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Times have changed in Bollywood

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Chak De India
When was the last time that a celebration of a silver Jubilee or a Golden Jubilee of a film was celebrated with a fanfare by painting the town red heralding this achievement? In the good old days, this was the norm and the films that could reach this far found the audience thronging to the screens once again to the screen to relive the magic. This landmark was also considered a major event and was cited in detail in the media and there used to be a clamor to get for oneself the commemorative trophy among all those associated with the film.

Longevity as a concept for a film has become ephemeral. An interesting sidelight to this is found in the films being produced in South India these days where even completion of a regional language's film running of 10 and 15 days is celebrated with a great fanfare and the cities are plastered for this achievement. This existentialist dilemma is apparent for the regional films per se, and for the films in South India in particular owing to the fact that they have to compete with the Hindi and English films to vie for the eyeballs.

If one were to analyze the reasons for this metamorphosis that the films have undergone major catalytic factor that has emerged is the selling of television telecast and VCD/DVD rights. This takes care of the recouping major part of the investments. Now the film companies have also widened their horizon to undertake every aspect of film making on their own, be it the production work, distribution, exhibition or the audio rights. Most of the film production companies now prefer to release the music on their own company name and not through a music company. Just five years ago who would have thought that Yash Raj movies would be releasing on Yash Raj music or a Jodha Akbar's music be released on UTV music, the producers of the film. The whole idea is to cut down on the sources where one had to share the revenue earlier.

Another factor that has led to this change is the money that is flowing into production of the films and corporatization that has happened in the industry. This has led to increase in the number of films being produced in a year, and if one of the moves is a hit during the year, while other two have flopped, then it takes care of all the flop films. A live example is that of Yash Raj films which had only Chak De as the major hit during 2007, but had big flops in the form of Laaga Chunri Mein Daag, and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom along with Aaja Nachle. But one Chak De tilted the balance.

What this has also meant that now the production companies are ready to take the risk with offbeat films as well and these offbeat films are turning out to be the surprise package as it happened with Bheja Fry and Mithya. In good old days a producer may not have the courage to take the risk, but now the production companies are taking it.

So, while mileposts in the form of a golden jubilee or a silver jubilee have become a thing of the past, the investment is now recycled back with a small run of a film owing to the multi-prong agency being adopted by the production houses. One may therefore not despair the loss of excitement of a golden jubilee celebration and be more attuned to viewing more number of films during a year, as variety has become the order of the day.

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