Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘recession

IN TELLYLAND: Shah Rukh Khan, AkshayKumar and (top) Rani Mukerji with guest Shahid Kapoor, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapur on their TV shows
How worthwhile has it been for channels putting Bollywood stars on TV?

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

Abhishek Bachchan is stepping into his father’s shoes by hosting a game show on TV. What prompted Bachchan Jr. to give a nod to the small screen? Was it a lucrative offer? Perhaps, because it’s money that draws film stars to television. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Rani Mukerji, Karisma Kapur… the list is endless of Bollywood stars who made the big crossover.

Akshay, reports said, was paid a whopping Rs 2.5 crore per episode to host the second season of Khatron ke Khiladi. And Salman Khan was apparently given Rs 89 crore for the first season of Dus Ka Dum! It’s big money all right for the stars, but is it worthwhile for the channels to shell out such big bucks for the star value?

Statistics prove that shows with Bollywood stars have never topped the overall Television Rating Points (TRP) charts. Only Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, that changed the face of Indian television years ago, saw TRP success. All other shows hosted or judged by stars have raked in average or dismal TRPs. Yes, there is a fair amount of curiosity and people are bound to watch the show at least once for the star’s sake, but after that it’s content that sells. Meanwhile, TV actors are unhappy with the ‘filmi’ invasion but will not complain openly for fear of antagonising the channels. “Does it make any sense to pay film stars in crores? No show has zoomed up the TRP charts,” said a popular TV actress. “The TRPs that these stars have got, after the initial few episodes and special episodes, is the same that any other anchor has got! Did Rani’s presence lift the show up so much… wouldn’t it have been the same if it was somebody else? And what big difference did Karisma make?” Another veteran actor added, “In the name of recession TV actors had to go through paycuts, but film stars on TV continued to rake in the moolah!”

Channels have their reasoning. Programming head Ashvini Yardi explained, “We go in for film stars for three reasons: It boosts perception… the brand image of the star rubs on to the channel. For instance, having Akshay’s show gives the channel a fresh, adventurous and risk-taking image. Second, reality shows help bring in a fresh audience, especially the men and youth, who are not regular soap watchers. Also, shows with film stars rake in huge money in terms of advertisements.” What’s important though, pointed out Ashvini, is to make the right choice while choosing a film star. “The show has to go with the star’s brand,” she said. TV serial producers, however, believe that since it’s serials that hold the top slot in the number game, more attention should be paid to them. “Instead of cutting down on our budgets, channels should cut down on paying so much to film stars,” grumbled a TV director. Producer-director Rajan Shahi’s glad that top film stars are now also TV stars. “I hope TV stars get the same treatment in films,” he said. Talking about B-town’s foray on the small screen, he added, “I’m sure taking film stars has some benefit that channels see. In the past film stars have given huge TRPs… may be the magic will work again. For me, Rakhi Sawant has been the most successful film actor in terms of success on TV.”
Buzz is that the budget of Agent Vinod has been slashed from Rs 65 crore to Rs 40 crore. Are the makers playing safe or is there more to it?

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 03, 2009)

Considering the fate of some of the recent films bombing at the box-office and the aftereffects of recession, corporate are entirely rethinking their film financing budgets. Apparently, this is why Eros International, the financers of Agent Vinod starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, has considerably slashed the film’s budget.

The buzz in trade circles, based on a conversation overheard between a leading producer and a couple of distributors is that Eros International is renegotiating their deal with Illuminati Films, producers of Agent Vinod. The budget of the film has been brought down considerably from Rs 65 crore to Rs 40 crore. Illuminati Films is co-owned by Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan.

Agent Vinod is a spy thriller with Saif and Kareena playing undercover agents. In fact, buzz is that Kareena plays a full-on action star on the same lines as Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

In today’s time, when having a big star in one’s film does not guarantee money recovery, it is not surprising that Eros is having second thoughts about the budget of the film. Apparently, the dismal performance of the recent Saif-Kareena starrer Kurbaan at the box-office has also played a big role in Eros deciding to cut costs. Incidentally, this is the third time recently that the real life couple failed to set the screen on fire.  They had not too long ago worked together in Roadside Romeo and Tashan.

However, our source insists that the slashed budget of Agent Vinod has nothing to do with the box-office failure of Kurbaan. The source says, “It is a wise business decision which can be termed as a precautionary measure. It has got nothing to do with Saif and Kareena per se. For all you know, Agent Vinod may be a hit and a cut in its cost will benefit Eros and Illuminati all the more.”

