Going by Bollywood's box-office stats in the first quarter of 2013, we've observed certain facts that decide the fate of a film in the Indian as well as the overseas markets. We've learned that there is a saturation point for masala films such as Himmatwala. While the UK market has a penchant for such candy-floss films, the US market doesn't. With about forty films releasing in the first quarter, Balaji Motion Pictures CEO Tanuj Garg believes that the number of releases this year were comparatively less than 2012. The Indian market's business had a huge jump of 22% along with the US market which went up by 4%. This was not the case with the UK market's collections, which sunk by a shocking 12% this year. Renowned film critic, Taran Adarsh points out that a radical difference in taste could account for changes with the collections and that if a film makes Rs.100 crore at the Box-Office; it does not necessarily translate into a successful film. In this exclusive two part analytical series, Bollywood Hungama's Philip Bode gets Taran and Tanuj to take us through an analytical journey on the business in the first quarter of 2013.
In spite of a widespread release across 1850 screens in the country, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola could only administer Rs. 40 crores in domestic Box-Office collections. Tanuj believes that the success of a film depends on the 'Return On Investment' (ROI) and not any random figure. Gazing at the probable angles in lesser collections, Tanuj says, "We bear the false impression that a film needs to cross a certain mark for it to be termed successful. At the end of the day, these are simply brackets made by us. Eventually what matters is the ROI, a pre-stipulated figure that one needs to achieve based on initial investments. What matters is the amount of efforts a producer would get back after investing in a film." Taran believes that theatrically Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is a disaster, but is certain that the film would generate more revenues through different collection avenues. Even tough Special 26 is having a field day at the box-office, Taran pointed out the fact that Akshay Kumar did not charge the makers his usual market fees for that film. He says, "When one makes film like Special 26, there are certain limitations imposed from the market, as these films are smaller compared to a bigger budgeted film like a Housefull 2. These are not mass friendly films as it caters to only the high-end multiplex clan, where-in Special 26 has done exceptionally well by collecting Rs. 70 crores at the domestic box-office. So you cannot expect these films to garner Rs. 100 or 200 crores in collections."
Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che collected a massive Rs. 49.67crores at the domestic box-office, while choreographer-turned-director Remo's latest ABCD which was made with a modest budget of Rs. 15 crores, generously raked in a mammoth Rs. 45 crores as well. Talking about the vital components that determine the collections and success, Tanuj says, "Small films are generating a considerable return for producers and distributors, films like Kai Po Che and ABCD don't need to generate Rs. 75 – 100 crores as returns are based on a Rs. 40 – 50 crore Box-Office. While big movie stars are imperative for a film, it's been proven time and again that content is the most vital aspect. Today we have numerous examples to substantiate that content is anal, and consumers are increasingly taking onto content they enjoy and relate to. These are good times for the industry; the focus is shifting gradually from mere star power to probably star power with content. Taran believes that Kai Po Che is in the quarter top 5 list because the youth factor connected with the audience well in the film. Talking about the film, Taran says, "I felt it was one of the most engaging films to come out of Bollywood this year. I think if a film like this is made well and if it appeals to the youth, then it cannot fail. If you look at a film like Chashme Baddoor, you'll notice that it's doing well, even though being labeled corny and over the top. Jolly LLB based on a serious subject is a satire on the judicial system of India, is working at the box-office as well. These are some small budgeted films that are working well in the box-office."
How a film is presented and communicated before releasing is extremely imperative for it to work feels Tanuj. Shedding light on what makes these small films work without having any star power, he says, "It is important for a film to have a well thought out communication and marketing plan in place. For Lootera we launched the first-look image last month, even though the movie is slated for a July release. Within a matter of days the clip generated over a million clicks on Youtube, this was also the case with The Dirty Picture in which the first promos did the trick. The success of these mid-sized films proves that eventually, the content of the film is what makes it work. As of now, people are gravitating towards high-quality content increasingly; the middle class cinema goers do not want to fritter money on something that's not convincing enough. The audience has become ruthless and is not concerned about big stars as much as movies that promise to deliver something." Taran credits the unique dance related content that made ABCD shine; talking about the success of the film, he says, "ABCD started on a very strong note on day one itself. Remo DSouza, Prabhu Dheva, the dancers and the 3D aspect all worked very well for the film. This year is for low-budgeted films, but not all low-budgeted films ring true in the box-office, as everything boils down to the content."
With the first quarter and the first 40 films released, trade pundits are certain that the second quarter looks brighter. Tanuj says, "All the upcoming films are quite unique and very talked about, this year there was less output. I believe that the real momentum begins now, the real test for the industry starts now." Echoing the same optimistic thought, Taran says, "The second quarter looks very bright. I think business should do well as summer vacations are approaching in India. From April to June we have quite a few interesting films that will hit us; the second quarter looks very good. Let's hope for the best."
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