The summer vacations have begun and there's a glimmer of hope!
Over the years, the months of April, May and June have witnessed a plethora of movies vying for audience attention. The trend was no different in the 1970s; it continued in the '80s, '90s… This year is no exception either!
Although the film industry has been badly hit by the flops and to a certain degree by the Indo-Pak cricket matches, there's a strong air of optimism within the industry that the releases in the next three months would bail the film industry out of its current crisis.
To state that the film industry finds itself in a quandary, week after week, would be just repeating something that's known to all. But here're a few facts that do bother me no end -
- Practically every film - big or small - has an 'all India open' status today. Translated into simple terms, it means that the films are lying unsold for practically every territory. The distributors are in no mood to acquire the rights, partly because the market conditions are awful and partly because they've burnt their fingers in the past few releases.
- A majority of producers are releasing their film themselves in practically every circuit. In the distant past, some reputed production houses decided to expand their business empire and started distributing their films in some territories. In the present scenario, practically every producer has been forced to distribute his film himself, due to a genuine dearth of buyers.
Clearly, the arithmetic of film-making is in shambles!
- The Overseas territory - which was considered the most lucrative territory till last year - has turned ice-cold today. A majority of producers are waiting for buyers to knock on their doors, but most buyers are just not interested.
- If the producer dealt with one [Overseas] distributor till recently, the situation has reversed today. Of late, several producers have been meeting individual distributors from each country and selling the exploitation rights of their films on a one-on-one basis. Translated into simple terms, it means that the producer may not be successful in clinching the deal in some parts of the Overseas territory, if his film doesn't excite the individual buyers.
- The music territory - a piping hot territory at a point of time - has also turned frosty today. Barring one audio company, the remaining companies have adopted the go-slow, wait-n-watch attitude. And the sole company acquiring the rights isn't acquiring them for astronomical prices either.
The only segment making money, despite the cold wave in the industry, is the actors' fraternity. Even if film announcements have reduced, several actors have their plate full thanks to the commercials [ad films] and stage shows at award functions, hi-profile marriages, concerts… Good for them!
But, like I said, the coming weeks - starting with TANGO CHARLIE, ZEHER and MY BROTHER NIKHIL - could prove to be the saviors for the industry. I've realized, time and again, that you can't place your bets on biggies alone. Never underestimate the potential of medium/low-budget films either.
The success of Q.S.Q.T., MAINE PYAR KIYA, PHOOL AUR KAANTE, MURDER and PAGE 3 - medium-budget films all - has proved over and over again that you can deliver hits even without stars!