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?

Sequel Mania – Is it a healthy trend !!!

Bollywood is following the sequel trend that is already a rage in Hollywood. Box-Office will witness a series of sequels in the coming months. Will they be huge hits as their predecessor movies or will they crash? Only time, movie and audience reaction will tell us that 😉 . Sajid Khan’s- Housefull 2, Kunal Deshmukh’s- Jannat 2, Ramesh Taurani’s – Race 2, Sachin Yardi’s – Kya Super Cool Hai Hum, Vikram Bhatt’s –Raaz 3 and 1920-The Evil Returns, Milan Luthria’s – Once Upon A Time in Mumbai 2 are few sequels much awaited this year.

So do you think the trend of doing sequels is healthy for Indian Film Industry? Well, the success of Munnabhai and Golmaal will certainly help us find answer this question. You might come up saying there have been some sequels which were not as popular as rest but isn’t the number is limited. Bollywood has witnessed a successful run of sequels to films like Dhoom, Munnabhai, Golmaal, Hera Pheri and Murderto name a few. And many more such sequels are all set to hit the movie theaters soon.

Some of you might question that why the film-makers are not coming up with New/original ideas, why some of them are just in search of a classic movie to just break it into pieces and they making a sequel. Going by the current trend, even before a film releases, filmmakers start planning its sequel going by its trade buzz. But while planning a Sequel, Dear Film-makers please also note that the Audience is always in a search of something new in the sequel and hence it’s important to portray something new & bring a new flavour. You must have noticed one interesting trend in Indian films, which is although most of these sequels repeats the characters but sometimes the story is completely different as compared to the predecessor film.

It takes you to a different world of story as if there was never a previous version of the movie. Also since the audiences are able to connect well with the movie and the characters and it become easier for the movie-makers to lure the audience to theatre. But at the end of the day, there is also a gamble in making a sequel, one had to live up to the expectations of the audience based on the first film. A badly made sequel can destroy the soul of the first film. And that’s the worst thing you can do. (Darna Zaroori Hai) 

Do let us know your views on this topic.  Which is your favourite Sequel Movie?

Happy viewing.

From real hits to fake number game- Bollywood’s new strategy to lure viewers

Did you read that big Ad on almost every news paper saying “Blue collects 100 Crores in revenue”? And, more importantly did you read the same movie’s review on any newspaper or website? Quite contrasting. Right? Call it a normal phenomena or astute strategy but this has surely taken toll on almost every new Bollywood release! These days movies are known not by their general reviews but by how much collections they are able to make at Box-office.

I have even seen Directors and Actors trying to prove critics wrong by telling them numbers. I saw one interview of Akshay where he assured “Who says ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ is a flop? The movie was able to recover most of its expenses.”. continue reading..