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Mafia can keep its money

Savvy filmmakers have decided that they would rather be in taxman?s net than get entangled in underworld?s web.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 01:12 IST

The nexus between Bollywood and the underworld started off as a need-based one. The dons had the money, the filmmakers could use it. Today, the film industry, trying to give itself a corporate make-over, does not really need those funds any more. Savvy filmmakers have decided that they would rather be in the taxman’s net than get entangled in the underworld’s web.

Bollywood players are no longer mom-and-pop shops reliant on private funding and public-listed companies like Mukta Arts, UTV, PNC, Balaji and Reliance Adlabs have brought a greater degree of legitimacy to film-funding. The monies are fixed and have to be accounted for to the investor.

Amit Khanna, President, Film and TV Producers Guild of India, agrees that the change is due to the fact that “the industry is much more organized” today. Ram Mirchandani, Vice President Motion Pictures, UTV, adds, “A corporate is accountable for every rupee spent on a film. The next couple of years will see a Bollywood scenario which will be very similar to that in Hollywood where there are a few major studios.”

“With most production companies being corporate organisations, the money is clean and taken care of,” says an industry source, adding that extortion is perhaps the only real threat left. But, as he points out, it is not confined to Bollywood. “Today any Mr Moneybags lives with that fear. Also those who have been linked to the underworld in the past, like say Bharat Shah, might be worried, but not others.”

First Published: May 28, 2006 01:12 IST