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Public Sab Jaanti Hai

The audience is smarter than the filmmakers

As Box Office India celebrates its second anniversary, I am reminded of an anniversary I recently celebrated – my 20th anniversary in this wonderful industry! It has been a fabulous journey and not a day goes by without me thanking the Almighty for blessing me with this wonderful profession.

I have seen a lot in these last two decades. I have seen people coming, rapidly rising to fame and then even more rapidly disappearing. I have seen rags-to-riches stories and riches-to-rags stories too! The collections of our films have undergone a sea-change as has the remuneration that artistes get.

And, of course, opportunities for stars too have multiplied with endorsements, television and the like. The kind of films we make, their scale, their reach, the kind of cinemas that screen them, the way we promote them – everything has changed drastically.

What has not changed, however, is the fact that everything boils down to the so-called aam janta – the public or the paying audience. There is nothing ‘aam’ about the janta! After all, it is they who make or break us, depending on what they think of us or our products. It is apt to say: “Yeh public sab jaanti hain.” Yes, the audience is always smarter than us.

And I am not saying this to be nice to my fans. Let me prove this to you mathematically. Think about it. Filmmakers make one or two or perhaps three films a year. Moreover, most filmmakers stick to the genres or the kind of films that work best for them. So as individual filmmakers, our world and our understanding of films revolves around one, two or three films a year.

On the other hand, the average film-goer watches at least ten films in cinemas every year. He is also exposed to literally hundreds of films through television promos and posters in newspapers and magazines. He is exposed to every kind of concept, every possible genre, every possible type of packaging.

With ticket prices so high, the average film-goer has mastered the art of judging what a film is going to be like through its posters and promos. He then makes an instant judgement on what the film is like and whether or not it is worth investing in a ticket.

We may do whatever we want to but it is that snap judgement of the potential audience that will ultimately decide the fate of your film. That is why I always feel, sunno sabki, karo public ki!

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