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 🙂

Mehak:

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

Abhigyan:

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.

Mehak: 

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

Abhigyan:

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.

Mehak:

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

Abhigyan:

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.

Mehak:

Has Hollywood movies doing extremely good in India affected Bollywood?

Abhigyan:

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.

Mehak:

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

Abhigyan:

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

Mehak:

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

Abhigyan:

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?

Manav Gohil of “K” fame talks about Indian TV industry and much more [iDubba exclusive]

You’ve known him as a popular Indian TV actor, but there’s lot more to him. A little boy from Gujarat came to Mumbai to fulfill his dreams and managed to create a niche for himself. Read to find out what he thinks of Indian TV today!

Interesting Conversation with Manav Gohil

Ruchi: What do you think about the TV content today? How has Indian TV evolved since a decade?

Manav: TV content has degenerated. It has been catering to the masses. Reality shows made their own way and they offered fresh content, so it worked. While, for soaps, I’d say that TV has evolved over the years; of course for the good. It has become more street smart. Special ‘Salaam’ to CID and its team, it takes a lot to keep a show on-air for more than a decade. It is truly commendable.

RS: Any abroad season you’d want to see on Indian Television in an Indian version? Why?

Manav: 24. According to me, it is a spectacular show. It’s a blend of good concept, suave acting, superb writing and smart editing. International shows have great budgets and are well written, edited smartly and that’s why they work so well, even with Indian audiences. People tend to get addicted to it. When I watched 24, for the first time, I was totally hooked on to it. So, I feel, if 24 is made in an Indian version, I hope that it lives up to its expectation otherwise it will be just another run-of-the-mill show. It has to overcome lot of limitations of Indian Television; execution matters the most! But I’d love to watch it in an Indian version.

RS: Well, Manav, you’re in for major entertainment here, as there is a buzz that famous Bollywood/Hollywood actor Mr. Anil Kapoor will be producing 24 for Indian audience.

RS: Your upcoming projects?

Manav: I’m in talks with a few production houses as well as writer friends of mine. Good things are yet to come and I’m waiting for it. I’m coming across lot of fresh content and genuinely good scripts and I’m sure to make a comeback on Indian TV with some different and exciting show for my audience.

RS: How was your experience shooting for Travel and Living channel?

Manav: Oh it was fantastic! It was more like a holiday or a second honeymoon. And the best part to do those kind of shows where you have to travel a lot; you meet a lot of people, plus the Government of that particular country takes special care. Meaning, they’ll treat you in such a luxurious way which might not be affordable if you’re just on a normal holiday. For me and my wife Shweta, it was a wonderful experience on the COSTA CRUISE travelling through the Mediterranean Sea. Over all, it was awesome.

RS: Would you be in for an educative or informative show?

Manav: Definitely, why not? I’d always like to be a part of something different and smarter; as long as it allows me to do other shows as well.

RS: TV producers and Channel are in a race of TRPs? And you think that is why the content is deteriorating?

Manav: Yes for the first half. And I don’t fully agree with the second half. See, Producers are making the shows for entertainment but we should not be impractical and neglect that it’s their money-making job! And I do not think content has fully deteriorated. It still has room for betterment. And I’m sure; there will be some path-breaking shows which will change the present scenario.

RS: You liked times back ‘then’ or ‘now’ in TV?

Manav: And comes an impromptu answer; ‘that good old times’ when there was nothing dirty about the TV when there was fruitful content in terms of shows like Rishtey, Gubbare, etc. In those times, people were also better. I’ve made such good friends and I’m thankful to God as I’m still blessed with them. In those days, everyone would work as a team ‘more’ for the show and nowadays I see/hear they all work more for themselves. It is really sad to know this. But this is the way it is! Few days back I was just talking to my friend Amit Sarin, and he said “we never realized we were so big.” Agree, that time also, competition prevailed but it wasn’t cut-throat like it is today.TV times back then were really pure and nowadays they are indifferent. Even 0.1 increase or decrease in ratings has an immense effect. I’d really want those ‘good old times’ to be back.

RS: One thing you like to change about Indian TV industry as a whole?

Manav: Content majorly. Once you’ve content without any loophole, rest all things will fall in place accordingly. But you need to have a strong script for any show to be a hit. Or, if you have a bad script and you have phenomenal actors, they’ll definitely make something watchable out of it. I have watched just few scenes of Bade Acche Laggte Hain; Ram and Sakshi are very good friends and I’m happy to know that show is doing well as it has fresh content to offer to audience. But even if the script would have been bad and if you’ve Ram and Sakshi; I’m sure they’d act so nicely that it’d become good. “karwa karwa ke bhi, Ram aur Sakshi se kitna kachra karwa lete” LOL! All the best to the team and I hope they keep the freshness alive in the show.

RS: What do you think of iDubba.com?

