Profit for all, loss for none
This time around, Himesh Reshammiya ‘s strategy is quite clear. Unlike Karzzzz where high price of the film resulted in a flop tag being associated with inside the opening weekend itself, Radio comes with one line vision of ‘Profit for all and loss for none. “We don’t want to get into a situation where just a single person earns”, says Himesh who, along with the makers of Radio, has formulated a model where everyone in the value chain earns well, “In case of Karzzzz, only Bhushan Kumar earned but BIG Pictures lost. I want a different scenario for Radio. This is why the film has been sold at the kind of price which would be easy to recover and also result in profits to be earned.”
Table profit for Radio
By means of satellite, music and video rights, the makers of Radio have already earned a neat table profit of Rs.1 crore. From this point on, it’s the distributors who should be raking in moolah, hence going by the model of ‘everyone earns from Radio‘. “The film has been made at a budget of Rs. 6 crores, everything included, and that sum has already been recovered by the producer Ravi Agrawal. It’s a happy situation for everyone since all territories have already been sold on M.G. which is remarkable since most other movies are sold on advance or commission basis”, Himesh talks business here.
Himesh’s own remuneration
Himesh hasn’t charged a penny for Radio. Even though there were talks till a couple of years back that his fees for the triple role of an actor, singer and composer was Rs. 3 crores, Himesh changed his stand for Radio. Instead of hard cash, he has become a part of the business model for Radio. “My remuneration of Radio is the Mumbai territory and 50% of all the profits that are earned from the theatrical run. This way no one complains. If the film succeeds, which I am sure it will, I gain some good moolah. God forbid if it doesn’t, then it’s only me who has to worry. Rest everyone would have still made their money.”
The Chupke Chupke v/s Sholay comparison
While Karzzzz was sold at more than Rs. 30 crores, Radio is being pegged at just a little more than Rs. 6 crores. Does this mean that for Himesh it is a step down when it comes to his market value? “How can one say that”, reasons Himesh, “Chupke Chupke and Sholay were released in the same year and both starred Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in the lead roles. Were they sold at the same price? It doesn’t happen that way. Every film has its sensibilities and target audience. Some are made for mass commercial appeal while there are others that have a touch of class to them and are aimed at a select segment of audience.”
Which segment does Radio belong to?
Himesh is candid enough to admit that from Karzzzz, he has learnt a lesson that not all audiences can be pleased through one film. “Look at the hit v/s flop ratio of the films that release every year. There are so many films being made that are seemingly targeted at universal audiences. How many of these succeed? May be three or four. The best way out is to identify the kind of audience that you are catering to and make your film for them. Radio is for the multiplex junta and that too for a niche audience that wishes to look at the complexities of relationships in today’s times. This is why we are touching upon compatibility issues, f%^k buddies, emergence of Facebook, relationship status etc. etc.”, explains Himesh.
Unlike Karzzzz that was released on hundreds of prints with a dozen odd shows running every day, Radio would be seeing a meagre release which is just enough to get the houseful signs on. Himesh has a reference in Karan Johar‘s strategy as he talks about the release plans of Radio. “Look at the way Wake Up Sid has performed ever since it’s release. With names like Karan Johar and Ranbir Kapoor, they could have gone all out and flooded the market with prints. But they didn’t do that and basically focused on a select target audience. Result is that the film has managed to sustain so very well over the weeks and doing great on word of mouth. That’s the kind of plan we have for Radio as well. We certainly don’t want to get into an overdrive.”
So why are the makers of Radio and Himesh making such declarations well in advance even though the film is about a month away? Simple. They want to steer clear of any debates that may happen after the release of the film when industry begins challenging its hit/flop status. Himesh starts explaining, “If you look at the way films have performed this year, even the biggest of them have come under scrutiny. Except for a Wanted or Love Aaj Kal, every film is being looked at with suspicion when they declare themselves as hits. Neither do I know whether these films worked or not nor am I in the know-how of their deals. But we see how we continue to debate around the ultimate box office outcome of an All The Best or a Blue or a London Dreams. That’s unfair as I am sure their makers too must have devised a business model around the money recovery. It’s just that in case of Radio, we are laying bare facts open for all to look at and comment. It is better that it happens well in advance before we start counting box office collections which would actually be an added bonus.”