Film industry needs to corporatise for growth:Ghai

MUMBAI: The film industry needs to pay more attention on training and education if it has to grow, according to CII national entertainment committee chairman and noted filmmaker Subhash Ghai.

"It is good to see that meetings like this one are taking place. My concern is that the film industry is not giving adequate focus to training youngsters. It is not enough to simply build multiplexes. The software must be created. For that you need writers to develop creative storylines. We have a cultural heritage that is 4000 years old," he said.

Ghai was speaking at a function last evening where the CII-KPMG report titled Focus 2010 - Dreams to Reality was released. The report focuses on film, television, radio and music.



While corporatisation has set in, the process is relatively new. "The industry has been there for 100 years while corporatisation has been there for four to five years. So it will take time for professional teams to completely be in place at the management level. It will not happen overnight. Having said that, there will be scaling up of productions," Ghai said.




CII national entertainment committee co-chairman Bobby Bedi said that project management skills are entering the film business. According to him, creativity is being better managed in terms of ideas and balancing egos. Schools are coming up like Whistling Woods. "The moment the corporate sector invests in the film industry, the reporting of expenditure becomes more accurate. After all, there are shareholders who want to know where the money is going."

Expressing concern on piracy, Bedi said that the government must seriously look into this issue.

Foreign studios still reluctant to enter the Indian film production area: One area of entertainment where FDI is allowed is the film industry. However, foreign companies are still to take advantage of this.

Pointing out that the sector was not yet ready for film production, Sony Pictures Releasing of India MD Uday Singh said the company was still three years away from entering the arena in India. "There are elements that need to come together. To give an example a film producer wanted to shoot in India. He however was clueless as to where he could information from as to the locations available and the benefits that would accrue. Eventually I ended up culling the information for him. Where does an outsider go to find out information? To NFDC's website?"

UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvalla said that certain tax issues needed to be clarified and modified. Also the film industry wanted more equity to flow in and not just debt related funding. He also suggested the creation of a film fund. "A foreign producer wants a basket of ten projects. He will not work on one at a time. Also I feel that Indian film producers should market themselves better abroad. Also the distribution and marketing units must be in the same area as production."

India did not have any big cost advantage to lure outsourcing in the film sector, according to the report. Producers can reduce their costs by 10-12 per cent by owning studio infrastructure and equipment. They should sign long term contracts. They should also enter into multiple contracts with studios and exhibitors.

Multiplexes were responsible for changing the way films were being exhibited. "Multiplexes enjoy an average 50-60 per cent occupancy rate as against 30-35 per cent for standalone screens. They increase the footfalls in shopping malls by 40-50 per cent," the report said.

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