Manav: I think it’s a great initiative and I had a fabulous interview. To be very honest, I’ve never given such an interesting interview. I’d like to call; it was more of an interesting chat. 🙂 You guys are making a lot of effort to make a difference and to impart TV knowledge which is fascinating; and make TV watching easy. Let’s promote iDubba.com together.

RS: Thanks a lot Manav, for this wonderful ‘chat’ as you’d call it. And it is definitely good to know your view and I agree that content needs to be changed for the betterment obviously. Last but not the least, we all wish you and Shweta all the best as we know you’re soon going to be proud parents. 🙂

Cheers !!!

Interview with Sasural Genda Phool star Ragini Khanna [iDubba exclusive]

Hello to all Sasural Genda Phool and Ragini Khanna (aka Suhana) fans! As you might be knowing that this show is off-air now. We tried to catch up with Suhana (as you all know) and discussed what lies ahead for her in the industry now. She specially took out time and had an amazing conversation with me. Over to you now!

In Conversation with Ragini:

Me: As there’s a buzz, what’s your take on the show being shut?

Ragini: Hi. I’m good! I am actually not feeling anything now. As they say, every show has an ending, so be it! If the show has to end it has to end. There’s no said time for a show to remain on-air or to go off-air and its always better to shut it when it is going good and get a sensible ending; rather than just dragging it till audience gets irritated. Sasural Genda Phool has ended on a happy note; I’d consider it to be as a good ending to a new, better and bigger beginning!

Me: Well Ragini, that’s what I call smartness and practicality. I’m sure audience would also move on after a while. We wish you luck for your bigger and better opportunities.

Me: Your MOST memorable moment on the show?

Ragini: The entire journey as Suhana is memorable. But the thing I remember the most is, bullying Ashish Chethi. I used to team up with other guys and we used to bully/rag him a lot! But he’s a sweetheart. He used to always take it sportingly!

Me: Seems like a lot of fun! This reminds me of you as ‘Bharti’ in Bhaskar Bharti. LOL! Fun times 😀

Me: Can fans expect season 2 of Sasural Genda Phool?

Ragini: I’m not aware of any sequel but if it’s going to happen, then I’d definitely like to be a part of it!

Me: And what change would you want in it?

Ragini: Something which I’ve never done before. Something fresh, new and challenging!

Me: Guys, you’re free to give your craziest and whackiest of suggestions for Ragini’s role, in Sasural Genda Phool sequel (If it might just happen, who knows?)

Me: What are your next plans?

Ragini: Nothing really thought on this. I like to move with the flow. As the show’s off-air now, I’d like to spend some quality time with my family and friends, do loads of pending work and discover myself.

Me: Ah! Discover yourself. Hmm.. Being Philosophical! I like it. I’m still on it but haven’t yet fully discovered, what I want to do or become. It’s interesting!

Me: You want become a Bollywood babe or stay TV teen?

Ragini: For me, they both are just different mediums to showcase my acting skills. I’d like to be a part of both, always. (Laughs)

Me: Again a smart answer! You want to eat the cake and its icing too! Hmm.. Not bad at all. “Super like” on your thought of not literally discriminating between both the medium.

Me: Your current favourite show on TV which you’d like to be a part of and why?

Ragini: None on Indian Television. But I love watching Two and a Half Men.

Me: Oh, Wow! Its my favorite show too. Will you act if I make an Indian version of it titled ‘Two and a half women’?

Ragini: (Instantly) Oh yes! I’d love to play Charlie Sheen’s character in it.

Me: Ragini, I’m on it now! I will pen down the new concept for you.

Ragini: (Excitedly) How sweet! Do it soon.

Me: Your Big Goal of 2012?

Ragini: To discover myself. Its been so many years, but still I feel I’m a confused soul. Need to discover myself and that is my goal.

Me: Well, I hope you do discover your actual self, sooner than soon!

Me: 2 lines for iDubba fans/readers/viewers please.

Ragini: Hey first of all, please don’t call Television an idiot-box. Its very intelligent and broadcasts many intelligent shows. Infact, I feel, we are a bunch of idiots sitting in front of it. Instead we should call it “Intelligent Dubba” 🙂 And audience do educate themselves and become “Intelligent Dubba’s Intelligent Audience.” Respect to all readers and viewers who watch TV and do not consider it as an idiot-box. Love to all iDubba readers and viewers. Keep watching your favourite shows and keep loving your favorite actors and characters. Enjoy!

Ciao!

Me: Well, I hope you all have enjoyed reading it. 🙂

Would you like to see Ragini on small screen soon?

In Conversation with tomorrows Indian Idol

Shashi Suman with his friend Gaurav

Saurav : How do you  feel having given the platform like Indian Idol to prove youself?

Shashi:  Thats God’s  grace that he chose me to give me such a  talent through which i can make people happy. And on earth Indian Idol is like a God who gave me the chance to prove me and my hard work.

