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?

What to expect from upcoming second episode of Satyamev Jayate?

Satyamev Jayate – Truth Alone Prevails” premiered on Star Plus last Sunday at the time slot of 11 AM. As Aamir Khan – ‘The Star’, thought it will be cool to have the show telecasted in the same slot as the epic Mahabharta or Ramayana. Well the show debuted and created strong ripple among the masses who watched the show in full anticipation as Aamir had created this whole mystery around the show with promos being aired on every Star Network’s channel and online. I am sure Amir Khan must be thanking his stars as he received massively encouraging feedback from all the sections of the society, media, celebrities and others on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, blogging websites etc.

Here is a short synopsis of first episode of Satyamev Jayate

The first episode was based on female foeticide, a inhuman act which is practiced in many parts of the country even as we speak. The show had some shocking revelations about female foeticide and that it is a bigger problem in urban educated sections of society. The show had 3 stories that were shocking but did hit the hearts, and that was evident by the reactions of the audience in the studios. You can read the rest here on one of our previous blogs: “Dil par lagegi to baat banegi” Satyamev Jayate 1st episode reviews and reactions

So what our audience can we expect from the next episode of Satyamev Jayate?

As the first episode spoke and discussed about one of the major evil social issues that our country and society is facing, so it is obvious to assume that the upcoming episode will have some or the other social issues as well. The first show and issue was really intriguing and kept the audience hooked with their tears in eyes. So as expected ‘The Perfectionist’ – Amir has already set the bar and the audience will look forward to more from the coming episodes. Well the show had everything you need to make it a success in today’s television scenario where every show (drama or reality) is fighting for TRPs. It has the reality of our life, strong emotional quotient, some really hard hitting facts (which left everyone bewildered) and obviously a pretty star face – Aamir Khan. Undoubtedly Aamir Khan did justice to a strong host and kept the show alive without any dull moments.

The next episodes might portray other really negative issues that our government has not been able to do anything about: “Child Sexual Abuse” or may be “The plight of women’s safety in India with alarmingly raising number of rape and molestation cases”. There is something else that might take the show maker’s attention; “Child Labor and its deadly impact on the upliftment of our country” or “The stark reality behind Indian farmers attempting suicide”.

Here is a tweet from one of iDubba fans that might confirm the next episode’s theme –

Whatever may be the next social issue to be addressed or as the social media is upbeat about Amir keeping the secret and excitement for next episode intact; one thing is sure that nobody can be certain of the effective action coming out via this show. It might force us to see the real state of our country and its people but the important thing is that it should be able to bring a change.

As Amir Khan says in one of the promos of the show: “Sirf hungama khada karna mera maksad nahi, meri koshish hai ki ye soorat badalni chahiye; meri seene me nahi to tere seene me sahi, ho kahi bhi aag lekin aag jalni chahiye“. So will we be able bring a change whether in female foeticide or any other issue that will be addressed in upcoming episodes?

Do you think that “Satyamev Jayate” can bring the change; the revolution?

As they say – No publicity is bad publicity

BREAKING NEWS: All is fine between Farah Khan ,Shirish Kunder  and Shah Rukh Khan. It’s now confirmed that Farah and Kunder met Mrs. & Mr. Khan at Mannat and solved their differences. Sajid Khan, Farah’s brother was instrumental in bringing both the parties together. Mr. Kunder tweeted: “Shahrukh and I just met, had a heart to heart chat and have resolved all our misunderstandings. All animosity is now sorted for good.”  So, finally the Publicity stunt is over. Are you wondering what has this tussle to do with publicity and why was it required at all? The audience is well aware of the fact that now a days BAD Publicity benefits more than the GOOD Publicity in this industry.

Take for example, the latest publicity stunt by  Miss Poonam Pandey. Last year she tried the tantrum of cheering the Indian cricket team in World Cup Finale by promising to Strip if they won the Cup. While Dhoni’s men fulfilled their mission, she did not live upto her promise. This time, she has aimed for the high corridors of power welcoming the freshest on Twitter – the official PMO India account for the Prime Minister’s Office. You must have had a hearty laugh when you came across this…. as BREAKING NEWS 😉

And who can forget the recent tabloid news “Missing actress Veena Malik has been found” . This is totally hilarious and was blown out of proportion by the media. It seems that the Pakistani actor had gone missing from Aarey Milk Colony road while shooting for the film Mumbai 135kms for the last 15 days. Though the most eye catching publicity stunt was by Pop singer (Mika Singh) and item girl ( Rakhi Sawant) & the famous kiss. It still tops the chart amongst the “Comedy Circus” artists 😉 .  How can I miss the most blizzard publicity of Mr. Amir Khan and his Dog named “Shahrukh” . But soon, he clarifies that he bought a house and the dog came with it and the dog was named Shahrukh by its caretakers. “Shahrukh is smelling too much, I think he needs a bath.” Was there a need to make such statements? You might say, well it’s Showbiz and everything is fair in this industry, especially the war. But to what extent? 

Some might say that this is not Cheap Publicity, it’s an event that has occurred and they have full right to share it with the media. Some might argue that Stars too are humans and have emotions hence they react as any other normal person would. Some might also say that Stars have to do this in order to be in limelight. ‘No publicity is bad publicity’ is what defines the Showbiz industry, proved well over the time.

What are your views on this topic? Are you bored and tired of this cheap publicity war in the industry?