Simple filmmaking is passé. Either you make a film that earns Rs.100 crore, or retire. It’s not enough to make a good film, from the heart; if it doesn’t make it to the 100 Crore Club, it is as good as garbage. Then, it’s not enough to have made Rs.100 crore, but also how soon you made it.
A few of the big players have reduced filmmaking to just numbers. Cinema was always business, but it was also art, creativity and storytelling. Now it’s just hit the audience on the head and take their money.
A result of this absurd race for profit is that films are designed just to hit that tar-get. Some of the so-called 100-crore films are so bad, they are instantly forgotten. But the producers, directors, stars sit smug in the 100-crore glow.
There’s the formula — sign a star, shoot at fancy locations, have loads of action, some cheap comedy, a sexy item number, a hero who can take off his shirt, a heroine who can get into a bikini, promote it like crazy, even it means dancing on the streets with a begging bowl. Fudge figures if need be. Bulldoze your way into releasing a large number of prints, so that the first weekend can rake it in. By the time the audience knows it has been conned, the film can be out of the theatres for all anybody cares.
The stars are forced to get into gladiator mode so that their films reach the 100-crore mark quickly and they can remain in the running, prolong their stay at the top a little longer. They have to compete, run one another down, divide the industry into camps, play nasty games, do what it takes — sell the soul to the devil if need be, but make that damn Rs.100 crore. Then gloat, celebrate, party, hide the fear of failure...till the next release comes up and it’s time for the juggernaut to roll again.
The media can be arm-twisted into promoting just the superstars, so that filmmakers and actors who care about cinema are devalued completely. Their films may win raves at festivals and other forums where art matters, but they will be treated with disdain; they won’t get to the theatres, and if they do, then in a slot that makes it inconvenient for the connoisseur to catch the little gems.
Getting into the 100 Crore Club is not really an achievement, it is a public admission of the fact that the film on the screen is a work of compromise, greed, cynicism and manipulation. Not always, but more often than not. Let the true filmmaker have the courage to say that his or her film may not have made Rs.100 crore but it has been made with love, honesty and creativity, the desire to tell a good story and respect for the audience — let money not always be the yardstick of success.