Saurav:Who do you sometimes feel that you are copying?

Shashi: Everyone has his or her own speciality and i never try to copy anybody,but i want to make my place in such a way that new singers and people should follow me.

Saurav: What is your Ultimate dream?

Shashi: I am not a God,i am just an ordinary person  who has a dream like anybody else.I want to prove myself since i left my home at the age of 13 to pursue music and started to earn just to learn music ,when other guys were playing and enjoying their teenage.I also want to prove my friends ,family,guruji and God too ,that i am fulfilling my responsibility as a singer,a work which was allotted to me.

Saurav: What is the best thing that you like about Indian Idol?

Shashi: The very thing that it gives a chance to new talents in India ,to exhibit their skills not only in India but other countries too.People should see that there are other people in store too,who are ready to work hard or are equally prepared to entertain people.Such is the platform that Indian Idol provides.

Saurav: If by any chance, you don’t make it big in Indian Idol,what other options as a career do you think that you have?

Shashi: If i wouldn’t be the Indian Idol,even then my practice and hard work remains with me.Hard work never goes in vain.Unfortunately if it ever happens,then i would even work harder.

Saurav: Who is your favourite singer?

Shahsi: I love classical, thumre.I love my ‘Guruji’ Ustad Gulshan Ji a lot.I am a die hard fan  of Nusrat ji,Kishore ji,Rafi Sahab,Sonu Nigam they all are milestones.

Saurav: Do you fear any contestant in Indian Idol?

Shashi: Frankly speaking ,if its anybody that i fear, it should be me.

Saurav: Are you happy with the way you are performing in this journey(Indian Idol)?

Shashi:Not exactly, i am happy that i can sing much better.Lets see what does the future hold for me?

Saurav: What is your greatest fear with respect to singing?

Shashi: I just fear that while singing i may sound unmelodious which can hurt my guruji as well as my hard work.

Saurav: There have been so many similar competitions around, don’t you think it hampers the overall quality of such competitions?.

Shashi: No i don’t think so, there are ‘n’ numbers of flowers in the market, but each of them have their own aroma.Same holds true for each of these competitions.

Saurav: By Indian Idol..what is the first thought that comes in your mind?

Shashi: Second word, its  the second word that  comes in my mind.I want to beacome an Idol.

Saurav: Earlier winners of such contests arent seen much in Indian Bollywood/Pop.What do you think is the problem?

Shashi:I think that there is no problem .They all are doing well in life.Moreover it depends on one’s destiny dear.Let see what happens, maybe i’ll bust this myth .

Saurav :You left your home when you were a teen.Had been to Banaras , Lucknow and MadhyaPradesh.So who was your friend cum family during this journey?

Shashi: Gaurav Naithani is my friend cum family to me.I knew him since i was in Lucknow.But then i moved to Mumbai as i got selected for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa(2009).Fortunately Gaurav  came to Mumbai too, to pursue his sound engineering.We live as roommates.We shared lots of happy and sad moments together.

Saurav: What do you want to say to your fans ?

Shashi: I just want to say thanks, and lots of love to them.Hey people do support and vote for me, for you are the one who can transform “Aam Aadmi to Khaas  Aadmi”.

Sunidhi Chauhan Speaks

You are now  famous through a TV singing competition. Do you see any shadow of the earlier you in the contestants?
I do relate to with the contestants on Indian Idol. Some of them are nervous, some are confident. I see my shadow in every one of the shortlisted contestants as they go through a gamut of emotions — anxiety, fear, excitement, exhilaration — everything

Give us your advice for the budding talent.
1. Don’t show attitude — it will always rub people the wrong way. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence.
2. Work Hard  and have faith. God never closes his eyes and your hard work will be recognised.
3. Be a good judge of your own strengths and weaknesses. Do not get disillusioned by false praise while at the same time don’t lose hope because of naysayers. Recognise what’s your singing strongpoint and chase it.
4. Never ever give up practice. Luckily, singing is something that can be practiced anywhere and everywhere — in the car, in the bathroom, at your workplace etc.
5. Once you taste success, do not let it get to your head. Don’t forget your roots. What you were before you became successful is as important as what you become after and the two should never differ.

How is the pay structure for the newcomers?Do you think they are exploited?
More than focusing on the apparent exploitation, let’s talk about the fact that they are given a platform. What could be more important than that? Opportunities such as these are not given enough importance and talent is not made use of to the maximum potential. We are quick to point out exploitation but we fail to understand that for success you need immense talent and immeasurable hard work. If you have these capabilities, no one can stop you or ill-treat you.

What do you like about reality talent shows?
The reach is fantastic! From holding auditions in various cities to organising bike trails to even the remotest parts of the country, Indian Idol has managed to tap into the far out recesses of the country as well. We reached out to the people who couldn’t reach us. There were no barriers at all. Believe me, this reality is REAL.

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