What’s wrong with Indian entertainment and why Rs 100 Cr Bollywood club is not cool?

We recently interviewed Abhigyan Jha Founder & CEO of Undercover Productions Ltd (the man behind JayHind TV and hits like Movers and Shakers). We asked him what he thought about the Rs 100 Cr club which Movie makers feel proud of and what challenges Indian entertainment industry is facing. The answers he gave are very candid, fascinating and revealing. Read them with your eyes wide open 🙂


Why do u think 100 Crore Bollywood club is not cool?


We have 121 crore people in this country so accordingly it doesn’t make sense. If a movie is making 100 crores business that means it’s collecting less than Rs 1 per capita which is extremely low. If we take example of US which has 310 million people, and movies there make upto 3-4 dollars per capita, we can see a huge difference. The simple reason for this huge disparity is that most Indians are not watching Bollywood movies and it proves that the content of our movies is getting pathetic. These figures about how much a movie has collected from the success at box office are misleading for a country like India. 3 idiots was the only movie that came close to selling 3 crore tickets in last 30 years. The top 3 Bollywood films by Box Office Gross ever are Mughal-e-Azam, Ganga Jamuna & Sholay and 3 Idiots is at a lousy 36th spot. (as per Box Office Bollywood Gold Standard). Shahrukh Khan’s movies are not even in the top 40. Mr. Bachchan has only 2 movies in top 50 – Sholay and Amar Akbar Anthony and he was not the solo actor in both. Mr. Dilip Kumar comes out as the biggest hero. Most of his films are in the top 20 grossing films. What went wrong was that after 1980 our filmmakers started making really bad movies.

When you call movies like Sholay and Mughal-e-azam, Superhits with collections close to or higher than Rs.1000 Crores, in the same breadth you cannot call movies like Housefull, a hit by any standard. We should not be told how much money, the movie made but instead how many people are actually watching the movie: How many tickets were actually sold. Movies, Television shows and Music in our country are not serving the right content but everybody is in denial mode that nothing is wrong. We are being told numbers which mean nothing: no one can get a sense out of TRP and Box Office Gross that very few people are actually watching even the so called HITS! Nobody will be able to tell you how many viewers are watching a “2.5 TRP rated show” ! Not even the channel people would know except for the strategy and marketing team. The Hindi Speaking market in India is at least 50 crore people out of which only 70 lakhs would be watching a show whose TRPs are 2 or more. In 1992-93, on a Hit series like say Dekh Bhai Dekh: each episode was made between 5.5 or 6 lakhs and unbelievably, the amount spent per episode of a show is the same today as well. After 20 years of inflation & Rupee Devaluation.


So you think the content as whole is degrading? Not just movies?


We all remember Altaf Raja? He sold 27 lakh cassettes of his non-movie album near the end of 1990s and today an artist cannot sell even 2 lakhs. People are paying to get Airtel’s own jingle as ringtone but not Hindi Bollywood music. What can you do when everybody is in denial?

The recent show Satyameva Jayate had received a TRP of 3.0. Apparently Amir Khan has spent 30 crores on marketing and 7 crore per episode. They were trying to reach around 12 million people of India by telecasting the show on Doordarshan apart from Star Network. But this is not enough if they got 3 ratings for the show. It is a complete waste.

Let’s take another brilliant example- UK has a population of 60 million people and its number one show is the Music reality show done by ‘Simon Cowell’ which has around 9-10 million viewers. That’s a whopping 17-18% of the population.


Why these days no “real” blockbuster Movie is coming out of industry?


They have forgotten how to make a blockbuster and they have given up. It is like ‘Baniya’ game. Just like a small merchant would not like to make it big, similarly the Indian filmmakers never think of scale. They put 20 crores in a film and getting back 100 crores and this is sufficient for them. Nobody has been able to scale as they are satisfied. The filmmakers are looking at small number of people and at a much smaller universe. We don’t have the reach or the ambition to scale. Nobody is attempting to make it big. We don’t want to grow and we look at everything from the wrong side. A question to the filmmakers – Why do u make a film? Is it because you want to make money or you want people to watch your movie by showing them an amazing story and screenplay? If it is just the money then these filmmakers should have chosen the job of bankers, merchants or something else.

Can we even think of putting Yashraj Productions in comparison to Walt Disney? Can we compare what SRK does in terms of movies in comparison to Tom Cruise?

