As the film industry of Bollywood stares into the abyss of an unprecedented economic slump experts say the only out from the mess is for the leading men to lower their fees per film drastically. A major producer who wishes to remain unnamed says, “The A-list heroes , all of them, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh all charge between Rs. 90 to 130 crores, This will have to end now. The heroes’ fees will have to go down by 70-80 percent for the film business to survive.”
Opines Akshaye Rathi, “I truly believe that the entire entertainment eco-system needs to change its ways to enable its own revival. When an organisation faces an economic crisis, it cuts out the frills and sharpens its focus on the necessities. Similarly, the entertainment sector needs to cut out the high degree of vanity that it fuels and focus on making content with high intrinsic value and appeal that cuts across the length and breadth of the country at justifiable costs. The cost cutting measures have to start with the talent and trickle down across the value chain right upto the audience for cinema to again be a low hanging fruit for its consumers.”
Analyst Atul Mohan agrees with Akshaye. “Well, if you see almost all the A list actors have started taking share in profits in each film they do. Those who weren't have also started asking for the same. This helps in bringing down not only the budget costs but also makes them lifelong partners in the intellectual property rights of the film. The share in profits can be 20% to 75-80% and upfront fees can be from Rs. 10 cr to 25 crores. Looking at the current situation and for better future, I think the upfront fees will have to go down by 60-70% or even more and would just be token money and rest remuneration will be increase in share of profits. This will have to be done for survival of all.”
Girish Johar feels the pandemic has changed the economics of the movie industry forever. “The pandemic has hit the industry so hard that it is a knockout punch for many. It has taken the film industry off tracks. The post-Covid scenario will be very different. Ours is a closely-knit labour -intensive industry and meeting safety and security guidelines will be a tough task and to maintain these is another tall order. This will also lead to cutting down of "hands available on deck" policy and increase in cost. So it’s a double blow. To offset this, the A-league actors will have to adjust their fixed fees being charged on a project.”
Amod Mehra is of the opinion that star fees would not take a direct hit. “Most A-list heroes are also producers. So their income will reduce but not the fees.”
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