Sriram Raghavan, director of Agent Vinod, says that the film will be going on the floors in the next two months. Commenting on the slashed budget, he says, “I don’t know if there is any such development, but I can’t downsize my script. There are a lot of foreign locales and action in the film. So, it’s definitely a high budget film. However, I cannot reveal its budget, producer Dinesh Vijan is the right person to comment on it.”

Eros International and Illuminati Films declined to comment on the story.

‘Row On Depiction Of Love Story’

THE TIMES OF INDIA (October 22, 2009)

New Delhi: An early winter appears to have struck Indian Summer—the controversial film on the Nehru-Edwina romance—with its producers formally informing the I&B ministry that the project has been shelved.

In a letter on October 5, India Take One Productions

said the script was being revised and the film’s production had been rescheduled for the latter half of 2010.

Recession in the UK has been cited as the reason for the delay. But agency reports quoted director Joe Wright as saying that the postponement spawned out of a row on how much of a “love story” between India’s first PM and the wife of the last viceroy could be depicted. “We were in be
tween a rock and a hard place. The Indian government wanted us to make less of the love story while the studio wanted us to make more of the love story,” he said.

The communication comes close on the heels of the controversial script “cuts”— sanitising the script
of all intimate scenes—as mandated by the I&B ministry. The film is an adaptation of British historian Alex von Tunzelmann’s 2007 book ‘Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire’. American director Wright was to begin filming in early 2010 and Cate Blanchett was expected to play the part of Edwina Mountbatten.

The letter written by India Take One said,
“The producers of the film Mashobra Films are revising the script and are planning to reschedule the production in the latter half of 2010 after removing all objections. Due to recession in the UK, they have delayed/postponed the project till further notice.”
Among the scenes that the ministry has reportedly suggested be knocked off include intimate scenes between Nehru and Edwina. TNN
While London Dreams was planned on a lavish scale, recession forced director Vipul Shah to reconsider costs. His leading stars Salman and Ajay opted for a 25 per cent pay cut, instead of compromising on the film

By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 13, 2009)

When Vipul Shah took over London Dreams from Raj Kumar Santoshi at the behest of Salman Khan, the film was hot property because these two actors were coming together after a gap of 10 years. They were last seen in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Also, the Bollywood market was booming.

In fact, Vipul had an offer of Rs 120 crore from a film corporation for the worldwide rights even before he had finished shooting. However, the deal fell through because a few days after Vipul had negotiated this deal, the global economy turned shaky.

It is said that Vipul (thanks to three hits – Ankhein, Waqt and Namastey London) was to get a director’s fee that was to the tune of Rs 10 crore plus. Both his leading men Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan were also to get big money.

Now news has it that both Salman and Ajay have voluntarily agreed to take a 25 per cent fee cut; and Vipul has waived his complete fee.

When asked to confirm this report, Vipul says, “Yes, this happened sometime at the end of 2008. When the global economy crashed, all of us on board London Dreams – that is Salman, Ajay, my senior technicians and staff sat down and said, ‘We have a choice to either go ahead and shoot the film on the lavish scale that we had envisioned it; and take a pay cut ourselves. Or we had to cut corners.'”

Vipul explains that with the shooting planned in Paris, London and Punjab, the expense was very high. However, both his leading men immediately agreed to take a pay cut. He says, “They told me to go ahead and make the film on the scale that I had envisioned, and they would be willing let go of a part of their fees.”

Vipul adds, “I guess that night we bonded best. There is a saying that when you bond during a crisis, the bonding goes deep. That is what happened with Salman, Ajay and me.”

Incidentally, Raj Kumar Santoshi shot for just one day of London Dreams with Salman Khan at the Golden Temple, Amritsar, before Vipul took over and made it into an altogether new film.

And Santoshi allegedly spent a large sum on that one day’s shoot, which has now been scrapped.

That should give an indication of the scale on which this film was planned.

Producers back out of John Abraham’s film claiming that its budget is not recession-friendly, the star remains committed to the director and the project

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 17, 2009)

Recession has resulted in one more road kill in Bollywood. The film in question is John Abraham’s dream project, which was to be directed by his old friend Sabal Shekhawat. Indian Films (Studio 18), who were producing the film, have backed out of the project citing recession as the reason. However, the film is not being shelved yet as John is now backing the project himself.

Our source said, “Studio 18 had loved the subject and John was extremely keen to work on the film. Sabal Shekhawat, who is among the finest ad filmmakers, was supposed to direct the film. John had loved this spy thriller. Everything was set and Sabal was in Turkey finalising the locations when he received a call from Studio 18 saying that they were no longer keen on doing the project due to its budget.”

