make unlikely bedfellows, television and films.
Especially so in India, where the entertainment
industry is clearly demarcated. You have film people
and you have television people, and the twain rarely
meet. But the scenario is rapidly changing, and
some TV production houses have been moonlighting
as film producers and have subsequently floated
film production ventures, the instances have been
sparse and spaced out. But what started as a trickle
a few years ago is a regular flood now.
Television to films: the
software production houses like Balaji Telefilms,
Cinevistaas, Creative Eye, UTV, Metalight, Pritish
Nandy Communications and Nimbus have already displayed
their big screen capabilities; smaller fry like
Optymystix, Contiloe Films and Miditech are in the
scripting stages of their own silver screen forays.
has pined its hope on 'Garv'
produced Yeh Mohabbat Hai in early 2003,
and another, Shhhh.... in the latter half
of the year. While Yeh... was a bloomer,
the thriller Shhhh
too sank without
a trace. Undeterred, the production house is going
ahead with an Indo American co-production Marigold,
apart from another long pending Salman Khan starrer,
Garv- Pride and Honour (earlier titled Sanghaar,
then Satyamev Jayate).
genre has been popular with the first timers
is the case with soap factory Balaji. The 'k' factor
has not extended its lucky run to Ekta Kapoor's
Bollywood foray. While the Liar Liar rip
off Kyonki Main Jhoot Nahin Bolta failed,
Scream and Psycho inspired Kucch
To Hai, starring Tusshar Kapoor did ho-hum business.
The film production arm is getting ready to launch
its next venture, a thriller Krishna Cottage.
vertically integrated company, Metalight, a wholly
owned subsidiary of the Singapore-based Production
Facilities Pvt Ltd, which also owns TV software
company InHouse Productions, released three films
Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar, 3 Deewanein and Satta
last year. Unfortunately, despite spending Rs 170
million on production, marketing and distribution
(Rs 90 million for Dil Vil... and Rs 40 million
for each of the other two), none created much action
at the box office. Despite the setback, the company
plans to announce three more movies soon.
television production houses are yet to meet
Creative Eye has plans to launch its 3D Plus technology
extravaganza Aabra Ka Dabra in mid 2004.
The company has also roped in Oscar winning director
Roger Christian for a joint production, Behind
the Painted Veil. On the other hand, Nimbus
that scored an ace with marketing the ICC World
Cup on Doordarshan, isn't as lucky with its silver
screen forays. Although its regional venture,a Marathi
movie Ek Hoti Vaadi, which released in December
2001, won a lot of critical acclaim, the dismal
state of the Marathi regional cinema took its toll
on the box office collections.
mainstream movie- the Rs 160 million (Rs 160 million)
Sarhad Paar starring Sanjay Dutt, Tabu, Mahima
Choudhary- is still in limbo. Another regional production,
the Suresh Krishna directed Telugu multi starrer
Idhi Maa Ashoggaadi Love Story didn't meet
with much success. But according to the industry
sources, the company should be ready to make some
big announcements real soon.
transition from being television content provider
to cinema content provider
television content company that has succeeded in
its cinematic foray is Pritish Nandy's PNC. The
company's first offering Samar in 1999 won
the President's Award for the Best Film. While 2000's
Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi and 2001's cult crossover
film Bollywood Calling met with mixed response,
2002's Kaante broke box office records. The
Lucky Ali starrer musical Sur was appreciated
for its music, but what really set the ball rolling
was 2003's first surprise hit Jhankaar
Beats. PNC's movie list thus far includes Sur,
Samar, Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi, Bollywood Calling,
The Mystic Masseur, Kaante, Jhankaar Beats, Mumbai
Matinee and the latest hit Chameli.
coming up in the next three months are the long
pending Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, which is
a love story set against the backdrop of political
turmoil during the Emergency; Shabd starring
Aishwarya Rai; the frisky sounding Popcorn Khao
Mast Ho Jao, directed by Kabir Sadanand and
to be left behind are the broadcasters, who are
either investing in silver screen ventures or are
floating companies for their arc light forays.
period film 'Gadar' went agains all norms
but yet turned out be a success
Telefilms' film division is an already established
venture. Its debut venture Gadar- Ek prem Katha
did big business,and now the company has tied
up with Rajshri Productions for distribution. Matching
it step for step is Sahara media communications.
Unfortunaltely, its previous ventures like Feroz
Khan's Janasheen failed to create even a
ripple at the box office. According to industry
rumour, Sahara has planned a whopping 50-movie project.
The latest on this front is that the company has
tied up with K Sera Sera and Varma Corp in a Rs
350 million (35 crore) deal. The deal envisages
production of ten movies in a period of two and
B4U has a co-production deal with idream productions,
the latest to join the feature film bandwagon is
Star India, which has inked a deal with UTV for
a three big budget film project, each estimated
to cost around Rs 250 to Rs 300 million.
