These days, everything in the film industry is accounted for. While producers can’t hide budgets and collections like before, some feel the cost of production may come down with the recent demonetisation. However most filmmakers are unaltered by it and films are still being shot without any hurdle.
The only problem arises when the daily wages due to the cash crunch, but artistes are now paid on a weekly basis. “On a larger scale, the industry’s problem is not cash but the rate of failure. Almost 90 per cent films don’t do well at the box office,” says Burugupalli Sivarama Krishna, president of Telugu Film Producers council. He added that they welcome the decision of the government, but doing so without providing alternate measures was not helping anyone.
On a high paycheck
Insiders say that while the cost of production may reduce slightly, the remuneration of the stars may not come down but may in fact go up further. “Who will reduce their salary? That’s not even a problem in the industry as payments are made in cheques,” says Burugupalli.
The big ticket
So how does demonitisation affect high-budget films, high remunerations and the black ticketing business? “This definitely helps the producer as everything including high remunerations is now accountable. It will make them keep a tab on the expenses, and cut the cost of production,” says Damodara Prasad, producer and secretary of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, while Anil Sunkara, who produced the high budget film 1 Nenokkadine earlier, adds, “Now, everyone knows the exact budget of the film and how much money he has put on a film and after it releases, how much has he gained or lost on it.”
When asked about the black tickets — where producers or distributors encourage selling them for high rates on the first day — Anil Sunkar feels that that online ticketing is good to avoid the black market of tickets. “Like the airlines, where they hike and reduce the tickets according to the demand, the film tickets too should be kept online to decide if you want to sell them for high rates,” says Anil, who believes the government should make every theatre’s ticketing online, then it will definitely help in accountability.
“Now, the producer can’t exaggerate the collections like before. He should come up with the exact figures of the film collections otherwise he has to pay for it,” adds Damodara.
He also believes that if stars takes half their remuneration in cash and get paid for the other half as a profit share, it will help the producer and the film.
However, producer Dil Raju says that we will have to wait and see the market in the coming months. “If the collections drop, then there may be a change in the mindset of the big stars and producers,” says Dil Raju.