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Crunchy Times


No matter how many times it has been denied but recession surely has hit Bollywood in a big way. Nobody wants to admit, but the fact remains, given the current scenario, producers don’t want to indulge in extravagant expenses and neither do they want to experiment with a large sum of money.

The reason: Banks have stopped supporting and so have corporate houses that have ceased to acquire films, suddenly there are no funds from even the non-traditional sources. The result: projects are being cancelled, deals renegotiated, releases delayed and actors being around with lesser work than ever. In an industry that churns more than 500 movies in a year, the brunt is being borne by junior actors, technical staff and stars alike who’ve been asked to cut their rates- a very hush hush affair in the glamour industry.

By Hook Or Crook, even David Dhawan wants his movie to be complete with as tight a budget as possible. The cast has been given a salary cut, taking home as little as nearly 50% of the signing amount. After all even the master comedy director doesn’t know how box office would react to his pairing with John Abraham and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a cricket based film.

Production houses are also rumored to lay off staff thus leading to further slowing down of affairs. Bollywood’s biggest production house Yash Raj Films has apparently laid off over 20 employees. Other big names include Studio 18, Reliance ADAG and UTV, all facing the liquidity crunch.

Many believe that just as China, low cost and high quality would be the new mantra midst all the chaos. But for how long will the glitz and glamour of the bollywood be able to hold on to the global economic turndown and resultant loss of spending power of the average middle class cinemagoer? If they fail to deliver, will the disenchantment with the dream-weaving factory prove fatal? This too shall pass.

DJ Aqeel at Fire N Ice New Jersey May 23rd 2009

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