The big wigs of the entire media and entertainment industry congregated in Delhi on September 9, 2011 to discuss the future of this industry in the era of digitisation, at Focus 2011, an annual summit organised by Assocham. The summit coincided with the National Awards being given away to the best films and actors for the previous year.
One of the main themes discussed at this year’s summit was performance of Indian films at International platforms like Cannes and Oscars. Sharing thoughts on the same were eminent speakers like Ravi Kotarrakara, Secretary, South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce; Kitty Koo, VP (Intl), New York Film Academy; Uday Singh, MD, Motion Pictures Association of America; and Sandeep Marwah, President, AAFT, while the discussion was moderated by Sujata Dev, Co-chairperson, Media and Entertainment Committee, Assocham.
India today surpasses most of the nations in terms of numbers of films made here every year. While the US out churns about 500-600 films every year, the number in India is 1,000, more than even China. While Bollywood is one of the world’s largest industries today, the revenues from Indian films account for only 2 per cent of the total revenues generated by this industry globally. Though we release more films than any other country, the performance of Indian films at the global front has not been all that well.
One of the reasons behind the same was limited support by the Government to filmmakers to promote their films abroad, observed Ravi Kotarrakara. He added, “It is very important to do a good PR for your film at the Oscars. Hosting a dinner alone costs Rs 70-80 lakh, the entire promotions can cost huge amounts. The Government should come forward in support of the films that have extremely good concepts and deserve to be promoted.”
Kitty Koo agreed with Kotarrakara, but also added that even though Indian films were gaining much popularity in the western world, the reason for their performance at the awards front was the scripts and storylines. “A great film always has a great story and Indian films are somewhere lacking in that aspect. Though there is quantity, quality has suffered. Film is an art that requires training, co-ordination and a proper mechanism. If that is taken care, Indian films can fare very well on international platforms,” she added.
Sandeep Marwah, on the other hand, stressed that Indian film Industry and Indian actors were being appreciated the world over. “The reason for less revenue is also our ticket prices and tax deductions,” he noted.
Apart from focusing on the content, there was also a need to protect that content, expressed Uday Singh. “Everything is going digital. With ease of access also comes a great responsibility. Our content should not be misused. We must act towards implementing download and protection laws, access control, copy control and other such measures,” he added.
The panel consented on the need for the film fraternity to come forward and participate in maximum capacity on these platforms, however lengthy the procedures may be.