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Have the money? Make a film

Jun 28, 2007 02:31 AM IST India India

Mumbai: Everyone's jumping up the filmy bandwagon - even those without prior experience. Recently, Bollywood has seen entrants from different industries enter film production and distribution.

Moserbaer, a CD giant,has announced two pilot films starring Esha Deol and Rahul Bose. ASA industries has transcended from steel and transport to films, and has hired filmmaker Vikram Bhatt as creative director to launch a new company that will produce films within Rs 100 crore.

Even Frankfinn Aviation has announced a plan to make three medium budget films each year with an investment of Rs 30 crore.

Clearly, the latest entrants are adopting a compartmentalised approach with fixed budgets, and plans to launch their own distribution as well as exhibition network.

For these new film companies, making, selling and marketing films are pure business.

Says ASA Films MD, Surendra Sharma, "We have script doctors and script teams that find out what story will sell with which target audience and accordingly we plan to take films on the floor."

Adds ASA Films Creative Director, Vikram Bhatt, "It's all about the target audience, with the right platform today being the multiplexes."

Veterans of the film industry however, say that unlike other sectors, the craft of filmmaking can't be brought down to accounting and auditing plans alone. A film essentially is up to the audience.

Says PNC CMD, Pritish Nandy, "I think it's stupid to treat films like this. One can't commodify films like one does other things. It's a craft and it needs to be treated like a delicate product."

However, these new inexperienced film companies have a master plan of breaking even with their initial projects through multiplex distribution.

"When we talk about high concept films, we must understand that it is not possible to please all the audiences all the time. But then, our budgets are not going to be so high that we will need the film to be a hit all over the world to cover our costs," says Vikram Bhatt.

However, young filmmakers who have proven their worth with their first films don't buy the marketing argument always. Instead, their faith lies in innovative scripts and brave acting attempts.

Says filmmaker, Shriram Raghavan, "I believe that actors today know that unsafe is playing safe. So I am always confident of finding takers for my films."

Adds filmmaker Dibakar Bannerjee, of Khosla Ka Ghosla fame, "We as filmmakers have to be extra cautious to see whatever experimentation we do. It cannot be at the cost of producers losing their money and their trust in these kinds of projects."

So while anyone who's got some extra money to throw wants to make films these days, the debate of the art of films versus the business of cinema rages on. Well, hopefully, all the good money will go to the right filmmakers who treat entertainment with responsibility.

(With inputs from Archita Kashyap in Mumbai)