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?
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New trick by TV Channels- “We will be back in- 2:00 minutes”

Have you lately seen almost all Movie channels including this small text (just below the logo), as soon as Advertisements start- “We will be back in 2:00 minutes” or “Time remaining: 1:39 minutes”? This trend started with Movie channels but was seen as a latest edition by Star Plus during the telecast of Movie “Rockstar”. As far as I remember UTV Action was the first Channel to introduce this (although this is based on my experience and not a confirmed data) and then almost all channels started showing this. HBO has been doing a similar but not exactly the same thing- “Harry Potter (Or some movie) starts in 1:15 minutes”.

Now I don’t know who actually thought about this idea but this seems to be catching up with everyone. Including this small text as soon as advertisement starts triggers two kinds of behavior

  1. If Ads are less than 2 minutes, viewers become too lazy to switch the channel in fear of missing out the Movie.
  2. If Ads are of larger time period viewers comfortably switch the channel without the fear that they will miss out the movie.

For e.g. in UTV Action the ad slot is around 5-8 minutes but I can easily switch the channel because I know they won’t start the movie before letting me know- “2 minutes to start”.

You might not have noticed but this makes your silly idiotic TV- “interactive“. It’s a very basic form of interaction but none-the-less it’s an interaction. Other intelligent thing movie channels did some time back was including Movie name when the movie is playing.

These small things make TV viewing fun to watch, as it makes us feel important and smart.

As a viewer, do you think this has made you to watch more movies on TV off-lately?

You cannot use Filmfare and Oscars in the same sentence…Can you??

Here you go, you might say that I have already used  Filmfare and Oscars in the same sentence 😉 Just Kidding. Time to get serious…

Filmfare is just around the corner and Oscars too will be out with its Nominations on 24th Jan. So what are we talking about !!!! The reason for writing about this topic was to clear the air between to the two Awards.There are a section of people, oops fans that say that Filmfare is the Oscars of Bollywood. Where as the other section of fans don’t agree. They have gone one step ahead and said “How can you use Filmfare and Oscars in the same sentence?”


So, what next !!  Following are some of the points that might help you to decide if you can (not) use both the award functions in one sentence. 

  • It is said that Filmfare only nominates movies that are a huge hit and does not encourage small budget movies and movies that have failed to earn corers.
(Example : Filmfare has two awards for Best Movies – Popular and Critics) In my opinion, there can only be One Best Movie… like the Oscars.. What say!!!
  • Some say Filmfare focuses more on performances during the awards, and somehow end up ignoring the real hero “Cinema”
(Well, i don’t think I need to give an example, you might all agree with the performance example.. Right !!) Oscars always gives preference to the Movies and its makers.
  • Need I mention about the low standard of Jokes year after year at the Filmfare functions…. (Sorry SRK fans, but just sharing the truth)
( You might say that even in Oscars, they crack jokes… Well, do you mean Cheap Jokes.. or just Jokes )
  • Did you know that Katrina Kaif has been nominated for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (Best Actress)… Let me ask you… do you think that she even deserves to be nominated for this prestigious category ??  You can chek the Nominations in the earlier Post “Are you ready for the 57th FilmFare Awards 2012!!
  • And the best part, did you know that Vishal Dadlani and Niranjan Iyengar have been nominated for  Best Lyrics category for their song Chammak challo (RA.One) Are you surprised?? Shocked?
There are many such examples, and the list is endless. By this time you might have labeled me a Oscars fan, and me being biased to the Oscars. Well this is not true. I have been growing up watching both the awards. But somehow overs the years, there have been so may Award Functions that have sprung up in India. And every other Corporate house and TV channel are promoting their awards shows. Hence in a sense to prove which is better, these award functions end up doing the impossible and the unimaginable drama to get TRP’s. It would not be wrong to say that it’s as good as a Naach Gana show. I am not saying that we should be like Oscars, but can’t we have one award function that really celebrates Cinema… The real Hero.
As always looking forward to your views on this topic. Happy Viewing.

Film Promotions on Television : Is it a healthy trend??

Yes… off late this has been a common trend in Indian Television Industry. Every other week we see film promotions on various shows, be it Reality Shows, Dance or Musical shows. So where is this trend going? Sonam & Neel Nitin makes an appearance in (Bigg Boss season 4) recently to promote Players, Imran and Katrina seen in India’s Got Talent (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), Shahid and Sonam seen cheering the contestants of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs (Mausam) and many more… the list is endless. Every now and then film stars are seen dancing, singing and judging various reality shows.

