Is the future tense for our movies? Could be. From actors and directors to even camera lighting assistants and food catering suppliers, everyone is all booked up for 2008. And no, it's not romances, action-packed movies or comedies which are being manufactured by the truckload. No movie genre is safe any more. So what is? Ashok Rai answers
There was a time when a Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge clicked and every wannabe hit man was hacking out an NRI fantasy. Action was steaming hot in the Sholay era, never to make as huge an impact ever again.
Comedies, for the last two years, were considered perfect to giggle all the way to bank. But now, like it or not, no film - big or small - can work without publicity. Or to use the more euphemistic word, marketing.
A look at the top hits of the last three years reveals that the toppers - Om Shanti Om, Rang De Basanti, Krrish and Dhoom 2 - had been so well promoted that their initial collections were more than assured.
Not surprisingly, Yash Raj Films which has an inconsistent way of publicising its films - blowing hot and cold with both the print and media channels - fares inconsistently at the cash counters. Two prime examples of this are Laaga Chunari mein Daag which came in the wake of rumours about the liaison of its leading lady and producer (Rani Mukherji-Aditya Chopra), and Aaja Nachle (preceeded with negative reports and half-hearted promotions by Madhuri Dixit).
Today, the contract of every star specifies a setting apart of a fortnight's dates for cross-country and international promotions. Mallika Sherawat plays unprofessional about this and is immediately berated, if not boycotted by moghul Subhash Ghai.
Every production now includes a cushy post-production publicity budget. The ‘marketing' aspect of every film is no doubt just evolving but a certain standard of professionalism is being evidenced, what with even recalcitrant stars emerging out of their ivory towers to woo the media.
Apart from Publicity/Marketing, the future points towards unusual subjects and also carefully planned ones. Every year, a chant goes up that a certain small film has done well (if you hear anyone going on and on about Bheja Fry, it's likely that your bheja will go dead). A whole new think-and-look-alikes will follow.
Although the trade bosses are still star-struck - especially the corporates who pretend to be adventurous - there is every likelihood of more off-the-beaten track movies making waves. If not more importantly, new stars will be groomed, presented and promoted (aah that word again).. because the salaries of the current big names are not only becoming ridiculous but totally impractical. Ask Sharman Joshi, Aashish Chaudhary, Vinay Pathak, ewwww.
Music is another factor that will play a pivotal role in a film's success. Already, it is being said that if Taare Zameen Par had a more catchy music score, it would have buoyed the film's collections considerably. Ring tones are big business.This form of revenue is not only expected to peak but also take on other techno-formats.
The Rajshris have announced the production of a film exclusively for the gizmo-format (on the cell and comp screens). But of course, much will depend on what kind of product they come up with. Would viewers want to watch veggie shaadi fests reheated on mobile screens?
Finally, the future suggests that there will be more quantity.. the increasing number of multiplex screens do more movies than ever before. Quality, of course, is another story.