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Is Bollywood out-pricing itself?

Of the 70-odd films that released over the last six months, barely a handful managed to scrape through and only a couple entered the ‘hit’ category.

entertainment Updated: Jun 30, 2010 14:23 IST
Hiren Kotwani

RaajneetiOf the 70-odd films that released over the last six months, barely a handful managed to scrape through and only a couple entered the ‘hit’ category. While last year’s dry run in the first half could be attributed to the multiplex strike, trade pundits say 2010’s flop show is due to bad content and over-pricing.

Listing Love Sex Aur Dhoka, Housefull, Badmaash Company and Raajneeti as the only ‘gainers’, trade analyst Komal Nahta admits that he doesn’t expect the scenario to change in the second half. Reason: “People are still ready to buy movies at exorbitant prices though there is no guarantee that they will work.”

Vinod Mirani berates the corporates for their ignorance that prods them into cracking such expensive deals with production houses. Reiterating the oft-repeated mantra that ‘content is king’, Mirani asserts that if the script is flawed, no amount of marketing and promotion can save the film. It’s more money gone down the drain, he warns.

Marching over Amod Mehra, another trade analyst, points out that exams in February, IPL in March-April, summer holidays in May and rains and sporting events in June, means that it has become routine to be content with only a couple of hits in the first six months. He is surprised that buffoonery scored over experimental twists in the oft-repeated tale this year, with Housefull stealing a march over Kites and Raavan.

Mirani is particularly upset that Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba, despite being a well made film, couldn’t recreate the magic of the director’s earlier film, Welcome To Sajjanpur. He blames its commercial failure on bad timing — it was released during the IPL —and with over-priced tickets. “For good, small-budget films, tickets need to be priced lower. By sticking to a fixed rate, we are chasing the cinegoers away,” he observes.

Nahta agrees that prices — from the budget of films and star fees to ticket rates — need to be re-evaluated but thinks it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. “The gestation period is at least 12 months. So, I don’t see the situation improving before the second half of 2011,” he sighs.

Coming up Mehra concurs pointing out that My Name Is Khan would have worked better if it had been sold at a more reasonable price. Ditto Kites. “If a film is made in Rs 40 crore and sold at double the price, you’ve got the economics wrong,” he says. While Mirani is skeptical about the films on show in the second half of 2010, Nahta and Mehra have their hopes pinned on forthcoming movies like I Hate Luv Storys, Dabbang, Anjana Anjani, Golmaal 3, Action Replayy, Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan. Says Mehra, “These are some of the big ticket movies and almost Rs 700 crore is riding on them all.”