Earlier these celebs use to make guest appearances in some of the reality shows stating it to be one of the special episodes and now the audience is wise enough to understand that this guest appearance is just to promote one of their flicks releasing on Friday. I often wonder why do these Big banners needs this kind of promotion, answer to this is attract the mass. TV and especially REALITY Show is one Medium which reaches out to every household in India. Adds and celeb interviews are common these days and it limits the viewers age group..I mean how many viewers above 40 would actually sit and watch celebs interview after all!! I am pretty sure every household follows one reality show at least or at least one daily soap so why not capture their attention and promote the movie to all age group. Television shows are huge hits in India and now it’s serving to be a gold mine for film promotions as well.

How does channel producer react to this new trend…well it’s a win-win situation for the both the parties, both get mileage out of this. Appearance of a movie star adds more color and spark to the show, increase their TRP too. It’s also a treat for the audience to have their favorite actor making appearance on various shows making them tune to a show which earlier they might not be following.

I personally feel that these promotions have gone overboard when the entire crew makes appearance on every possible show. There has to be a connect between the movie script and how it is presented in the reality show. The manner films are being promoted today kills the essence of promotion of films as well the show. We the audience feel cheated when we are forced to see a celebrity enter our favorite show every other week! Somehow the link of the television show is broken and the smooth flow is not seen. The focus shifts from finding the best Talent (Singer, dancer or any other talent) to the stars who go on and on about their films.

So viewers what’s your take on this?? Do you feel cheated as well or do you enjoy the weekly promotions of every possible movie!!………  Looking forward to your views on this topic……

iDubba Recommends- ‘Movie Plex’!

ZEE STUDIO

1.Catch me if you can:  IMDb Rating 7.8/10, Genre: Biography|Crime|Drama

Awards: Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 18 nominations.

Personal Recommendation:An FBI agent tracks down and catches a young con artist who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, assistant attorney general and history professor, cashing more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries

Watch this on Saturday, 5th June @11:15PM.

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STAR MOVIES

Quantum Of Solace:  IMDb Rating 6.8/10, Genre: Action|Adventure|Thriller

Awards:Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins & 20 nominations

Personal Recommendation:Seeking revenge for the death of his love,

secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country’s valuable resource.

Watch it on, Saturday, June 5th @9:00 PM

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SONY PIX

A Few Good Men:  IMDb Rating 7.6/10, Genre: Crime|Drama| Mystery |Thriller

Awards:Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations

Personal Recommendation:

In the heart of the nation’s capital, in
a courthouse of the U.S. government, one man will stop at nothing to keep his honor, and one will stop at nothing to find the truth.

 

Watch it on, Sunday, June 6th @2:55 PM

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STAR GOLD

Paa:  IMDb Rating 7.2/10, Genre: Drama

Personal Recommendation:Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is an intelligent and witty 13-year-old boy with an extremely rare genetic defect that causes accelerated aging. He suffers from a progeria-like syndrome. Mentally he is 13, very normal, but physically he looks five times older. In spite of his condition, Auro is a very happy boy. He lives with his mother Vidya (Vidya Balan) who is a gynecologist. Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan) is young, progressive and a full-of-ideals politician. He is out to prove to the world that ‘politics’ is not a bad word. He is a man with a mission. Auro is Amol’s son

Watch it on, Sunday, June 6th @12:00 PM

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STAR ONE


A Few Good Men:  IMDb Rating 6.8/10, Genre: Action|Drama| Mystery |Romance|Thriller

Awards: 3 wins & 10 nominations.

Personal Recommendation: Mumbai-based wealthy Sanjay Singhania is the Chair of Air Voice, lives now as a semi-crazed recluse in Odyssey Apartments in Hiranandani Complex. He was loved by Kalpana Shetty, a spunky and compassionate ad model, who rescued 25 young girls from the clutches of a gangster named Ghajini Dharmatma, but ended up getting killed by him. Sanjay has put together his past life piece by piece through tattoos, notes on his wall, Polaroid photographs, etc.. not knowing that soon he will be investigated by Inspector Arjun Yadav; betrayed by a ‘friend’ named Sunita; while Ghajini and his goons are out to erase every bit of evidence he has gathered in his apartment and thus ensure that he ends up remembering nothing

Watch it on, Sunday, June 6th @5:30 PM

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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..