A couple of years back there was huge brouhaha around the budget of Akshay Kumar-Sanjay Dutt starrer Blue being pegged at a mighty Rs.100 crores. Very recently the same phenomenon repeated with Shah Rukh Khan-Kareena Kapoor's Ra.One where it was widely publicised as the costliest Indian movie ever made with a budget in the excess of Rs.150 crores. It's a different matter though that around the release, official numbers declared by the makers turned out to be much lower.
"Right through their making, Ra.One as well as Blue carried huge speculations around their actual budget. Sale holds good for other biggies in the past like Hrithik Roshan's Kites or Salman Khan's Veer. When it comes to superstars, trade as well as industry tends to get a little carried away. This results in inflated numbers floating around various sources", says an industry expert, "The makers too refrain from making any official confirmation since talks centred on huge budgets only ends up keeping their films in the limelight."
No wonder, the makers of the next big film Players aren't willing to take chances and have promptly come forward to reveal the real budget of the film. Though rumour has it that this multi-starrer heist action thriller by Abbas-Mustan costs anywhere in the upwards of Rs.75 crores with some even pegging the film at Rs.90 crores, the makers have declared Players budget as much more reasonable Rs.45 crores.
"What's the point in first making those big statements and then giving out sundry details around recovery etc", says a fellow filmmaker, "For audience it's the film that matters most and not the crores that have been pumped in. Also, for a film with not a single actor belonging to the Top-5, it would be foolhardy to either spend money in an insane manner or float stories around doing so even if that's not the case. We have to learn our lesson from disastrous response to films that have tried doing that and have landed up with an egg on their face. It is better to carry some restrain."
This is something that Abbas-Mustan kept in mind as well. While they ensured that Players gets a larger than life treatment with an extensive shooting schedule in Russia lending it the required grandeur, the budget spent has been high but not gone over the roof.
Though Abbas-Mustan were unavailable for comment, a source close to their production house confirms, "Rs.45 crores have been spent on the making of Players, that's final. Add to that the print and publicity cost and we are not exceeding Rs.55 crores here. It's a safe model that we have in place here and given the kind of response that the promos of Players have generated, we are sure of a comfortable game ahead."