Ever since corporate houses came calling on Bollywood, actors’ pay has gone up considerably. Think Adlabs’ Rs 35 crore contract with Hrithik Roshan. The actor can also chose the director and the story for his projects.
Corporatisation has changed the old norms of filmmaking, intensified market competition and introduced the culture of big-budget films with short deadlines.
Barring a few renowned filmmakers like Chopras and Johars, others can’t match the money being paid to actors and corporate houses continue to churn out film after film.
“There was a time when producers like Time Films, Babloo Pachisia, Venus, Vashu Bhagnani, Vijay Galani, Gordhan Tanwani, Tips Films were calling the shots. But now we hardly hear them making any announcements,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra. “Since 1960, Bollywood had an average of 30 to 40 solo producers and every year new names were added. That seems to be a thing of past now.”
|Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Govinda in a still from Bhagam Bhag.|
Even big names like Venus Tapes & Records that propelled Shah Rukh Khan into the big league with
are reeling from the competition. The company produced several successful films like
Yes Boss, Badshah
with King Khan. They jointly produced
Main Hoon Na
with him. Now it makes films but not as frequently as its moneyed rivals.
However, Suneel Darshan is not deterred by the corporate presence, but feels they are spoiling the market.
“In the rush to make films, they are shelling out higher prices without checking actors’ popularity.” “Why should we do that? We’re not new here,” says Denis Selarka of Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision, adding, “Multiple projects are our strategy and there is nothing wrong in it.” Their next release is
Trade analyst Atul Mohan has a different take on it. “Solo-starrers are not doing well barring a few. So multi-starrers are in.” Even though multi-starrers are often a mix of top and average stars, corporate producers often end up forking out a higher amount.
Pahlaj Nihalani, who ruled the industry in the 90s, has not produced a film since 2003’s Talaash. “It is a case of demand and supply. Corporates can make bulk payments and do multiple projects. They even make actors partners,” he says. “Corporate people will soon understand the trade,” he adds.
Gordhan Tanwani—who worked with Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgan in Ishq, Salman Khan in Dulhan Hum Le Jaayenge and Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge —is finding it difficult to make another film after Taarzan: The Wonder Car. His problem: roping in known faces. “Most big actors are busy working with their favourite filmmaker or with corporate houses,” he says.