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Shoestring budgets for rib-tickling

As slowdown blues start hitting production houses, the small screen as well as the big multiplex screens are being forced to “edit” costs at the backend while tickling their audiences.

business Updated: Feb 18, 2009 12:02 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

As slowdown blues start hitting production houses, the small screen as well as the big multiplex screens are being forced to “edit” costs at the backend while tickling their audiences.

Such cost-cutting measures, say industry experts, include among other things-longer, cost-effective shoots at a single location and reduction in the moolah raked in by acknowledged stars and starlets.

While big budget movies starring the ever-so-reliable but always-so-expensive stars are still being made by some production houses, some such as UTV insist that although no movie projects are being out on hold, discretion has certainly set in.

Percept, whose group company-Percept Picture Company produces content for both television serials as well as animation and other movies, admits to the sense of overall cost-consciousness that has crept in.

UTV, which will see over 8 to 10 movies being released in the calendar year, has not got more than two or three projects, such as Dilli6 and Main Aur Mrs Khanna, which have production costs of over Rs 20 crore, said Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures.

In a way, it is good for UTV that most of its projects this calendar year will be small budget movies-made with a shoestring budgets of about Rs 5 crore. "The marketing spends for such movies, though, are as high as 100 per cent of the production costs", said Kapur.

Rajan Vahi, COO-animation films, Percept Picture Company who is busy finalising the third in the Hanuman series echoed the thought that 'everyone is re-assessing'. "Artist tantrums are out, even if talent for quality animation work is in short supply."

Today, an animation production house can dictate the terms by freezing the budget as well as the deadline, well in advance, thereby avoiding unnecessary costs incurred towards artistes as projects get delayed — which was the case earlier.