July 10, 2010

Damage-control report know who!

The following report just looks like a Damage-control in response to this


Director Anubhav Sinha (known for the super dud Cash) must have felt like King for exactly a day when rumour mills said that his Ra.One with Shah Rukh Khan was sold for Rs.175 crores.

But a segment of Bollywood saw red. “How can a Anubhav-SRK project get Rs 175 crores when a SRK-Farhan Akhtar (Farhan’s box office record is much better than Anubhav’s) combination be negotiated for Rs 125 crores,’’ asked a trade guru. He added, “While neither the price of Don-2 is Rs 125 crores nor can Ra.One ever fetch Rs 175 crores (in these economically challenged times) it is ridiculous for vested interests to spread these stories.’’

Trade expert Taran Adarsh said, “Bollywood is going through a correction process. Now, more than ever, there is arithmetic attached to the acquisition process. And the price of a film is based on the combined equity of the director and the star. If Shah Rukh Khan and Raju Hirani were to come into the market with a project and you hear figures like Rs 125 crores being bandied about, it may seem more likely. Both are hot at the box office. But just to float random figures will once again be Bollywood’s biggest folly. ’’

It is said that after disasters like Raavan and Kites (both of which crossed the Rs 100 crore marks leaving their investors near bankrupt), the Hindi film industry is very sceptical about acquisition prices. Exaggerated reports say that reeling under the impact of huge disasters like Drona, Blue, Kites and Raavan, there are film corporations who are unable to float their own IPOs (initial public offerings). An insider said, “Some corporations have tightened their purse strings and are even keeping a count of how many cups of tea are being served each day in their offices. So where is the question of them acquiring movies for ridiculous prices?’’

Trade consultant Amod Mehra also warned that one irresponsible number can have a domino effect on the whole system. “Stars and makers will again start believing in their own supremacy theory. And if they make ridiculous demands, then the trade that is just about raising its head with correct pricing (as in the case of I Hate Luv Storys) will fall prey to its own greed.’’ However, he felt that the biggest superstars (Aamir Khan, SRK) and sensible filmmakers are very aware of the trade machinations. “And it is just a few ill-informed people who end up spreading rumours of crazy prices when the reality is something else,’’ said Amod.

While corporations conveniently keep saying “company policy doesn’t allow us to talk figures,’’ it is hinted that the deal for Don-2 will close at Rs 81 crores; Golmaal-3 is being negotiated for a similar amount; Akshay Kumar’s Tees Maar Khan will sell for Rs 55 crores despite the unbeatable combination of Farah Khan (whose last hit Om Shanti Om was huge) and Katrina Kaif (10 hits in a row); Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also reportedly closed at Rs 81 crores. “This itself is a very big price to recover,’’ said a broker. It is hinted that SLB (whose Saawariya was a washout) has allegedly been paid Rs 30 crores for this film, and so has his hero Hrithik. But these are definitely the biggest deals as far as the current scenario goes. And even these may prove fatal for Bollywood. Ideally films that are in the Rs 55-70 crore bracket are the safe bets.

“Producers be warned. A 3-Idiots that grossed something to the tune of Rs 375 crores is a once-in-a-blue-moon phenomenon,” said Taran.