There was a time, not a long time ago, when we talked about movies we loved going to. Nowadays, it is all about the 100 Cr club. A media and publicist created frenzy, the 100 Cr label is a great marketing move. But this is more about numbers, rather than the movie experience.
In the US, every movie ticket bought is accounted for and duly documented. The same can’t be said for Indian films. Several movie producer claims of touching the 100 Cr benchmark can be considered dubious. Yes, there are trade magazines and a method to calculating box office figures. But these are figures largely based on trust, rather than accountability. So how much does the 100 Cr club matter?
Moreover, even if movie achieve a 100 Cr benchmark, considering our huge population and increasing multiplex tickets, does is make sense to judge the movie’s success only on the basis of it’s box-office collection? Because during festive seasons like Diwali, Ramadan, Christmas people generally go out with families, spend on movies irrespective of their reviews. Large section of Indians watch movies just because they want to watch their favourite actor or actress in the movie
Movie making is an expensive and largely non-lucrative business in India. Check the figures. Only nine Bollywood (plus Hollywood Indian releases) have been declared ‘Hit’ or ‘Super Hit’ this year. In 2016, 5 Bollywood films have crossed the 100 Cr mark, if figures are to be believed. In this dire scenario, the 100 Cr tag is a big plus to the movie. As a publicist, you are saying that the masses love the movie. You are also attracting fickle audiences to the theaters.
In an age where piracy is rampant and opening weekends decide a film’s fate, the 100 Cr label is a life saver. It makes good trade talk, the 100 Cr tagline. Acclaimed actor Naseeruddin Shah spoke against the 100 Cr craze earlier this year. He mentioned poisoned film making sensibilities and the adverse effect on content.
But producers need good business for them to make more movies, not necessarily better films. This is a battle between art and commerce. The latter will mostly win it. But great artists, fiercely independent directors and great films, will continue to make their mark. The 100 Cr bubble will make way to a new one. But for the audience, the experiences will always count and not the numbers.