Be it a Rs. 5 crore or a Rs. 50 crore film, film-making is a risk! There have been exceptions like RAAZ, TUJHE MERI KASAM and JISM, but many feel that a big-budget film at least ensures a good opening. But with major production houses resorting to quickies and small-budget films, it makes one wonder if big-budget ventures are economically viable in today's times. However, despite the crisis the industry continues to face, some film-makers still prefer to opt for big-budget ventures.
Like Gaurang Doshi feels that for a big banner, only big projects make sense. With the mushrooming of multiplexes in several cities, big films are needed to get them going. "Irrespective of the fate of the producer, the distributors and exhibitors always make good money with big films since they ensure good openings. But, ultimately, it is the potential of the film that decides its run at the box-office," he says.
Bharat Shah also agrees that biggies ensure better openings, but biggies could also translate into bigger losses. He points out, "Both big and small budget films could make a producer lose money if the film is bad. But the losses are minimal as far as medium-budget films are concerned. But in the case of a big film, if the producer does not make money on table and later if the film has a bad run, then he stands to lose heavily in the process."
HIKING TICKET RATES: IS IT A WISE MOVE?
Crowds at theatres have been thinning over the years thanks to rampant video piracy and shortage of quality content. But this has not deterred exhibitors and distributors from hiking the ticket rates of eagerly-anticipated films. This trend was evident during the release of DEVDAS and recently in THE HERO. Mumbai distributor Rakesh Sippy feels, "This trend works only in the case of over-hyped films like DEVDAS and K3G. It can't work for all films."
Unfortunately, THE HERO was hyped in trade circles but not so much among the audience. Sunny Deol being a mass hero, it is a little too early to ascertain if the hike in ticket rates actually worked. Says Rajesh Thadani, "Hiking ticket rates works if the film is good. There are just one or two films of this kind in a year."
However, the hike can prove disadvantageous if the film is not great. This leads to a reduction of the ticket rates in the second week itself, which sends wrong signals to the audience. At times, a film may not even garner a solid advance [booking] because of the hike. "The collections are definitely satisfying when tickets are priced at a lower rate. I also feel that the hike should not exceed Rs. 20 to Rs. 30," Rajesh adds.
Does the hike sound unfair to the audience that takes the trouble to watch the film in theatres? Rakesh Sippy disagrees, "I think it is fair considering the way our films are faring. The business of a film is over after three months. Piracy is killing our business."
HE'S A FILM FACTORY
In an industry where not all projects announced take off, Ramgopal Varma is n exception. He has a number of films on the floors, while some are all set to take off. Ready for release is BHOOT, to be followed by DARNA MANA HAI. No wonder then he is every actor's dream producer and director.
But his projects range from big-budgets to medium-budgets. "I do not believe in big or small budgets. Ultimately, it is the requirement of a film that determines its budget" says the master maker. He admits that he is creating 'an army' [independent directors] that acts independently.
Since he obviously does not have the time to direct so many films at a time, he certainly believes in using his position to make these films happen. "I know it sounds like I am directing all the ten films on my own. I am only excited by the subjects of these films and have tremendous trust in the talent of the men who are directing them," he says.
However, his next film, EK, based on nuclear warfare, is said to be a multi-million project. Excited? Yes! But he does not want to divulge any more about this dream project.