This year, IPL connected around 20 crore people in one or the other way. IPL alone is more than half of our Bollywood industry in terms of theatrical revenues. This proves that Bollywood is failing massively at attracting audiences to watch it’s movies.


Has Hollywood movies doing extremely good in India affected Bollywood?


No they are not doing extremely good but they have started doing well now. It started from the first Spiderman in India which had made the highest collection by a Hollywood film at the time.


Do you think Hollywood will surpass Bollywood in India in upcoming times? If yes, what lessons Bollywood needs to learn?


Yes, it can. Distribution system of Bollywood is to be blamed primarily. These are family based distribution systems that need to be changed.


Is there a hope that this pathetic content being delivered continuously can change?


Content can change and it is possible. It might change tomorrow or day after tomorrow. It doesn’t take much time/effort to change.

Vicky Donor was a recent good example. If an average film is like Vicky Donor, in quality then it’s a good sign. Paan Singh Tomar is another example of a movie which was not marketed properly but if it had been marketed like Kahani then it could have done better than Kahani.

So here we are throwing some really open questions to our Movie and TV show makers. What do you think of Indians as an audience?

15 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Indian entertainment and why Rs 100 Cr Bollywood club is not cool?

  1. I read this in one of the interviews by SRK where he said that unless we make good movies, all the regional film industries (just like Hindi Film Industry) is going to be extinct and be taken over by Hollywood where the good cinema comes from. Because the younger generation have access to internet, cinema halls, torrent and they would realize what is good and move towards Hollywood.

    He said this during the promotions of Ra.One which is a bit of an irony. But a good point nevertheless.

  2. This interview should be taken forward and specific suggestions/remedies about film content, technology and marketing and distribution discussed. Also, you missed Rajnikant films.

  3. Well said sir, Fully agree with you.. i believe that Bollywood and Hollywood started together the race… और आज वो कहा पहुच गए और तुम (Bollywood) कहा रह गए…..
    (for Yashraj Banner #Chutiyon #DareToThinkBeyondLoveStory)

    • that’s the way to look at it. we were with them in the race till around the time Mughal E azam was made. we were still trying hard till Sholay was made. & then we became absolutely pointless & then downright disgusting.

  4. Well said sir, Fully agree with you.. i believe that Bollywood and Hollywood started the race… together और आज वो कहा पहुच गए और तुम (Bollywood) कहा रह गए…..
    (for Yashraj Banner #Chutiyon #DareToThinkBeyondLoveStory)

  5. Tell me one thing here, Please. Do you think film makers are fools? There are so many film scholars here, evn am a film student. It just easy on your behalf to say film makers are stupid, you dont know the pressure on us nobody’s gonna fund until and unless its a bankable project.. And look what shit is selling today ‘rowdy, housefull’, who’s buying it?? you people. why dont you reject these movies..

    There are so many good projects coming from last 3-4 years but who cares ?? you dont go and watch that in theatres. everyone just go gaga over anurag’s project but how many of you are watching it! very low as comparative to ‘rowdy rathore’ crowd.
    I think somewhre its the Audience also who has to blame for it

    • did you read the above properly? that’s the point made. audiences have abandoned Bollywood. Majority aren’t watching. so yes Bollywood is being stupid. Their fate is that of Kodak & Nokia. You go extinct when you don’t evolve. Rowdy Rathore is not accepted by people, this whole post is about why 100 cr grossing films are not actually a hit. read first. then comment.

  6. Start serving some good content on your show Jay Hind first. You were using public platform to take your anger out on your rival Anurag who is, by the way, far better & successful than you.

    • er ahem : moe than 12 years ago I made a pathbreaking show called Movers & Shakers that had an audience of more than 20 million each night. Anurag will do well to get 20 million audience at one time for anything he does before we discuss success.

  7. This is good article, but entire base is wrong.

    You have taken GOLD as base for calculating footfalls. This is completely wrong and ignorance criteria. Footfalls count with number of tickets sold, not on basis of GOLD price.

