's Perspectives on Television Industry and Films

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(Posted on 11 February 2004)

Television production companies aside, there is yet another player that has its eyes set on the film industry. It is the Indian corporate body.

Looking at the ever growing movie business pie, corporate bodies ventured into Bollywood to further their business and sales promotion in 1999. But soon, lured by the glamour and high returns, they fashioned a move to fund films. Financial institutes like the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) and State Bank of India (SBI) bank soon followed suit.

Last year, Tata moved to finance Bhatt's Aeitbaar- which was rumored to be stuck in financial troubles. Meanwhile business major Reliance, Mumbai based film distribution and exhibition house Shringar Films, multiplex group Adlabs and film distributors Kanakia group are also planning to join the bandwagon as a gradual extension.

According to the companies, the move would help them evolve as a vertically integrated film company. After all, film production is an affiliated activity.

One common consensus was that with the multiplexes trend mushrooming, there would soon be a huge demand for films in the near future. With infrastructure in place, the move would fuel the trend futher. So, in short, there is a place for everybody to chip in.

However, most veterans are a little skeptical about corporate bodies financing films. The main issue here is that corporatisation will kill individuality and creativity - crucial aspects for successful filmmaking. Some also voiced doubts about the corporates' flexibility on film deadlines.

Some think funding by banks and corporates will pen up new avenues for funding for various kinds of cinema. The move is positive as it would bring in efficiency and better management.

Even the Indian diaspora, which is a huge market for Bollywood, is now putting money into the Indian entertainment industry. Kaleidoscope Productions, US investor Purnendu Chatterjee and others are exploring the options of funding the Indian entertainment.

Chatterjee's Crossover Films has already financed two films, Priya Ruth Paul's The Perfect Husband and Parvati Balagopalan's Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula. While Media Dreams, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Pentamedia Graphics Ltd, Dreams intends to produce four movies in 2004, at an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore, in Tamil, Telugu, English and Hindi. The company had earlier financed Aparna Sen's Mr and Mrs Iyer.

Newer players in the film market are the smaller production houses and individuals from the television industry. While Kushan Nandi of Sarvodaya Visuals- producer of 88 Antop Hill, is planning another film, Deepak Tijori, despite the bad business of debut venture Oops is planning to work on four films. While three are under the Tijori Films banner, one is for movie and television actor Kunikaa's banner Karmic Konnection. Ashtavinayak's Sunjiv Puri meanwhile is awaiting the release of a forthcoming venture Agnipankh.

That apart, on the talent front, television director Vivek Agnihotri also has plans to broaden his horizon with a silver screen venture. Hansal Mehta has announced Hamrahi, Ravi Rai is planning yet another big screen venture. While Yeh Joh Hai Zindagi fame Ashok Pandit is awaiting the release of Sahara media communications Sheen, former television director Tigmanshu Dhulia, post Haasil,is awaiting release of Charas.

Despite the low success rates, most of the upcoming filmmakers are still optimistic about their ventures. Does that mean that filmmakers now will plan out a crystal clear budget but also complete film schedules on time? While the answer isn't clear, the trend however seems to be here to stay.





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