Have distributors begun to trust filmmakers again?
By: Hiren Kotwani
Thanks to the Bollywood boom film distributors have lapped up 'Krissh 3' and 'Son Of Sardar' for huge amounts even before the shoot begins|
We all know that history repeats itself and here is a fine example of it from within the industry. Decades ago, films would be sold to distributors once announced or during mahurats.
Things changed after the industry was invaded by corporates, who would partner with producers and acquire the rights of the movies, anytime from the making to post completion.
While Rakesh Roshan has pocketed Rs 125 crore from selling Krissh 3
starring Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn has got Rs 80 crore for Son Of Sardar
However now again, in a sort of reversal of trends, two films have been sold for a good amount, even before a single frame has been shot.
Trade sources reveal that while Rakesh Roshan has pocketed Rs 125 crore from selling his next Krissh franchisee, Ajay Devgn has secured R 80 crore for Son Of Sardar.
Veteran trade analyst Amod Mehra reasons, "Both the films topline major stars like Hrithik and Ajay, who are on a roll with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Singham, respectively. So it's no surprise that their upcoming movies have been sold even before shooting has begun.
In a way, this marks the return of the trend of earlier days. Also, the market has grown, going by the money films have been earning recently." He adds that content is equally vital.
Sharing the same view is Sanjay Ghai, Delhi-based distributor at Mukta Arts. He feels that corporate houses are not picking up distribution rights as they did when they entered the industry.
"Corporates are more tight in terms of money. An individual distributor can dole out up to Rs 5 crore for a big movie in Punjab territory, but a corporate can't afford that risk.
Also, they wouldn't have been able to afford the price Krissh 3 was asking for," he points out, attributing the selling price to the set-up and the reputation of Rakesh and Hrithik jodi.
Coming to Son Of Sardar, Indore-based Aditya Choksey of Akshar Enterprises enthuses that Ajay is on a high. "Firstly, his films are doing multiple business. And the film is a remake of a South Indian hit. So naturally, Viacom 18 is positive about it," he points out.
Devgn's associate Kumar Mangat ascribes it to a combination of star status and the content. However, he states, "The trend of films being sold on announcement or mahurat is only for big stars like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, etc. apart from Ajay and Hrithik."
As for movies like Aamir-Kareena's Dhuaan or Hrithik's Agneepath not sold as yet, it's because the producers don't want to rush, say trade sources. "You think Karan Johar can't get a good price for Agneepath? Or Aamir and his producers can't get the price they want?" counters Choskey.
A good year ahead
Meanwhile, Mumbai-based distributor Ramesh Sippy of Raksha Entertainemnt says, "This year has been much more successful than 2010 as yet. So naturally, the coming months promise to be as good if not better. That buoyancy has generated this heat," he states.
Also, Choskey feels that this trend is only partial. "The trend will return by 50 per cent. The remaining movies with other actors will have to wait. For me, the content is more important," he concludes. At the same time, Ghai feels that the individual distributors will also return in a considerable way.
Actors turning producers
Another distributor on condition of anonymity revealed that actor-producers venturing into distribution is another factor worth noting. "Dabangg got an offer of R 8 crore for Delhi-Up and Punjab.
But the Khans took the risk on themselves and the film did a business of R 25 crore," he reveals, adding that Aamir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani decided to distribute 3 Idiots themselves through Reliance Entertainment after the deal with Viacom 18 (then Studio 18) fell out.