    Gold prices were almost steady from 1934-1970 .. the varied between Rs. 30-35. Almost no variaiton at all. But from 1970-1980 price shoot up from Rs. 35 to Rs. 650. This is huge variation of Rs. 615 (Check this link for confirmation : http://www.zaverat.com/d_goldpricerecord.php)

    Now come to ticket prices. Ticket prices from 1950 to 1980 varied between 50 NP to Rs. 4. So if a Dilip Kumar movie collects 5.5 Crore in 1960 with ticket price of Rs. 1.5 , you have taken its value as per GOLD rate of Rs 35 as 550/35 = 157. And movie released in 1979 Muqaddar ka sikandar collecting 10 Crore when average ticket prices were Rs. 2.5 .. you have taken its value as 1000/650 = 1.53. So as per GOLD standard MEA collects 100 times more than MKS. But as per ticket value .. MEA was seen by 7.5 Crore (11(Gross)/1.5) audience and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar was seen by around same audience of 8 Crore (20(Gross)/2.5). This is rough calculation. But we can see by taking GOLD as standard MAE was seen by 100 times more audience than MKS, but by taking ticket price as standard (which is actual one) both have same number of footfalls.

    I am only trying to prove here is that this entire discussion has huge loop hole .. which is GOLD STANDARD .. base for calculating footfalls should be ticket prices only. And WRT ticket price .. top 20 movies will have most of bachchan movies.

    • Dear Yakuza,

      I have already posted your own calculation but as I pointed out yesterday to you : 1. Gold standard was not used to count footfalls above. It was used to demonstrate the value of Mughal E Azam Collection would be 1400 crores today applying the Gold Standard. and if Gold didn’t appreciate for many years after MEA was made – that’s actually artificially depressing its BO collections. Actually the amount would be much higher today if you inflation adjusted since 1956. so 100+ crores today is not even 1 crore back in 1956
      By this Box Office collection rule Bachchan’s films didn’t collect much and thus are not in the TOP 50 highest money collection movies of all time.

      2. Footfall in my interview has been implied only for today’s movies. so 100 crore + collection divided by Avergae Ticket price of 100+ yields us less than 1 crore audience size (footfall)

      Lastly, by your argument Bollywood has really done badly as the ticket prices have become far lower in value compared to the rate of inflation & gold – which means movie tickets are more affordable today and since 1980 – and thus more people should have been watching. But this has not happened.

      When someone paid 1.5 INR to watch Mughal E azam – that was a hell of a lot of money because Gold was at INR 30. today Gold is at INR 30000 and ticket price is only 150 – there is no way 30 movie tickets can get you 10 grams of Gold. so tickets are on an average 1000 times cheaper today than they were in 1956.
      and population is double that of 1956.

      even then we can’t manage 5 crore footfall today. this should tell you how screwed we are.

      • Footfall has definitely gone down. But we can’t compare two movies from different decades at any level. There is huge change in business scenario and audience patronizing cinema.

        I will give you a very fine example.

        1. Agneepath in 1990 collected around 6.18 Crore Nett and was a perception flop, business wise average.

        2. And new Agneepath is Blockbuster movie collecting 125 Crore in 2012.

        3. Now would you like to know what was footfall of Old Agneepath. It was more than 3 Crore as per my calculation given above. But moreover a magazine scan from 1990 saying around 3.5 Crore audience watched Agneepath in 1990. See this .. http://bollybusiness.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/agneepath1990-scans-from-magazine-footfalls-of-3-5-crore-audience-testified-here/

        4. And new Agneepath(2012) watched by roughly 1.40 Crore audience. So basically this is level of Blockbuster movie today.

        5. Now if we compare within similar operating environment, Old Agneepath watched by around 43% audience of biggest hit around that time i.e Maine Pyaar Kiya(7 Crore footfalls) came just few months back. And ticket prices were same for both movies as both were released within 2 months gap.

        6. New Agneepath(2012) also watched by 43% audience of biggest Hit around i.e. Three Idiots (3.2 Crore footfalls)

        7. So we come at conclusion that Old Agneepath(3.5 Crore) had more viewership compared to new Agneepath (1.4 Crore). Within same business scenario both had 43% audience of biggest Hit around respective time. Still Old was flop and new one is Blockbuster.

        So basically crux of matter is, we don’t have real Blockbuster today. Most are made up. Even three idiots was just a good Hit, nothing more. Its just that money looks big, otherwise potential is still much more.

        And last ..

        8. Do you know what is potential of movie released in 3000 prints ? It can collect around 43 Crore in single day if full capacity. In one week, full capacity of any movie released on 3000 prints is around 300 Crore (weekdays capacity is 31 Crore).

        9. And maximum collection in single day was 25 Crore for RA.one(second day). Even this was just 58% occupancy for a day which was termed as historical.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s