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In a bid to reduce the cost of filmmaking and to promote new directors in the Malayalam film industry, the United Producers Forum, a group of fifteen Malayalam film producers, have decided not to cast any superstars in their movies. Filmmakers say the huge remuneration charged by superstars is the main reason why the cost of a film shoots up. Sources said big stars like Mammootty and Mohanlal charge around Rs. 6 million each.
Veteran Suresh Kumar, who has produced more than 30 films in a career spanning two decades, said that all but three of the 38 films released this year till August have flopped and the total loss to the producers is in excess of Rs. 1 billion.
He said, "We just cannot go like this so we decided to join hands. To start with, we will do five films and the cost of each film will be around Rs. 10 million. We will have new directors but will not do any films with superstars."
"My blockbuster film Poochaku Oru Mukuthi directed by Priyadarshan in the early 80s cost less than Rs. 0.80 million. Now if I do such a film, it will cost Rs. 30 million while the market for Malayalam films hasn't grown," said Suresh Kumar. It is said that 70% of the total film cost goes to remuneration of actors and technicians.
Meanwhile, veteran scriptwriter S.N. Swamy commented that several factors are responsible for the success of a film, so a film with no superstars will have to bank heavily on marketing.