BollywoodCorporates have changed the economics of moviemaking, says veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai who has been making films for 35 years. He believes star fees as well as the cost of production has gone up, making most filmmakers run into losses.
“When big corporate companies entered the film industry, the cost of production as well as the cost of stars witnessed a drastic jump. A star used to take Rs.3 crore for a film, but his or her fees jumped up to Rs.30 crore. These big companies changed the grammar of business,” Ghai told IANS in an interview here.
“There’s a lot of competition and to please investors, filmmakers used to say, ‘See we are working with a Khan’. The economics went for a roller-coaster ride and after an imbalance, filmmakers suffered losses. Now all the filmmakers are running into losses because they played it the wrong way. The pressure of a star on a producer is too high,” added the 66-year-old.
The year 2011 witnesses maximum numbers of newcomers entering Bollywood and Ghai says filmmakers were forced to work with new talents after the economics of Indian cinema went upside down.
“All filmmakers cannot afford to make a film with a budget of Rs.30 crore. Hence they turned to newcomers, that’s why there are maximum newcomers this year. I would call this the year of new talent and you will see some new stars in 2012,” he said.
Ghai is gearing up for the release of two new films “Love Express” and “Cycle Kick” produced under his banner Mukta Arts. Made with fresh faces, both the films are releasing June 10.
“Love Express” has 11 newcomers that include directors, actors, sound recordists as well as editors and most of these young talents are from Ghai’s film and media school and Whistling Woods International, while for “Cycle Kick” he roped in youngsters from outside his institution.
Ghai says he has also witnessed a drastic change in the tastes of the cinegoers.
“The best pictures were made in the 1950s like ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam’ and ‘Pyaasa’ because at that time only the upper middle class used to watch the film and the perception of other classes of people was that film watching is not good,” said Ghai.
“In the 1970s, the audience was the masses, that is right from the illiterate, labour class, to middle class and upper middle class – all used to watch cinema. And then with films like ‘Taal’ and ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, the tastes of people changed.
“Also with the advent of multiplexes, the culture has changed. Today, for people, it (watching a movie) has become an event. The audience is segregated – the masses are separate, classes are separate, students are different, families are different. Now the student audience is 75 percent (of the total),” he added.
An alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII), Ghai started his career as an actor with “Taqdeer” (1967) and also featured in super duper hit “Aradhana” (1969).
He weilded the megaphone for the first time for “Kalicharan” starring Shatrughan Sinha that went on to be a blockbuster. And he continued his successful journey with “Karz” (1980), “Hero” (1983), “Karma” (1986), “Ram Lakhan” (1989), “Pardes” (1997) and “Taal” (1999).
Post-”Taal”, he ventured into production full-fledged, with Prakash Jha-directed 2001 movie “Rahul”, but as a producer he tasted success with “Joggers’ Park”, “Iqbal” and “Black & White”.
In 2006, he opened Whistling Woods International, which provides training in direction, production, editing and all the other technical departments.
Some of his latest releases failed to set the cash registers ringing and Ghai admits his effort to establish Whistling Woods moved his focus away from films.
“I am not a businessman. I am a writer-director and when I started my institute, I kept on putting money without realising if I would be able to recover my cost, as a result my films got affected. I kept spending on my institute and now we are running in losses, but happily. Now I have to make films to compensate losses,” Ghai said.