New Delhi: Gone are the days when Bollywood films running in their silver and golden jubilee weeks would be applauded by critics and fans alike and considered full-blown masterpieces. As the competition to make the cut with the viewers gets intense and collecting Rs 100 crore at the box office emerges as the new benchmark of success for Bollywood projects, the filmmakers have no option but to think of innovative ways to woo the viewers to the cinema halls. Busy deciding strategies to mint hundreds of crores at the box office, filmmakers end up neglecting the script - the vital element of any film.
The phenomenal success of 'Chennai Express' (it has earned Rs.192.85 crore till now) despite its criticism and its ability to dampen the revenue of Ekta Kapoor's 'Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara' is an offshoot of multiple reasons and strategies. Besides releasing 'Chennai Express' in 3,500 screens in the domestic market and 700 screens overseas, the film was dubbed in nine languages, and its ticket rates at the multiplexes inflated, all helping the film to reach the maximum audience.
As run-of-the-mill movies chalk up Rs 100 crore, is Rs 500 crore that distant a possibility?
Filmmaker Nupur Asthana, who has roped in Sonam Kapoor for her next directorial venture, believes Rs 500 crore is an achievable target. "Today all kinds of films are being made for various kinds of viewers at varying budgets. As audiences and budgets grow and markets expand, a certain kind of film that appeals to all will make money (that film may or may not be great). And the numbers will definitely rise from 100 to 500 crores in the next few years," she says.
Filmmaker Satish Kaushik understands the indelible impact which Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan leave on the minds of the viewers. Having spent decades in the industry, Satish feels it is the star power that keeps the industry alive. "The power that SRK and Salman Khan wield over the masses is huge. Our viewers idolize these stars, and it is their desire to watch them over and over again that further strengthens their position as superstars. Kisi bhi bade actor ko lete ho - chahe Salman Khan ho ya Shah Rukh Khan, film paise bana leti hai. I don't think Rs 500 crore is a huge target!"
Actor Farooque Sheikh, who doesn't appreciate the kind of bawdy and unwatchable comedy films which are being made today, knows it isn't irrational to aim for Rs 500 crore. "I think the revenue generated has more to do with the nation's economy than the films. People don't mind shelling out Rs 500 for a film which is not a small amount. I mean, there was a time when people would have to pay just Rs 30, but that's irrelevant now," says Farooque.