The recently held South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA) was held in Dubai, but unlike earlier years where the star attendance was high, Balakrishna and Rana Daggubati were the only two big names present.
The IIFA Utsavam that was supposed to be held in Hyderabad, did not happen, and the organisers are mum! Few months ago, another big film awards function was held in the city, but no big stars attended it.
Rumour is the stars are very clear: either they get an award or a hefty pay packet to just attend and be seen in the audience.
A source informs that getting other actors on board entails heavy expenditure for the organisers. “For each actor, you have to spend nearly Rs 2.5 lakh only for the travel and hospitality which ends up being quite a lot. This year, Vishnu Induri, the man behind SIIMA, was probably looking to earn some money from the event, so he avoided all the stars. Else, he would have had to spend a bomb to get all of them to Dubai,” adds the source.
D. Suresh Babu says these awards functions do not generate any revenue. “It’s a loss for the organisers who have to spend a lot of money. Earlier, many of the stars used to go to these film awards functions, but now, nobody is showing any interest,” he said.
The lack of big names at these film award functions has a cascading effect on satellite rates too. “Before any channel buys the telecast rights of these functions, they check to see if a big star has attended or if there is a great performance by an actress,” adds the source. “Some of the awards functions are surviving solely because of the telecast rights,” says Suresh Babu.
Suresh Kondeti, who has been giving away the Santosham film awards from the last 12 years, agrees that it’s not easy to organise an awards function and getting big stars to attend it.
But luckily for him, every year, Chiranjeevi or some other actor from his family attends the event, which allows him to run it successfully year after year.
Industry folks explain that IIFA Utsavam too didn’t happen because of the financial problems plaguing it. “They have to pay huge amounts if they want big stars to perform or even attend the function,” says a source.
And what good is an awards function without big names?
Vishnu Induri, who has been successfully organising the SIIMA says, “I am happy with the way the SIIMA is going and this year was probably the best in the last seven years.”
But when asked why only two big stars attended the event, he says, “Only the winners attended my awards function and I didn’t invite everyone.”