Fenil and Bollywood

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Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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- By Taran Adarsh, December 29, 2009 – 10:55 IST

Yeh kya ho raha hain? 3 IDIOTS continues to shock the industry. The film, already on a winning spree, is smashing records left, right and centre. As per early indications, the business of the film on Monday was bigger than Saturday. Sources say it’s in Rs. 12 crore range, which means that the film has crossed Rs. 50 crore mark [nett] in barely 4.5 days. Unbelievable, but true!

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

By  SARITA TANWAR (Mid-Day; December 23, 2009)

3 Idiots
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani
Rating: 4.5

What’s It About: Bring out the bugles for the biggest celluloid celebration in a long, long time. God bless Rajkumar Hirani for ending an otherwise mediocre Bollywood year on a smashing note.

You go in to see 3 Idiots expecting the genius combination of Hirani and Aamir Khan to weave magic on screen.

But despite the mental conditioning, the impact of the film is so overwhelming that it leaves you spellbound for hours after it has ended.

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Five Point Someone (though only a miniscule part has been adapted from the book; the rest is all original), here’s a story of three friends studying in an engineering college Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi).

Rancho is the rebel among them always questioning things and believing that learning is more than just the usual mode of education.

He encourages his friends to look beyond the ordinary and soon earns the wrath of the college director Viru Sahasrabuddhe (Boman Irani).

Despite his fun and frolic, Rancho always surprises everyone by topping the class. He even manages to win the affections of the director’s daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor). But Rancho’s greatest contribution lies is making his friends realise their true calling.

The twist comes when on Graduation Day. After being awarded the Student Of The Year title, Rancho mysteriously disappears into oblivion.

Years later, Farhan and Raju, finding a common thread, embark on a journey to find their friend. 3 Idiots is a story of friendship, hope, aspirations and most importantly, the goodness of life.

With 3 Idiots, Rajkumar Hirani proves beyond doubt that there’s no better storyteller than him in the present generation.

This isn’t an easy film to make the interplay between characters and the narrative is interestingly woven.

The film switches from present to flashback mode often but not once does Hirani lose the momentum. The medley of emotions that he brings forth as he establishes the film’s structure is indeed commendable.

Like the peppy Aal Izz Well song drawing towards a tragic climax it’s so cleverly done that it has the desired effect. There are scenes that’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry and they’ll make you think.

Hirani does it all so beautifully that you want to go back to college and relive all those moments.

The falling in love, the harassment by professors, the secret drinking sessions, the ragging of fellow students it’s all there.

Hirani also sends across a message on student pressures but there’s no preaching here it’s all done in his inimitable style.

Most films have their own set of ‘highlight’ scenes.

3 Idiots is different because every scene is special and brings with it something that’s out of the ordinary.

But there are a few that have a far lasting impact the entire ragging sequence; the camaraderie between Rancho and Pia; Chatur’s (the ‘brainy’ student) hilarious speech; the entire black-and-white depiction of Raju’s family; most of the scenes between Rancho and Viru; the sequences that lead to Raju’s recovery in the hospital and many more. After a point, you just stop counting.

Dialogues are snappy and totally effective (“In India, you get a pizza in 30 minutes guaranteed but not an ambulance”). The soundtrack, background score and cinematography is top class.

Among the performances, Madhavan delivers his most retrained act ever. He takes the film back and forth with his narrative and is splendid even with comedy.

Sharman Joshi is brilliant, especially in his breakdown scenes. Boman Irani is sincere as expected, with his lisp act getting all the right nuances.

Kareena Kapoor gives her finest portrayal in recent times as Pia. Her “dhokla, fafda, thepla, khandwa, khakra” scene is simply too delicious. Here’s a performance that proves why she’s indeed the best we have.

The life and soul of 3 Idiots is of course Aamir Khan. His perfection lies in the fact that he makes everything look so easy and spontaneous.

And at all the right moments, he brings the film alive with his sheer brilliance. From his look to his walk to his manner of speech, Aamir breathes life into Rancho and that’s what stays with us.

If you thought Aamir Khan couldn’t get any better than he is, think again. Aamir is the heart and soul of 3 Idiots and he proves why he’s simply a class apart.

What To Do: Book your tickets for consecutive shows because one viewing isn’t enough to savour 3 Idiots. Quite easily, this is the film of the year. Nothing else comes even close.

Debut
Volvo XC90 R-Design makes its first appearance in Bollywood with 3 Idiots

3
The number of cities that Aamir travelled to in disguise to promote an alternate reality game (Varanasi, Palanpur and Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata)

Rs 50 Cr
The cost of making the film

10 Lakh
The number of copies of Five Point Someone sold in India since 2004

Crime Branch teams leave for Delhi and Ghaziabad in search of Jitender Kumar, a major player; two top officials of Shemaroo and Reliance Big Cinemas arrested
By Abhijit Sathe (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 25, 2009)

Director and producer of What’s your Raashee? Ashutosh Gowariker

The Bollywood piracy plot is getting more sinister. After arresting employees of major post-production and distribution firms for spiriting out DVDs of new films, Mumbai Police is now on the hunt for a major player in the racket named Jitender Kumar, who is suspected to have links with the Dawood gang.

