With news of recession pangs hitting Bollywood becoming more frequent by the day, producers are going in for an unusual remedy to ensure that their films work.
With as many as 8-10 films boasting a huge star cast due for release this year, producers feel multi-starrers are a sure shot way of getting good returns and drawing more people to the halls. Flicks with brag-worthy star casts include Kambakht Ishq, Blue, Hook Ya Crook, Alladin, London Dreams, 3 Idiots, Rajneeti and Veer.
London Dreams producer Vipul Shah says, “A multi-starrer during recession time draws the audience and ensures a good opening.” Anthony D’ Souza, director of the Rs 130 crore-flick Blue, echoes him. “If your film has bankable stars, with each having his or her own fan following, it is bound to have a smashing opening,” he says.
Incidentally, when the industry was recession-free last year, most multi-starrers including Tashan, Golmaal Returns, Mission Istanbul and Sunday bombed. However, that hasn’t deterred production houses from continuing down that path, but they are now finding clever ways of cutting costs.
Sunir Kheterpal, COO of Big Pictures (the production house that is coming out with the Sushmita Sen, Govinda, Riteish Deshmukh and Lara Dutta-starrer Do Knot Disturb) says that “it is important to be cost efficient in all spheres”, implying cuts when it comes to paying actors, directors and technicians and simultaneously shooting in cheaper locations.
Alpana Mishra, COO, UTV says that cost efficiency goes hand in hand with making a multi-starrer. “Both Hook Ya Crook and Rajniti require a huge setting, which could not have been compromised upon. However, cuts happen in terms of the number of days we shoot, the number of technicians we get and where we get them from.”
Biren Ghose, executive director, Eros International Films, which is producing Alladin and Kambakht Ishq, emphasises the need for being innovative and concentrating on “the stories, technologies and marketing innovation” apart from the star cast. He adds that they are also “developing viable small budget projects.