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No room for films

india Updated: Mar 24, 2009 19:58 IST
Madhur Bhandarkar column
Madhur Bhandarkar column
Hindustan Times
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At last the shooting of my film Jail has begun, but already it is creating its share of news and issues. Nobody ever thinks that the film industry will ever bother with the general political and social issues. But the truth is, the film folk are the first to feel the impact the moment something happens.

When the entire world was buzzing with the word ‘recession’ after it hit the US, we in India never thought this crisis could come to Indian shores. But it slowly started seeping into the Indian soil from the second half of 2008. Recession hit Bollywood just when the industry was booming. Films were doing exceedingly well; production costs were sky-high; there was almost a mad rush to make the most expensive films; all around the place, people were hearing of crazy multiple film deals worth hundreds of crores; stars were quoting unheard of prices; everyone was making hay while the sun shone.

Suddenly, the tide turned. Everything started to change; indulgences were scrapped; budgets were slashed; fees were negotiated again; there was a general lull.

Soon enough, I was hit by the recession, too. Jail was in the pre-production stages when I realised that I would have to junk my extravagant plans. From the director and actor to the major technicians, everybody had to take a pay cut. Then, another thought struck me — by the time we would be ready for the release, there would be a major mood change again in the entertainment industry and the country at large.

The main factor here is the general election. This is the time for transition. Like the film industry, the world of politics is also heavily dependent on the mood swings of the populace.

This is not the best time to release films. Releases are often postponed until the polls are over. And this time, election fever will also be combined with IPL fever, even if the matches are held abroad. Nothing intoxicates this country like cricket.

The hoopla over the shifting of venues has ensured that the frenzy whipped up is even bigger this year. What with the recession, the election and the IPL, films will have to try hard for the right dates to hit theatres.

Write to me at madhur.bhandarkar@hindustantimes.com