a sore point for the industry. The recent ban on the use of torrent sites is one of the steps in that direction. Piracy in India is roughly leading to a loss of about Rs.5,000 crore, and roughly 50,000 jobs per year, as per a study done by Deloitte in association with ASSOCHAM, and as an industry we need to work collectively with the government authorities and come up with mechanisms that can tighten piracy laws. With GST on the anvil, it will hopefully rationalise the entertainment tax structure and will positively impact
the industry.

The Future is Bright

Hopefully, all of this, coupled with increased awareness that quality content at the right price and changing paradigms of doing business, will bring in audiences to cinemas and make films successful. So while there may be a few naysayers who may be predicting a downturn in our industry, these newer opportunities are clear markers for the growth of our industry.

apoorva-mehtaReclaiming Lost Ground

The biggest systemic challenges in the Hindi film industry are a tax system that makes little sense and lack of transparency in collections

Apoorva Mehta, CEO Dharma Productions

I, genuinely am of the opinion that the Indian film industry has evolved over the years to become better organized today. Currently, the industry is more promising than ever before. However, there are a few existing gaps that need to be filled, and the sooner this is done, the better it will be for the industry as a whole. Allow me to quickly list a few issues that I feel need to be tackled on an immediate basis.

 Irrational Taxation:

The innumerable that are taxes levied are a major vexation. Essentially speaking, each state has varied tax slabs. For instance in Maharashtra the entertainment tax is approx 30 per cent of the gross collections while in UP it as high as 40 per cent. The problem here is the lack of a unified tax structure across the country. We’re hopeful that the proposed GST rollout should be able to take care of this unnecessary disparity in taxation. Additionally, with no current offset to entertainment tax, which was levied in the first place to generate revenue for multiplexes so they could sustain expensive infrastructure, the application of GST might rationalize a rather difficult system of taxation.

Transparency in Collections:

This is a major loophole in the system as not every cinema hall is linked to a central data surveillance system, which would have otherwise helped producers attain an accurate understanding of how much their film made at the box office. Moreover, collection figures aren’t uploaded in real time, which might lead to errors in the long run. Internationally, Rentrak is used by producers to track collections across a particular market. Even individual collections across cinema halls can be tapped. In India, we aren’t attached to a sophisticated data management system. Another shortcoming is that not all cinema houses, especially single screens, have an electronic ticketing system which makes them incapable of being linked to any kind of software.

The only way we can currently gauge how a film of ours is doing is by getting a sense of its performance in Mumbai and Delhi because the cinemas in these two cities are well networked. We then use these two territories as yardsticks to estimate the film’s performance in other centres. In short, we have no way to ensure that collections come in quickly, accurately, and across every market in which the film is released.

Brakes on Marketing:

Another major concern is that marketing costs are rising exponentially. Efforts have been made towards working with the guild to put in place specific guidelines which can help producers rein in these costs. However, rising pressure from actors regarding the scale of promotions directly impacts marketing costs, leading to such costs increasing to a maniacal amount.

For instance, if one avoids outdoor marketing for a particular film and other films go that way, one tends to regret it. Moreover, actors may question why the same wasn’t done for their film. It’s a difficult battle to fight every time.

Down South, the producers’ community is united; their dates are managed and everything is streamlined. I think collectively, we are not as strong or we would have been able to implement the same system here too. New platforms will emerge and a producer will always feel the need to promote one’s film everywhere possible. This implies that marketing budgets will rise even higher, and the only way to control them is by fixing a cap on spending and by using benchmarks. Admittedly, it’s difficult due to the unique nature of the business.

Satellite Pie:

It’s become a known trend that stars with clout enter into satellite deals today. I personally think that it isn’t a smart decision as you are likely to lose your ability to hedge your risk from the theatrical medium, as against other mediums which may have yielded better returns.

So when you make a film sale outright to a studio or someone else, there is a certain leverage and hedgingthat you have to offer them.  Given the situation that the theatrical business is a one time finite revenue stream, you still have additional rights that can make you consistent money over a sustained time period.

So when actors enter the fray, it puts a dent on the prospects of producers. It diminishes the leverage a producer enjoys. The situation that arises makes the producer incapable to incurring risk on a major project as there is no room to offer leverage. I am hoping the industry takes this into cognizance and ensures that this practice meets its end.

Declining Trends in Theatrical Business:

Analysis of the yearly films collections shows that that the number of films grossing Rs.100 crore has gone down from six (2014) to three (2016) and those grossing 200 crore from two (2014) to none so far in the year 2016. The unfortunate dip in business is evident.

I believe content is the biggest cause. Great content will always bring in the revenue. Sure, there have been instances where films have suffered due to poor luck and bad timing, but essentially the problem arises with the kind of content we create.

So rather than shifting blame around, let us be honest and review our own actions. Also, I believe very firmly that a film never fails, a budget fails. There is a viewer for every kind of film; you simply have to make sure what the ecosystem of that viewer is, and how many eye balls you can generate. After that, you decide whether it is feasible or not to make the film.

To summarize, I think the industry is definitely on an ascent. But I also believe that there is a lot of scope to make amends, and some of the problems listed above need to be looked at and plugged in on an immediate basis.

ajit-thakurPoised For Takeoff

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...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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