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Speeches at the Inaugural Address

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Pawan Chopra, secretary of the I&B mministry observed that we were living in rapidly-changing, exciting times and we must keep pace with the changing trends and not slow down. He said whatever policy decision was taken in this regard would be implemented by his ministry without any delay. Maharashtras deputy CM, Chhagan Bhujbal reminded the gathering that his government had done its best to make Dadasaheb Film City a dream project. There were 15 studios of which nine were air-conditioned and two more would have this facility. Film City is attracting not only Sony and Universal Studios, but also producers from Denmark, South Korea and Sri Lanka. Another achievement is that Adlabs have opened their IMAX theatre. The government is taking keen interest in the multiplex but I cant announce the policy now because the assembly session is on. But it will be announced before the end of the session, he said.

Bobby Bedi who chalked out the two-day sessions said he was thrilled with the overwhelming response. We have the support from the financial institutions and the government. We have got recognition which has catalysed the entire effort and our industry will be on par with any other industry, he gushed. Formally welcoming Sushma Swaraj and Amitabh Bachchan, FICCI president Chirayu R Amin said, We started with a dream two years ago to corporatise the film industry. What had seemed nebulous then has become a reality today. According to me Sushma Swaraj is friend, philosopher and guide to the industry and the proof is the large turnout. The aim of this convention is to bring Indian film industry on par with Hollywood in quality. IDBI has played a crucial role in this growth.

Lalit Modi, chairman of the entertainment committee, wanted India to create a dent in the global market by laying grounds for a dynamic corporate film industry. DTH has opened up another avenue for TV entertainment is no longer marginalized. One sixth of the population of the world is Indian and if imaginatively marketed, Indian products have four times a better chance than its American counterparts, he added. IDBI chairman SK Chakraborty said that the reason he was participating in the convention despite the gruelling year-ending season, was because of the tremendous response. He thanked Sushma Swaraj for taking keen interest in funding films. In our board meeting on March 16, we have sanctioned Rs 100 crore for funding films, ranging from Rs 5 crore to Rs 25 crore per film. But I insist on quality. I will not compromise on this aspect, he said pointing out that money was no problem as he had sanctioned Rs 1000 crore to a project.

MS Banga, chairperson of Hindustan Lever, had the audiences rapt attention when he made his points with characteristic lucidity. He said it was a crucial point in the evolution of the entertainment industry as the opportunities are huge and immense. India is getting richer and enormous change is taking place in the mindset of people from self-denial to self-indulgence. Let me cite an example. It is not just films, TV, video or music but cricket, too, is drawing high TRPs. Changes are taking place much faster in moffusil and rural areas. I do a lot of travelling and I find that there is an increase of 40 to 50 per cent in the consumer products. Tea is found everywhere and anytime. But films have a very short life compared to tea. You can reduce the risk by knowing the pulse of the market and finding ways and means to getting your ideas tested.

We need better marketing: Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchans speech was candid and he expressed satisfaction that entertainment was finally being considered serious business. My brother and I gave a serious thought to setting up a business in 1980. We figured that if Hollywood was the second largest export earner for America, why cant India, which is the largest film producing country in the world? But it was only in 1995 we realized that the time was ripe. We decided to bring films, TV, Video, music and stage shows under one roof and usher in a corporate culture. But our mistake was that we overlooked the unique way films are made in India. Normally, a film is made in stages as producer shoots a song, then some action scenes to attract distributor and expects instalments to come from financier and distributor to complete the film. Not every producer can be a Yash Chopra, Feroze Khan or Subhash Ghai. We had recruited the best from the corporate sector. But there was a problem in management, with 80 per cent of our time lost in telling them what to do and only 20 per cent of the time left for creativity. That is where things started going haywire. I am glad that now the coporatising is a reality thanks to Subhash Ghai and Pritish Nandy and others. Our films are seen all over the world, but the crying need is efficient marketing. Within our country we need more accountability from distributors. In the West, producers come to know all about film business at the press of a button. It is sad that producers dont know how his film is being exploited and how to get his dues. That is why those in the trade keep saying God alone knows, so often, he quipped.

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