You know, I have been thinking about why Hindi Films are flopping one after the other. Here's what I came up with...
One of the reasons of course is Piracy! But think of the piracy problem in North America, you can download Hollywood Films days after they hit the theater in the U.S., yet they still make hundreds of millions of dollars. This is what I couldn't understand. How can this be! It's easier to get pirated Hollywood Films than Hindi Films. Yet Hindi Films are loosing more and more money every year. WHY??
One day, I was reading the Entertainment section of a leading Toronto newspaper and I happened to notice that every Movie Ad had something good to say about it. They said, "It's the biggest movie of the Summer" or "One of the best comedies" or "the most anticipated film of the year" or "An Exhilerating thrill ride" or "two thumbs up" or something else to this effect. None of the ads said that it's a piece of crap or don't watch it or anything negative about the film.
Then I read the reviews of the films and most films got a horrible review, hardly any films were considered hits or blockbusters. Yet these films were grossing in the hundreds of millions. WHY? It didn't make any sense! These films had good things written about them in the ads and got crappy reviews. The good things in the ads were from reputable sources like "Time Magazine", "The New Yorker", "Ebert & Roper", etc. So either the critics didn't know what they were talking about or the Ads were lying! Well, in some cases the critics were right and the movies were crap. So why call it "the best movie of the summer" if it's not? Well, that's advertising for you. Most films are marketed really well in the North America. The producers make you feel that you're going to see an amazing film. How else do you explain Ang Lee's "Hulk" raking in 62 Million dollars in the first weekend. I mean, the incredible Hulk TV show with Bill Bixby looked better than this stupid movie and that was over 2 decades ago. I believe the movie version of "Hulk" is a couple of steps backwards for Hollywood.
The other big part of the Hollywood Film marketing is product placement and merchandising. Film producers get a lot of money from advertisers for product placement and merchandising all of which helps pay for the film. There are toys, calendars, pens, books, clothes and lots of other things available with the logos and images from movies. I recently read that Rajshri Productions has done some merchandising for "Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon" which will be available exclusively through Pantaloons, all over india. Hopefully more hindi films will follow this trend and recover some money this way.
The number one problem with Hindi Films is that there's nothing good written about the films. The day the movie is released, the reviews are out and if a film gets a bad review, you can bet it won't do good business. In North America, reviews are out a week after the films release, so a film has some hope. Like in the case of "Hulk" after its first weekend of release, even if the reviews are bad it doesn't affect its release, because the film has recovered its money in the first week and is considered a hit. Hence, the Hindi Film critics should wait a week before posting their reviews about Hindi Films. This way films will recover most of its money in the first week and its up to the audience to decide which film is a hit.
Another problem is the release of the film, in North America, movies get a very wide release. For example, Matrix Reloaded was released in over 8,000 theatres as compared to Devdas in 500. I believe that a film only holds interest for a certain period of time. Even when I want to watch a movie, if I haven't seen it in the first few weeks of its release, chances are I will forget about it and loose interest later on. The reason I brought up this point is that if Hindi films are released in wide release as the Matrix Reloaded. First of all, there will be less housefuls and people won't have to think about coming back another day. Even if the theatres aren't full, the film will be playing in so many theatres in the first week that it will recover its money.
The final problem I want to talk about is Piracy! Hollywood films are released on DVD about 4-6 months after a films theatrical release, yet we expect Hindi Films to be out the next day. I don't think this is fair, if you want to see a movie so badly go to the theatre, its always better on the big screen. Films are released on DVD every week so there's no shortage of films. We all know that Hindi Films are available on pirated DVD and video, the day after its release. Only distributors are to be blamed for this, because there's no way for anyone to get a copy of the film unless its given by the distributors. The Producers Association recently went on strike in India to fight this, not releasing any film for quite a few weeks, the distributors lost a lot of money because of the strike and it forced them to come to terms with the producers about piracy. That's a step in the right direction for this problem, but more still needs to be done. Another problem with piracy is that a video store owner only buys one copy of the DVD and makes several pirated copies himself to sell and rent on DVD and VHS. This way the video store owner makes more money and the distributors lose money. So, if a film could recover cost on video, it doesn't because all the money is going into the pockets of the video store owner. And because the distributors lose money, they start raising the price of DVDs and people don't buy them because they're too expansive, its a vicious circle. The only solution I see for this is having a chain of video stores, like Blockbuster and others in the North America. This way it can be controlled and made sure that each store buys a certain number of licensed DVDs for rent and sale.
Gone are the days of films lasting for 30 or 50 or 100 weeks in a theatre. Very few films can do that today, whether its Hollywood or Bollywood. But there's no need for any good film to lose so much money. I believe that every movie that is released is loved by atleast one person in the world, whether its good or bad, there's one person who thinks of it as his/her favourite. A big change is going on right now in the Hindi Film Industry, there's a new generation of Directors, Writer, Actors and Technicians. These people need a stage to showcase their talent, and if their films are to be successful, they need the support of the audience, people need to watch films in theatres and buy only the Orignal Audio and VHS/DVDs. Only then can we have successful and well made films.
If you know of any store(s) that sells pirated video please click here to report them.