Adhikari Brothers, notwithstanding the dismal performance
of 1993's Bhookamp, plans to hit the Rs 9
billion film production marquee with Waajah
a reason to kill. The movie is scheduled for
an early 2004 release.
element aside, what seems to have fuelled the feature
film drive is the multiplex trend. "Growth
of multiplexes ensures that there is an audience
for the movie. There are about 17 multiplex screens
in Mumbai and four to six more coming up in a few
months' time," offers Creative Eye CEO Dheeraj
Kumar. Seconding his view is Optimystix producer-
writer Vipul D Shah, "What really gave us a
push is the multiplex trend but I guess there is
a certain aspiration in every television professional
to make it to films. My partner Sanjeev is an ad
film maker and I am a writer and we have, since
a long time, wanted to 'tell our story'. What was
really the initiation point was that despite our
movie being a small budget movie Rs 35-40 million,
we were assured that it would be watched."
apart from the availability of the screen, the possibility
of a niche 'segmented' film being watched has increased.
Therefore, a low budget movie has an equal chance
of recovering its money alongside a big budget extravaganza.
far as the broadcasters go, besides widening their
area of expertise, they get the satellite rights
of the movies produced.
is even more puzzling is that despite not
one success story to inspire, thus far, the
production houses are driving towards big
screens in droves
that making movies is a good business idea, especially
since it is an Rs 40 billion plus film industry
churning out over 200 films per year. But the question
lingers - are production houses really adept at
making films? What is even more puzzling is that
despite the absence of even one success story to
inspire thus far, production houses are driving
towards big screens in droves.
all, movie making is just another means of story
telling and television software companies do seem
to have the facilities. But there is a catch - production
houses don't take into consideration the sheer fact
that while television is essentially a close up
medium, films comprise long shots and middle frames.
Even in terms of production values, it's okay to
shoot a daily or a weekly on just two sets but that's
a strict no-no for films.
kind of skills that are required to getting a film
off the ground, making it marketing it and distributing
it are completely different from the television
programme," says Zee Telefilms Ltd. Film Division
CEO Nittin Keni.
senior media marketing executive offers, "Movie
business in India is a series of dream sequences.
While television is all about budgets and deadlines,
not necessarily a bad thing. But in a bid to make
a movie on time, the television guys allow mediocrity
to seep into the logistics. That's exactly the reason
why most of the films from production houses have
not done well."
market isn't conducive for the mid budget
another important aspect is that the logistics of
filmmaking are completely different and so is the
level of professionalism in the industry. It is
an extremely rare occurrence that a film is completed
on schedule and budget allocations are seemingly
a myth. While a newcomer learns to adapt to the
norms of the industry, television companies try
to adhere to their television discipline, which
goes against the grain of Indian filmmaking.
this statement, an independent filmmaker and senior
television executive commented, "Even a film
has a budget constriction, but the reason why many
of the TV production house films are failing is
because they are slack in story telling. Be it Office
Office or Munabhai MBBS, both have their
moments of brilliance and that is what the film
production houses should keep in mind."
for the not-so-brilliant yet opulent movies that
are crowd pullers, it is not just luck but calculated
strategy that counts. In the current scenario, it
is movies that are either Rs 300+ billion extravagant
affairs that work well or it is the lower Rs 30-40
billion movies. The market isn't conducive for Rs
80-150 billion mid budget movies. Therefore,
you have the likes of Pinjar, Waisa Bhi Hota
Hai not getting enough business, while low budget
ventures like Jism, Jhankar Beats work well.
Incidentally, the films produced by Balaji and Cinevistaas
were mid budget films.
consensus is that producers should be able to assess
the worth of their film and work keeping that in
mind. Unlike television, faces and names help assess
the value of the film. Hence you can't make a high
budget film with small stars.
that mean that movies with good storyline and produced
keeping the current market scenario in mind have
chances of making it big? Not necessarily. What
is also required is a great marketing push. The
budget of the movie doesn't matter, what does is
the marketing that requires Rs 10 billion plus.
brings us back to the basics. Is the trend of television
producers and broadcasters turning film producers
a positive one? Looking at it purely as a business
option - yes, considering the Hindi movie pie is
forever increasing. Will this trend last long? Ideally,
it should. TV software companies need to adapt the
US entertainment paradigm, look at both media as
equal opponents and bridge the chasm. As for now...
let's wait and watch.
share in the ad pie will grow to six or seven per
cent in four to five years" - an interview with
Zee Telefilms Ltd. Film Division CEO Nittin Keni