Stars charge because everybody wants stars 

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Stars charge because everybody wants stars 

S.S. Rajamouli, the maker of the latest international hit, ‘RRR’, says that costs charged by stars and directors caused this sorry state of affairs where the Hindi film industry is in the doldrums. The stars took the credit when a film succeeded and went on to increase their remuneration.

It is a myth that a star makes a film work. At best, a star, if popular, can only help bring in the initial footfalls. The rest depends totally on other factors, notably the content, which counts the most.

It is a fact that content makes a star out of any actor. Rajesh Khanna, for example, was created post-‘Aradhana’. As for Amitabh Bachchan, he struggled from 1969 onwards when his debut film, ‘Saat Hindustani’, was released. It was only in 1973 that ‘Zanjeer’ turned into a superstar. Earlier, a producer would go for the talent of an actor. Otherwise, actors such as Sanjeev Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Govinda, Amol Palekar, and other such performers would not have carried their films to silver or golden jubilees.

Rajamouli should know that star prices follow the same economic formula: the demand. It is not limited to Hindi movies. Star prices, along with cinema admission rates, have also been a big concern in the South Indian film industries and to address the issue, the trade bodies there had also passed certain resolutions to convince the stars to be more reasonable.

It is illogical but when it comes to big-time, successful filmmakers, stars are more reasonable, but they fleece an aspiring producer till he bleeds.

How did filmmaking turn into a multi-crore investment business suddenly? It was thanks to big corporate houses that suddenly saw the film industry as a mint! Or, did they think they knew the business better than the freelance filmmakers did?

Sadly, these corporate houses knew nothing about filmmaking. All they had was money. Traditionally, a star’s remuneration would be equal to the price of one major circuit (Bombay and Delhi-UP being counted as the major circuits), but no such formula was followed when corporate houses came into the picture.

The big companies never asked who the writer was or found out about the main technicians involved in a film. They backed what the film trade calls ‘proposals’. Only the stars mattered, so even as the stars made money, the corporate moneybags lost money big time. And while these moneybags deserted the scene, the stars stuck to their impractical demands.

Rajamouli is right about star prices, but he also prefers to work only with stars. Would he have risked working with newcomers in ‘RRR’ instead of NTR Jr and Ram Charan? He had a great subject, after all, and he is also proficient at executing his projects. So why not new faces? Simple, stars draw the initial audience and with big budgets and widespread releases, the first few days matter the most.

Maybe, the two heroes of ‘RRR’ were more reasonable with Rajamouli, considering his track record, but some other producer is certainly going to pay big money to them after the super success of ‘RRR’.

Mr Know All!

Social media has nurtured many attention seekers, and those who have not amounted to much in their chosen field, swarm social media platforms. Those who vent their frustrations here are either those who have gained unexpected success, or, mainly, those who are rejected, failures.

They do it to stay relevant, to stay in the news. All they have been able to do is make social media anti-social.

They are identified with the film industry and are not known to be proficient in other fields. But they know what the government should do, what the prime minister should do, and what the other filmmakers should do. Imagine, this coming from the industry rejects!

The problem is not with social media, they also serve the purpose of those who have no agenda or frustration to vent. The problem lies with the media. Any comment by these irrelevant people becomes newsworthy to them.

This know-all nonentity has aired his observation that when one emulates a South Indian dubbed film such as ‘KGF 2’, which succeeded all over India, you are heading towards a disaster.

Now, why would a Hindi filmmaker want to emulate a certain film? Hindi filmmakers don’t emulate, they simply copy. Copying officially is called a remake. They have copied a lot many foreign films. When a successful film starts a trend, others do try to follow it.

A trend does work for a time. Till another trend is set.

A lot many Hindi films were big hits. Has anybody tried to emulate ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ or ‘Mother India’? Nobody tried to emulate ‘Sholay’, ‘Deewaar’ or ‘Zanjeer’! Yes, it became a to cast Rajesh Khanna in mainly romantic films, even as Amitabh Bachchan carried on with his angry hero image. That is called following a trend.

The same man also has a grouse against Vivek Agnihotri, claiming that the maker’s research for ‘The Kashmir Files’ was not complete! Fine, but while you are at it, are you capable of pointing out what exactly was missing or, what more was needed in the film’s research?

‘The Kashmir Files’ was not an entertainer as genres go, Yet, the film was a huge hit and the best Hindi film of the year, collections-wise. One thing every filmmaker knows is that you can’t prove your audience wrong. ‘The Kashmir Files’ was lapped up by cinegoers and Rs 245 crore that the film managed to collect at the box office vouches for that.

If your films had an audience, you would know that. You tried to emulate your ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ with a sequel, did it work? It did not and that’s why makers don’t emulate a successful film, they follow a trend.

When it comes to ‘The Tashkent Files’ or ‘The Kashmir Files’, neither you, nor any other maker can emulate it. And the same goes for the South Indian blockbusters.

This guy posts his unasked-for comments, observations and advice, and opinions just to gain some publicity. So, I have decided not to name him.

What trend have you been able to set?

Comment on politics and other social issues, but it is not ethical to pass judgments on other makers and their films. Especially when one of them made a huge hit that you need to emulate!

 


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