As the rupee fell, the talk in almost every industry was of reining in budgets and cutting costs where possible. The one industry, however, that magically continues to defy all such economic forces seems to be Bollywood. And the one area that Hindi films tend to splurge on is songs. Foreign locales, lavish dream sequences, a film’s lead pair suddenly transported to snowy Switzerland… we’ve seen it all.
Of late, however, big numbers have been thrown around when it comes to song budgets. Feroz Nadiadwala’s upcoming film, Welcome Back, apparently features a song on which the makers spent a whopping Rs 3 crore. This isn’t, of course, the only one with a big price tag attached. So we ask producers and trade experts the reason behind the big numbers.
Raising the bar
The strategy seems to be to try and create that one song that will be extremely popular, perhaps even go viral on the Internet. Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha says, “It’s a calculated risk. It’s no more about an album, it’s about a song. For example, ‘Chammak challo’ (RA.One; 2011) had 30 million downloads, which is amazing.” Producer Kumar Taurani also says that people might not remember a film, but they remember a song. “If they like it, they will listen to it again and again. So I think the money spent is justified,” says Taurani.
Trade experts say that the trend of spending exorbitant amounts on songs exists, but they also say that makers might be exaggerating figures. “It’s hype. People make entire films, such as The Lunchbox, for Rs1.5 crore,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra. Another trade analyst, Taran Adarsh, raises another question: “Does the figure include the remuneration of a star? A lot of people do these songs because of their relations with producers, directors and studios,” says Adarsh.
Ask filmmaker Rakesh Roshan about spending big bucks on songs, since he also splashed out a lot on songs in his latest Krrish 3, and he says, “‘Raghupati Raghav’ had a lot of dancers and we shot it over a period of a few days. Likewise, with ‘Dil tu hi bataa’, we shot the song at various international locales so naturally the budget was high.” And it looks like expensive songs are here to stay. It seems actor Abhishek Bachchan, who will soon start working on director Umesh Shukla’s Mere Apne, will begin by shooting for his introduction song. The track will feature Abhishek as a rock star performing at a concert and it reportedly has been shot at an expensive budget.
Top of the list
Bismillah Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara
Main Bunty Welcome Back
Nagada sang dhol Ram-Leela
‘Disco deewane Student of The Year
Dil tu hi bata, Raghupati Raghav Krrish 3
Rs1.5 crore each
Badtameez dil Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Lungi dance Chennai Express
Figures are approx. and according to industry sources)
— With inputs from Shalvi Mangaokar