The source added, “Studio 18 wanted to reduce the budget, but Sabal does not want to compromise at all on the creative front. He was of the opinion that the film required a certain mounting and he clearly was not in favour of reducing the budget. John was cool about it as he is committed to Sabal, as the director was the one who gave John his break into modeling. John has now taken it on himself to see to it that the project goes on the floors immediately. In fact, another producer is now set to make the film as well.”

Shariq Patel of Studio 18 said, “These are recessionary times. Budgets for the film needed to be reworked and we were unable to bring it down to our satisfaction.”

However, John Abraham said, “Studio or no studio, the film will be made. I have complete faith in Sabal and at no point, will I let him down. I will always stand by him like I do with my directors. There is no question of the film not happening; it is very much on course.”

Shilpa Shetty’s home production starring Bipasha Basu has been revived; the two actresses will undergo special training for the action film
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 08, 2009)

Shilpa Shetty & Bipasha Basu

What’s been stopping many female-oriented projects is the supposed commercial non-feasibility of a chick flick. But now, Bollywood divas are all set to make it happen for themselves.

The Bipasha Basu-Shilpa Shetty project which was put on the backburner because of the recession is now being revived due to the warm vibes that the two actresses shared while shooting for Farah Khan’s talk show.

The film has been under wraps but secretly Shilpa’s plans for a home production have been crystallising. While one Shilpa Shetty-Raj Kundra production is being planned to re-launch Shilpa’s sister Shamita, the other is an action film that Shilpa will be doing with Bipasha.

Shilpa and Bipasha will have to undergo special training to acquire the agility to look convincing as action queens. Interestingly, the film is being written and directed by Manish Jha, who has earlier directed Matrubhoomi, a film on female foeticide.

Bipasha, who is looking forward to the film, says, “If everything works out properly, I would love to work with Shilpa. She’s a terrific person but doing the film depends on budget, and a host of other things.”

While commercial non-feasibility of female-oriented projects is a common thing in Bollywood, things are slowing changing. Apart from Shilpa’s film, Shristi Behl is all set to cast Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif in a desi adaptation of the Anne Hathaway-Kate Hudson Hollywood starrer, Bride Wars. Also, Katrina, who has bought the rights of a female-oriented French film, has asked Dibakar Banerjee to direct it. Katrina had earlier told Mumbai Mirror, “I don’t want  to talk about it until I lock in all the details. I don’t want my idea to be used by  anyone else. As for the director, I’m not saying anything. But this is a role I haven’t done  before.”

By Joginder Tuteja, August 31, 2009 – 15:13 IST

Vipul Shah Exactly a year back, right after the release of Singh Is Kinng, it was announced amidst much fanfare that Indian Films was in the process of acquiring London Dreams for a never heard before figure of Rs. 120 crores. It was obvious that Vipul Shah, maker of this Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and Asin starrer, had hit the jackpot with the biggest ever deal for a Bollywood film.

However, as things stand today, the deal is scrapped. Indian Films is no longer associated with London Dreams and Vipul Shah is happy to go back to the old school method of selling the film to various distributors across the country.

“Yes, there is nothing happening with Indian Films as far as London Dreams is concerned. Frankly, I am not dependent on the corporate houses to see my film release in theaters. I have enough distributors across the country who are willing to pick the film and I am more than glad to release the film through them”, says Vipul Shah who has announced the release of the film as 30th October and has already begun the promotional campaign.

Looking at the response that the promos are expected to generate, what if a corporate house, including even Indian Films, shows a renewed interest in the project and is willing to renegotiate? Would he be willing to have a discussion?

“See, I am doing business here. Whatever works best for my film, I will do that. But no, I am not waiting for anyone here. There are great offers already and it’s a matter of time before they are sealed and announced”, Vipul responds.

While the figure quoted by Vipul was Rs. 120 crores at the time of announcement of London Dreams, it is but natural that in today’s market scenario, the amount would be much lesser. This is understandable too since the entire recession and slow down did impact consumers as well as the making of the films, something that reflects in the extremely poor success rate that Bollywood had to show for most part of the first half of 2009.

No wonder, while Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan is said to have been sold for Rs. 98 crores, even Kites and Three Idiots have not crossed the elusive Rs. 100 crores mark.

“These are all big films that you mention and also the most anticipated in the coming months. Hence they also serve as a benchmark for us”, says Vipul, “Since London Dreams too pretty much falls in the same bracket, it would be a matter of 5%-10% drift. Our film is not far behind either.”