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  Entertainment   Bollywood  18 Feb 2019  Bollywood rides on big bucks

Bollywood rides on big bucks

Published : Feb 19, 2019, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Feb 19, 2019, 5:00 am IST

Despite several box-office debacles last year, this year will see more than 15 big-budget films hitting the silver screen.

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif
 Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif

In 2018, the frontrunners in the Bollywood box office marathon featured releases that broke away from tradition. It was a year where a Yash Raj production starring Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, championing a patriotic tale didn’t cut anymore whereas a Shah Rukh Khan starrer didn’t have many takers. Even the ever-dependable bhai’s Race 3 was one of his lowest-performing films in recent times. One would assume that these mega box-office failures would make the filmmakers cautious, but the industry prefers to sticks to the cliché that ‘the show must go on’. This year has a line-up of as many as 15 mega-budget films, starring the superstars of Bollywood which include Total Dhamaal, Kalank, Bharat, Housefull 4, Panipat and Brahmastra, to name a few.

Once beaten, never shy
Despite the box-office duds of the last year, most believe that Bollywood will still prefer to bet its money of the big-budget spectacles. Producer Sandeep Singh who has made films such as Bhoomi, Mary Kom and Sarabjit believes that the industry always manages to bounce back. He says,  “Nobody plans to make a flop film or wants to be in loss. Nobody expected Uri or Badhaai Ho to cross 100 cr but one has to understand that we are able to make small budget films because big-budget films have been generating revenue so we can never discard them. Unfortunately, 2018 was not the year for them and I am glad the storytelling has been the highlight.”
And keeping a strict check on the budget is the mantra of the new-age producers. After the success of the first two installments of Dhamaal, the makers are revisiting the hit comedy franchise and  this time it is much bigger and extravagant with Madhuri Dixit, Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor joining the cast. Ajay who is also the co-producer of Total Dhamaal says when it comes to making films; he is a very careful producer. “You have to budget it right. I believe that the film never fails but the budget, which fails most of the time. You have to be very cautious about how much to invest and how much can be recovered. I budget things rightly, I believe. My next film Tanaji is also a big film which will be in 3D but I know where to draw the line and to make it in the right budget,” he added.


Counting on stardom
Along with Total Dhamaal, Fox Star has invested big bucks on Housefull 4, the fourth instalment of the super successful Housefull franchise. The multi-starrer is rumoured to be made on a budget of more than 80 crores. “When you have stars in a big budget film, 40 to 50 percent of the cost goes to them so you should know how to use the rest of your money and make it in a tight budget. When I made Haseena with Shraddha Kapoor, the film didn’t work but I made the film in the right budget so we didn't lose much,” says director Apoorva Lakhia.


Anees Baazmi who has directed multistarrers such as Welcome, No Entry believes that big-budget multi-starrers are tricky to execute. “As a director, all I can say is making a big budget film is not an easy task. One can only execute multi-starrers when you have clarity about the target audience, the content of the film and partners on board. The most important aspect of any film is content and I have always concentrated on creating that for my audience. I have done many big-budget films including No Entry, Welcome and Singh is Kinng in the past. The fact that my producers have made or are planning to make sequels prove that if the films are planned properly, everyone benefits,” says the filmmaker who is currently helming Pagalpanti starring John Abraham and Ileana D’cruz.

While the last few years have seen digitalisation as a preferred option of the gen-next, it has also turned into a preferred medium for producers too as they now have the option to sell digital rights to the various platforms available. Apurva Lakhia adds, “You can either sell it to a Netflix or Zee but you can't sell it to both. So at least more people will view your film. Now we can make movies straight for digital so you can save much more as you don’t have to release it commercially. But we have not come around that concept yet.” To this, trade analyst Taran Adarsh adds, “That’s how producers recover the investments but eventually it’s the theatrical business that counts and that has been a kind of a dip for certain films. However, one can’t also forget the fact that films like Padmavaat, Simmba which were big budget films managed to do wonders at the box office.”

Tags: netflix, amitabh bachchan