Rise of Organized Film Production in India
Despite being the world’s biggest film industry, it was only after 2001 that Indian cinema got an official recognition and industry status. Until then, producers often depended upon private moneylenders to finance their films. It is also believed that lots of black money from underworld went into the funding of various films. In fact, in 2001 when Salman Khan starrer Chori Chori Chupke Chupke was released, CBI seized all its prints and the film producer Bharat Shah got arrested for having connections with underworld.
Hence, before the public investors and corporate funders came into being, it was only solo independent producers or family production houses such as Rajshri productions, B.R Productions and R.K Films that managed to make the big-budget movies. But as soon as the ‘Industry’ status was granted to the film world, corporate houses became increasingly interested in investing their money into films. Realizing huge potential, even the government of India opened avenues of loan for films through public banks such as IDBI i.e. Industrial Development Bank of India.
Soon after this liberalization, not only the big financial institutions but also global and direct foreign investments started entering this field and made it a wider entertainment industry. Incorporating the Hollywood culture, the new corporate productions introduced professionalism into filmmaking that was missing earlier. The corporate houses not only developed professional ways of organizing business but also concentrated on the script development and marketing strategies. The major change that corporatization brought to Indian cinema is the huge distribution network both nationally and internationally.
Top Hollywood players like Universal and 21st Century Fox have gone into joint ventures with the Indian film companies. Also, Indian producers are focusing on international co-productions in order to make films intended for western audiences. In the year 2008, Walt Disney in association with Yashraj released its first animation film titled Roadside Romeo. Also, Twentieth Century Fox and the Star Entertainment and Media Group had a tie up between them that resulted in Fox Star Studios.
Advent of corporate houses has introduced proper budgeting, time management and contractual agreements with directors and actors. Almost every big film production house, be it ADLABS, EROS or UTV are now registered in Bombay Stock Exchange and in London Stock Exchange as well.
Since corporate houses have now huge capital to invest, they are producing multiple films simultaneously. Consequently, the risk factor has also spread out. Also, the new-age production houses are aiming at controlling and operating all aspects of filmmaking starting from finance to production and ultimately distribution. For example, the Yashraj Productions have their own setups for recording, dubbing, editing and production supplies. They have different sections such as Yashraj distribution, Yashraj music and Yashraj video to market their films and manage their entire business process. It was one of the premier production companies, which hired management students from IIM, Ahmedabad. Besides, some corporate houses even have their own multiplex for the well-marketed theatrical release of their films.
Indian films, which were earlier popular due to their star cast are nowadays getting recognized by their production banners. In some way, the actor-based charm has now been replaced by Production Company’s brand name. Before summarizing the rise of corporate film world, Pandolin enlists below some leading production companies that are successfully ruling the Indian film industry:
UTV Motion Pictures: It is a film unit of Disney-UTV i.e. subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. UTV in partnership with 20th Century Fox has produced many successful films since 1996. It has played an enormous role in taking Indian cinema to a global level. Apart from being one of the dominant production company of our country, UTV Motion Pictures recently got selected to represent India at the Oscars. Rang De Basanti, Fashion, Jodhaa Akbar, Kaminey and Barfi are some of the iconic moves that rolled out from this production banner.
Reliance Entertainment: It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group that has produced and distributed big-budget films like Kites, Raavan, Paa and Bodyguard. Formerly known as Reliance Big Entertainment, this production house not only handles movies and music but also sports, gaming and digital distribution platforms like digital cinema, IPTV, Mobile TV and DTH.
Eros International: It is a film production and distribution house that has its branches expanded in over fifty countries around the world. They possess more than 2000 films in their library and television rights for around 1000 Hindi films. Some of the best entertainers of Indian cinema like Cocktail, Rockstar and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara are co-productions of Eros International. It is an eminent motion picture company that not only produces but also acquires and distributes Indian language films in various formats globally.
Fox Star: This production company with its Hollywood base made its debut in the Indian film market with the distribution of a Hindi flick titled My Name is Khan starring Shah Rukh Khan. It is a joint venture of Twentieth Century Fox and Star India Pvt. Ltd owned by Rupert Murdoch. Till date, Fox Star has released many Hollywood blockbusters in India and produced as well as distributed Hindi films like Jolly LLB, Bol Bachchan and Murder 3 in collaboration with Indian production companies.
Viacom 18 Motion Pictures: It is a part of joint venture between Viacom and Network 18 that is regarded as one of the first studio model based production house. Starting from acquisition and production, this motion picture company spans out many other sections such as syndication, marketing and worldwide film distribution. The company that has previously released films like Tanu Weds Manu, Special Chabbis and Chashme Baddoor is now coming up with a biographical film titled Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Mukta Arts: This film production was launched by the legendary filmmaker Subhash Ghai in 1978. Ram Lakhan, Hero and Saudagar are some of the evergreen feature films that were produced by Mukta Arts. It is not only a production house but also a leading film equipment supplier company in India. Furthermore, it operates a reputed film institute named Whistling Woods International located in Mumbai. Currently, Mukta Arts are working on their ambitious film project named Kaanchi.
Today, most of the film companies are keen to form creative alliance and work in partnerships. Whether its Dharma, Balaji or UTV, all are trying to achieve maximum out of co-productions and creative synergies. As compared to a solo production, co-productions offer you the privilege to share ideas and divide responsibilities. Not only for creative enhancement but also from the business point of view, these co-productions seem beneficial these days. It’s not about the competition any more but co-operation among various film fraternities.