T. P. Aggarwal
Publisher/MANAGING Editor
 A producer who has been in the business of film production for some time now recently told me how he was trying to find the ultimate equation on what sells and what doesn’t at the box-office. He had once employed a team of script writers to work on five different stories in keeping with the trends at that time but by the time he had finished with the scripting, the trends had changed. He should have known that box-office parameters keep changing from week to week and every Friday has a new story to tell at the box-office. The problem with most filmmakers is that they stop being original and innovative after a point of time. They go by trends and spin stories revolving around a particular theme overnight expecting them to work at the box- office.

While remakes of south films and sequels are old hat, a few months ago there was a flood of adult comedies and a sudden rush to register titles with adult content. It looked like there was a deluge of sex and passion in the industry, with producers competing with each other for bolder content. The wave seems to have come to an abrupt end now with some films being rejected outright and getting a miserable box-office response. It has also proved that steamy scenes and sex alone do not sell at the box-office and bold is not necessarily beautiful.

Lately it is the obsession for biopics that has taken over. Azhar for one had to contend with a moderate box-response and from what I know the film is unlikely to make any further headway. After all, why would the audiences like to see a biopic on Mohammed Azharuddin, which apparently seems to have been made to clear the stigma on his professional life and the ban on his cricketing career? This is irrespective of the efforts that the stars put to get into the skin of the character. There is a streamline of biopics in the next few weeks and we will have to wait and watch out how the audiences react to them, starting with Sarbjit this week. I would like to appreciate Aishwarya Rai for taking up a deglamourised role in the heart-rending role of a sister who fights hard to get her wrongfully confined brother released from a Pakistan jail, but it is the kind of film that should not be viewed in connection with the box-office parameters. With due regards to the efforts that have gone into the making of the film, it is the audience that will finally take a call.

As of now, Sairat will continue to have a successful run with no formidable competitor in any Hindi film. In fact going by box-office figures, it is Jungle Book and Sairat that continue to reign at the box- office undisturbed by new releases.

That reminds me of the very affordable admission rates that have made a huge difference to the business of Marathi films, which have
grown from strength to strength ever since the Government gave them a tax-free status. I don’t think every other Marathi film can challenge an average Hindi film, but the success of Marathi films by and large also has a lot to do with the ticket rates that are priced for the common man. I think we seriously need to look at the entertainment tax structure if we need to increase the volume of business but I guess that will have to wait till we hear from the Government on the GST bill. Even otherwise, Hindi filmmakers have to be on their toes. They had better not compromise on their content lest they get lost in the race.


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