On August 2, eight films hit the screen: 'B.A. Pass', 'Rabba Main Kya Karoon', 'Love In Bombay', 'Calapor', 'Bhadaas', 'Chor Chor Super Chor', 'Prague and Bachchan'. 'Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai Dobaara' postponed its release by one week to avoid a clash with Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer 'Chennai Express' which hit the screens this Friday.
Bollywood has some big and small budget films lined up for back-to-back release. 'Madras Café' will release on August 23 followed by 'Satyagraha' on August 30.
Every week at least one big budget film hits the screen along with two or three small budget films. Last year around 100 Bollywood films were released. But this year about 175 to 180 films, including dubbed films, will hit the screen, says trade analyst Komal Nahta. The overall business might have registered a growth but films are eating into each other's profits, he insists.
“These days it's just one or two weeks' business for a film and then another big release overshadows the previous releases. Thanks to this trend many films are not able to make the money they have the potential for. 'Ramaiya Vastavaiya' had the potential of making more than Rs 40 crore but it could hardly gather Rs 30 to 31 crore. In spite of being a good film with a strong story and popular star cast, 'D-Day' had to suffer a loss of at least Rs 5 crore. I believe multiplexes should learn to estimate the actual potential of a film instead of going by star cast of the film," says Nahta.
This year till August, the number of films released is close to 100 (apart from Hollywood film releases). The worst affected are the small budget films that get no time to breathe. They are like stillborn babies, says trade analyst Taran Adarsh. “Bollywood is following Hollywood's pattern. But do people in India have the mindset of watching 8-9 films per month? 'Sixteen' was a good film and could have made money but it couldn't compete with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag', which has turned out to be a winner with mind-blowing collections. It has already made Rs 102 crore, very close to 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani's' Rs 180 crore collection," says Taran. Many other small budget films like 'Bajatey Raho' and 'Chor Chor Super Chor' did not get sufficient screenings.
While we keep reading about a film entering the Rs 100 crore club, film distributor Manmohan Kapur insists that the actual profit that reaches producers is just 50 per cent of it. “These figures are gross figures including taxes and theatres' share. Big budget films have it easy given their mega promotions and contacts. 'Himmatwala's' prints were distributed on condition that theatres will sign for 'Chennai Express' also. While single theatres can give you good money, they can't run a film for more than one week. So ultimately you depend on multiplexes for profit. However, multiplexes might reserve peak timings for big budget films. If your film is running just two shows a day, one at 9.30 am and another at 11 pm, it would definitely discourage the footfall," adds Kapur.
It's a sorry state of overproduction with a glut of scores of ready-to-release films battling for windows, agrees film producer Suneel Darshan. “It's surely a worrying trend for not just small but big budget films also. 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' and 'Son Of Sardar' were released in the same week and they both ended up eating into each other's profits. The exhibition sector faces the pressure of over-supply leaving content under-exploited," he adds. With increasing number of releases, filmmakers are forced to go overboard with promotions. “Though filmmakers now make money by selling satellite rights of their films. Not just producers but cinema also is in loss. I believe the only solution is more number of cinemas and multiplexes. But even that will take time," adds film critic Khalid Mohammed.