Crime Branch sources said teams have been despatched to Delhi and Ghaziabad to arrest Kumar, a ‘bigshot from Ghaziabad’ who apparently runs a major pirated material distribution racket in north India. Officials said he also has connections with the two piracy groups now in police custody. The latest arrests are those of Kalapi Nagda, 29, head of overseas distribution of Shemaroo Pictures and Neerav Shah, 30, manager of overseas distribution of Reliance Big Cinema, on the basis of information provided by UFO Moviez associate vice-president Rajesh Chaudhary, who was arrested on Tuesday.

“Afsar Hyder Hussain alias Ashraf, who was picked up on Tuesday, is the link between Kumar and the groups in Mumbai. Though Afsar deals with Kumar to sell and distribute pirated movies, last year, Kumar tipped off the police that Afsar was carrying pirated material and got him arrested at Mumbai airport,” said a senior police officer who did not wish to be named.

Sources said Kumar is involved in distribution of pirated movies in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Gwalior.

Gowariker wants Rs 50 cr in damages from UFO Moviez

Following the arrest of Chaudhary, a key player in the racket, What’s your Raashee? director-producer Ashutosh Gowariker has reportedly sought Rs 50 crore in damages from UFO Moviez. A legal notice has been sent to the firm for leaking DVDs of the yet-to-be-released film.

The police had on Tuesday arrested a group of five persons, who allegedly  bought DVDs from Chaudhary and sent them to one Asif in Pakistan.

Nagda and Shah – arrested on Wednesday – also allegedly bought original DVDs of new films from Chaudhary, who revealed their names during interrogation. “From them, we have seized original DVDs of the unreleased films Fast Forward and What’s Your Raashee? and the recently released Dil Bole Hadippa,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.

According to Maria, Nagda has contacts in Pakistan and he sent original DVDs with Shah’s help to one Zubair. “For each DVD sold, Chaudhary got Rs 2 lakh, Nagda got Rs 35,000 and Shah got Rs 10,000,” Maria added. “We are checking if Asif and Zubair belong to the same group.”

Maria said Shah knew Chaudhary as he coordinated transport of original DVDs from UFO Moviez to overseas customers. Shah and Nagda were colleagues at Shemaroo Pictures before Shah shifted to Reliance Big Cinemas.

Meanwhile, UFO Moviez has dismissed Chaudhary from service. Top officials of the firm met senior Crime Branch officers and said they would cooperate with the investigation.

Video-meet decides DVD price

The suspects in police custody have revealed that the price of pirated DVDs is decided by video-conferencing between film suppliers and distributors. Tanzim Sayed alias Aman used to act as a mediator between suppliers like Afsar and distributors. “The DVD price and suppliers’ commission was decided according to number of copies of the movie made. Defaulters would be eliminated,” a police officer said.

Bharati Dubey & S Ahmed Ali I TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; September 24, 2009)


Mumbai: UTV software and communications, producers of the film What’s Your Raashee? has demanded a compensation of Rs 50 crore each from Adlabs Films Limited and UFO moviez for ‘abetting piracy and infringement of copyright’. Both the parties have been asked to pay up within 7 days.


The masterprint of Ashutosh Gowariker’s yet to be released What’s Your Raashee? was stolen from Adlabs on Monday evening. UTV
in its notice to Adlabs mentioned that in violation of the agreement, the masterprint of the film had been illegally copied on the Adlabs premises and sold to persons engaged in piracy, causing huge damage. The notice also alleged that the illegal activity was possible because of some highly-placed persons employed by Adlabs who gained access to the prints and made copies of it.


In its notice to UFO moviez, the producers alleged that UFO employee Rajesh Chowdhry arrested in the case has also confessed to piracy of the film Aage Se Right. “It is apparent that the entire illegal piracy racket has been able to continue unchecked on UFO premises and that their security system does not provide adequate protection,’’ the notice said. UFO has sacked Chowdhry but officials said that Aage Se Right was not released on the UFO platform.


UTV has also written to all producers and distributors’ bodies to send showcause notices to Adlabs and UFO moviez. Also, a film delegation including producer Mahesh Bhatt, senior vice-president of AMPTPP Vikas Mohan, Yash Chopra, Ratan Jain and Mukesh Bhatt will be meeting joint commissioner Rakesh Maria on Thursday.


Meanwhile, two more officials of two private companies, Neerav Shah (30), the manager of Reliance Big Pictures (overseas distributions) and Nagda Kalapi (29), the head
of the overseas distribution of Shemaroo pictures, were arrested in the case. Kalapi and Shah get a ‘benefit’ of Rs 35,000 to 50,000 per film, said senior inspector Ansar Peerzade. A video-piracy racket was busted on Sunday. Ashraf Hussain alias Afsar, Feroz Khan and Aman Tanzeem Sayyed were arrested in the case. Their interrogation helped the police arrest Durgadas Bhakta, manager, business development of Adlabs and Chowdhry.

An Adlabs spokesperson said, “The incident in connection with What’s Your Raashee is not attributable to us in any manner. The film prints are recorded under the best possible security measures.’’ A UFO spokesperson Charu Sacham said that the company has communicated separately with the producers’ fraternity and assured them that their business interests and intellectual property are of paramount importance.



  • shaziya: Vidhu Vinod Chopra remained unavailable for comment. But we wonder, has he forgotten his Munnabhai Gandhigiri lesson?
  • shaziya: The team of Eros International’s Veer has been looking forward to this day with great anticipation as the mega project finally hits the big screens
  • hitesh patel: glad came to know that we indians have developed something amaging.I urge the govt to take step in making people study who are not financially capable
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