The Film industry is buzzing with the news of the Walt Disney Company, one of the biggest studios in the world, shutting down their motion pictures division in India, and Siddarth Roy Kapur, the current Managing Director, parting ways with the company – however, I am not surprised a single bit.
Reason ? I expected this long back. Not that I claim to be a visionary but I figured that the illogical ways in which studio heads function make no sense at all. I could see this coming in Bollywood. I have been in touch with all my friends in the Hindi film industry and am in the know about how the tide has turned for the worst.
Let me explain how, step by step
[A] $ Corporate Studios Are Failing and How $
First, sample these scenarios:
* 2004: Studio18 was negotiating the acquisition price for the Anees Bazmi film No Entry. They thought 45cr was expensive and refused it. But UTV bought it. Just a few days later, the same Team of Studio18 went & paid a premium of extra 9cr & picked d same film for 54cr.
* 2008 : PVR Pictures green-lit Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey without reading the script, and at an unheard price of 46cr for a film starring Abhishek Bachchan. They were just told what the story was. Later, when the Bijlis realised it’s too expensive, they went to Gowariker during the shoot and tried to negotiate the price to 28cr, the cost was finally settled at 35cr. The film gave a return of only 5cr & was one of the biggest flops of the year.
According to a source, the first time anyone at PVR saw their own film was just 2 days before its release at a cast and crew screening.
* 2009 : After Sanjay Leela Bhansali delivered a big flop with Saawariya, Sony Pictures India was still considering him for his next film. But then UTV came into the picture and offered him a director’s fee of 35 cr, an amount that was unheard of in Bollywood. It made no sense at all as he had just delivered a huge flop with a big Hollywood studio. Sony shut shop in India after that.
* 2013 : Phantom Films was shopping around Bombay Velvet at a price of 55 cr. Fox Star Studios picked the film at 95 cr and delivered one of the biggest Flops in recent years. How did 55 cr reach 95 cr? Take a guess
And now sample this contrast :
* 2015 : Reliance Big Pictures released Vibhu Puri’s Hawaizaada, which turned out to be a colossal flop. Made on a budget of 35 cr, it could not even make 10 cr at the box office. The film starred Ayushmann Khurana in the lead along with a new actress. This was the last nail in the coffin of Reliance Entertainment. Sanjeev Lamba, the CEO, was asked to step down along with the senior management team, and further movie production under the banner was stopped.
* Just a few months later, Yash Raj Films, released another film starring Ayushmann Khurrana -Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Made on a Budget of less than Rs 10cr, it went on to make 30cr at the box office, got huge critical acclaim, and bagged a bunch of National Awards. Everyone in the industry had warned Yash Raj Films that they shouldn’t release another Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer just after Hawaizaada. But Aditya Chopra proved everyone wrong.
The point I am trying to make is the clear cut difference between how corporate studios failed and how traditionally family owned studios flourished at the same time.