Stars charge because everybody wants stars

SS Rajamouli, the creator of the latest international hit ‘RRR’, says that the fees charged by stars and directors have caused this abysmal state of affairs where the Hindi film industry is in the doldrums. The stars took credit when a movie passed and then increased their pay.

It’s a myth that a star makes a movie work. At best, a star, if it is popular, can only help to gain the first footsteps. The rest totally depends on other factors, especially the content, which counts the most.

It is a fact that content makes every actor a star. Rajesh Khanna for instance was created after ‘Aradhana’. As for Amitabh Bachchan, he struggled from 1969 when his debut film ‘Saat Hindustani’ came out. It wasn’t until 1973 that ‘Zanjeer’ emerged as a superstar. Rather, a producer would go for the talent of an actor. Otherwise, actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Govinda, Amol Palekar and other such artists would not have taken their films to silver or gold anniversaries.

Rajamouli should know that star prices follow the same economic formula: demand. It is not limited to Hindi movies. Star prices along with cinema admission rates have also been a major concern in the South Indian film industry and to deal with this issue, the trade organizations there had also passed certain resolutions to convince the stars to be more reasonable.

It makes no sense, but when it comes to big, successful filmmakers, stars are more reasonable, but they dress an aspiring producer to the point of bleeding.

How did filmmaking suddenly turn into a multi-crore investment business? It was thanks to big corporate houses that suddenly saw the film industry as currency! Or did they think they knew the business better than the freelance filmmakers?

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Unfortunately, these corporate houses knew nothing about filmmaking. All they had was money. Traditionally, a star’s fee would be equal to the price of one major circuit (Bombay and Delhi-UP are counted as the major circuits), but no such formula was followed when corporate houses came into the picture.

The big companies never asked who the writer was or found out which technicians were involved in a film. They supported what the movie trade calls “proposals.” Only the stars mattered, so while the stars made money, the business moneybags lost a lot of money. And as these moneybags left the scene, the stars stuck to their impractical demands.

Rajamouli is right about star prices, but he also prefers to work only with stars. Would he have risked working with newcomers in ‘RRR’ instead of NTR Jr and Ram Charan? After all, he had a great subject and he’s also adept at executing his projects. So why no new faces? Simply, stars attract the first audience and with big budgets and widespread releases, the first few days are the most important.

Perhaps the two heroes of ‘RRR’ were more reasonable with Rajamouli, given his track record, but surely another producer is going to pay them big bucks after the super success of ‘RRR’.

Sir knows everything!

Social media has nurtured many attention seekers, and those who have not achieved much in their chosen field swarm social media platforms. Those who express their frustrations here are either those who have achieved unexpected success or, above all, those who are rejected, failures.

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They do it to stay relevant, to stay in the news. All they have been able to do is make social media anti-social.

They are identified with the film industry and are known for not being proficient in other fields. But they know what the government should do, what the prime minister should do and what the other filmmakers should do. Imagine, this comes from the industry and is frowned upon!

The problem is not with social media, they also serve the purpose of those who have no agenda or frustration to vent. The problem is with the media. Every comment made by these irrelevant people becomes newsworthy to them.

This know-it-all nonsense has expressed his observation that when one mimics a South Indian dubbed movie like ‘KGF 2’ which was successful all over India, you are heading for disaster.

Why would a Hindi filmmaker want to recreate a particular movie? Hindi filmmakers don’t imitate, they just copy. Official copying is called a remake. They have copied many foreign films. When a successful movie starts a trend, others try to follow it.

A trend does work for a while. Until another trend is set.

Many Hindi movies were big hits. Has anyone tried to imitate ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ or ‘Mother India’? No one tried to imitate ‘Sholay’, ‘Deewaar’ or ‘Zanjeer’! Yes, it became an idea to cast Rajesh Khanna in mostly romantic films even as Amitabh Bachchan continued his angry hero image. This is called following a trend.

The same man also has a grouse against Vivek Agnihotri, who claims that the creator’s research for ‘The Kashmir Files’ was not complete! Fine, but while you’re at it, are you able to point out exactly what was missing or what else was needed in the research of the film?

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‘The Kashmir Files’ was not an entertainer as genres go, but still the movie was a huge hit and the best Hindi movie of the year, collections wise. One thing every filmmaker knows is that you can’t prove your audience wrong. ‘The Kashmir Files’ was gobbled up by moviegoers and Rs 245 crore the film managed to collect at the box office vouch for it.

If your movies had an audience, you’d know it. You tried to emulate your ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ with a sequel, did you succeed? It didn’t and that’s why makers don’t imitate a successful film, they follow a trend.

When it comes to ‘The Tashkent Files’ or ‘The Kashmir Files’ neither you nor any other creator can match it. And the same goes for the South Indian blockbusters.

This guy posts his unsolicited comments, observations and advice and opinions just to get some publicity. That’s why I decided not to mention him.

What trend have you been able to set?

Comment on politics and other social issues, but it is not ethical to judge other makers and their films. Especially if one of them has made a huge hit that you need to emulate!

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