Films are getting shelved left, right and center. A few filmmakers have made an official announcement that their film is no longer being made, as has been the case with Sidharth Malhotra‘s Bhavesh Joshi, Pulkit Samrat‘s No Sex Please, and We are Indians and Delhi Belly writer Akshat Puri‘s first directorial outing. However, others have mentioned that it is just a delay and not quite a ‘shelving’ per se, case in point being Farhan Akhtar‘s Bombay Samurai, Shahid Kapoor‘s Mr. Chaalu and the Saif Ali Khan-Parineeti Chopra starrer.
One wonders what really is plaguing the industry in general, as a result of which films are being threatened with S H E L V E D – that scary sounding seven letter S word. Is it the topicality of the theme or unavailability of dates? Or is it a challenge that is being thrown back on the content, courtesy some horrible times that Bollywood has faced in recent times when only certain films – like PK and Baby – have worked. Or is it the crashing/correction of the satellite prices, which have gone drastically down? Or is it (finally) the realization of how a project is different from a film?
Says filmmaker Vipul Shah:
It’s a mix of all. This is not unprecedented as the industry has gone through such phases many times before. Of course the scale is very different today and hence it looks all the more ominous. I am a firm believer of content, so I would like to think of that as the beginning of the problem. The situation won’t change for quite some time; in fact it may stay the same for much longer if we don’t improve the content.
No wonder, the common thought in the industry today is that need of the hour is to revise the content, especially for those films that are yet to go on floors. Even if this means delaying the film for a while, it could indeed be worth it so that things are much better at least at the paper stage, before actors are summoned to arrive on the sets.
Explodes filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, who has never shied away from calling a spade a spade:
The audience is sick and tired of being taken for granted and will not validate crap in the name of Entertainment/Cinema. The corporates have bled dry mainly due to their own stupidity in green lighting projects because of stars and not content. The satellite crash has brought a temporary hurdle in creating projects as the viability has reduced by 40%. And lastly a MASSIVE correction is required in star prices. Not that they don’t deserve, but the model should be – MAKE MONEY, TAKE MONEY.
Says Abhishek Pathak, who is trying to bring in a difference to the way films are conceptualized and executed today:
The main screw-up here is the cost. Also, there is lack of unity in the producer community. If one takes a stand on the pricing for the talent, the other one offers and gets that talent. But then they all forget about the recovery. Also there needs to be discipline in terms of release dates. If a film has been announced then everyone should respect the release plan. Studios too should focus more on content rather than projects. Today there is no space for rubbish films.
Now that’s something which is resulting in some worthy films also being hurt by under-performance as cinegoers have been tired of force feeding of certain earlier affairs that proved to be underwhelming.
Tanveer, Chief Creative Officer, Balaji Motion Pictures, says:
Audiences today are not passive consumers of pop culture but active participants in it. So if a promo gives the feeling that a particular movie is perhaps inextricably and entirely indulging in the same formula, they reject the notion right there. This trend has led to a solid rethink on content being served and consumed. Coupled with a crashed satellite market, makers are only improving and bettering their material before putting it out there. There is a huge correction, both financial and creative, in the industry.
Will there be better days and months ahead? Well, hopefully yes. Bollywood has survived its darkest of times in the past; it is bound to show a revival all over again. Fingers crossed!