The year 2010 was by far the year of entrepreneurs and risk takers in the Hindi film industry. The success of Peepli [Live], Udaan and most recently Phans Gaya Re Obama has underlined the fact that the days of big studios, casting larger than life stars in films backed by insipid scripts resulting in blockbusters are gone for good. Ask the Roshans, they are still looking for the mangled remains of the ill-fated Kites!
On its opening day Phans Gaya Re Obama earned Rs 1.25 crore, but since then the collections are steadily going up on the back of positive reviews and word of mouth publicity, while the other big ticket releases of the day Rakht Charitra 2 and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se have had a lukewarm response so far. Made on a huge budget, and sold off to distributors at a heavy premium KHJJS had a disastrous weekend of around Rs 3.50 crore net nationally. Industry website ‘Box Office India’ claims that “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is likely to wrap its lifetime business at just 6 crore nett and a disastrous distributors share of less than 3 crore.” Not a happy scenario for anyone who has invested in the project.
Although, in the age of multiplexes the films with small enterprise structure are thriving, with the latest beneficiary being Subhash Kapoor’s ‘Phans Gaya Re Obama’; a film made on a small budget with actors who can deliver the goods on screen, a neat marketing plan (minus the gimmicks) followed by sale of screening rights to a satellite channel. Profit guaranteed. Ask Aamir Khan, the shrewdest of the film marketers. He produced the highly acclaimed Peepli [Live] for a shoe string budget of Rs10 crore and even before the release of the film the TV rights were reportedly sold off for that amount of money. Every penny the film earned after that was up and above of the production cost.
Lesson learnt: It is not too difficult to make money in the business of entertaining people, all one needs is a good story and an able story teller!