The year 2003 has been a good one for Bollywood. After being in the doldrums for almost two consecutive years, the film industry has reason to smile. According to trade analysts and data from Film Information, a trade magazine, 246 films were released in 2003. And of these, just the top 20 raked in theatrical profits of approximately Rs 100 crore for either its producers or distributors. These 20 films are from the mainstream Hindi film category.
The investment has been approximately Rs 200 crore. As against this, the loss to the industry from the balance 226 films was a whopping Rs 225 crore in 2003. Therefore, the net loss to the film industry from theatrical business was Rs 125 crore, says Gautam Mutha of Film Information. As per data from ibosnetwork.com, the box office portal, the gross box office collections of 20 films has been approximately Rs 250 crore.
The 246 films released included the dubbed versions of Hollywood films, which was the highest at 106 films in 2003 and films made in South Indian languages.
In 2002, the Hindi film industry’s estimated loss was higher at Rs 300 crore on a gross realization of Rs 3900 crore, thereby recording a negative growth of 12 per cent over 2001, according to a FICCI-KPMG report on the Indian entertainment sector. Mainstream Hindi films industry was the most affected, losing about 270 crore, and gross revenues of Rs 1650 crore. Given this backdrop, trade analysts say that the industry has performed better in 2003.
“The mainstream Hindi film industry has seen one of its best years in 2003. For the previous two years, the industry faced a very bad time. Just one or two, or at the most three, films have done well and made money. But, in 2003, 20 films did well and made money as well. This is because filmmakers realised that it was imperative that the subject matter was good. Content was king. Therefore, we saw a mixed bag of films being released. There were love stories, thrillers, comedies and the likes,” says Amod Mehra, a film trade analyst.
Mutha of Film Information however feels that the industry has remained where it is. In fact, according to him, the success ratio of films has reduced. He says, “The success ratio of films has actually come down to 10-11 per cent as compared to the 20 per cent it used to be some years back.”
Koi Mil Gaya, the Hrithik Roshan starrer, was the biggest blockbuster of 2003. The film made an all-India business of almost Rs 30 crore. As per ibosnetwork.com data, the all India theatrical box office collections stood at Rs 47.57 crore. The Shah Rukh Khan-Priety Zinta starrer Kal Ho Na Ho had a gross box office collection of Rs 28.34 crore, plus it is expected that its overseas revenues would be in the range of Rs 20 crore.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Chalte Chalte not only netted Rs 18.29 crore in India, but also earned over $836,225 in the US and over $12,65,725 in the UK. Needless to say, the producers more than recovered the Rs 12 crore invested in the project. Another film that did well was director-producer Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot. The film grossed Rs 15.31 crore in India and an additional $106,774 in the US and $131,610 in the UK. The story was repeated at several other production houses, including Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC), producer of Jhankar Beats. BR Chopra’s Baghban also did extremely well and collected Rs 25.34 crore.
What has also gone in favour of the Hindi film industry in 2003 is the theory that small is big in Bollywood. Many producers believe that keeping the cost of a film low – not exceeding Rs 6-7 crore – makes it commercially viable. For example, Vivek Nayak’s Khwahish, made with a budget of Rs 2.25 crore, is said to have collected Rs 1 crore in the first week and its total box office collections were Rs 3.49 crore. Many such films are slated this year. Will 2004 prove as fruitful for Bollywood?