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Increasing Indian Film Presence in the International Market

Info: 5446 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Film StudiesMedia

1. Chapter One: INTRODUCTION

In these modern times of instant digital communication, film has turn out to be one of the most vital way through various nations and cultures reveal their values and identities. Moving image technologies has turn out to be all-encompassing in our lives. They are huge business. Apart from that, a capability to recognize and apply them has become as important for the people of this present era as literacy was in the times of19th and 20th century (India PR Wire, April 4, 2007). The tempo, scale and consequences of this transformation are significant enough. The Indian Film industry has made a huge development ever since the Motion pictures first arrived in India in the year of 1896 when the Lumiere brothers revealed six silent short films in Bombay. The first feature film of India named- King Harishchandra (which was a silent movie) was released in the year of1913. In India the first ‘talkie’ movie that released was Alam Ara in the year 1931 (India PR Wire, April 4, 2007).

1.1 Film Production Houses In India

A film production house is normally connected with the in-house production. It could categorize, make or telecast various segments of programs around news, films, multimedia, television shows, sports or ad films. India can be regarded as a home to a several well-known production houses from all the aforesaid stated areas. www.bestindiansites.com specifies top leading Indian websites on production houses of India, sports production house, ad film production house, film production house, sports production house, information on production house, list of production houses, television production house, multimedia production house, and a several other significant information’s (Subramaniam, A, 2003).

We can in reality utter about various types of production houses such as Independent and corporate and just detail it by stating that Individual production houses are managed by just 1 or 2 producers and the infusion of capital investment for the production purpose is mainly generated by personal investment or by the means of loans taken from private investor.
For corporate houses we could only cite that it is just like as any other corporate deal with the only differentiation that it produces films which is considered under the head of creative segment (essentially organised corporate structure of producing in creative industries – which is a new concept for Indian film industry) (Subramaniam, A, 2003)

So when ‘Industry’ status was granted in 2000, Corporate started getting attracted towards the films industry realising the huge potential that was there to be exploited. When the corporate started entering to film industry with huge investment power they started incorporating studio culture of Hollywood by following vertical integration. Leaving behind the prevailing system of horizontal integration to the independent producers.
The studio model production house started giving more importance to the content. It stressed on script development, introducing younger generation actors and directors, budget and time management, co productions and international distribution. None of the new corporate production house had the background of film production when they entered the segment. However most of them were involved in activities related to the media (The Business Line, 2007).

Barney says that the first to exploit the resources would gain competitive advantage over its rivals. This is exactly how the corporate production houses gained advantage over independent producers. The Industry had a lot of potential to grow with its wide acceptance globally. but the independent production houses had neglected this aspect, so when the corporate entered the industry they took complete advantage by using the unexploited resources of reach of the films and its growth possibilities steps (Barney, 1991).
To exploit the resources of growth prospective, the studio model was developed under these parameters-
To Produce and co produce the movies with strong content and story line.
To complete the movie with in the budget and also in time.
To sign contractual agreements with actors and directors.
To focus on medium and large scale budget movies.
To develop a huge distribution network nationally and internationally
These parameters are not different from any other studio model in the world. Corporate production houses main aim was to apply these practices and standards in other markets, to the Indian market. The reason for doing this was to make maximum utilisation of the resources available.

Already registered in the London Stock Exchange, several Indian film companies like as Eros, Ad labs, India Film Company, and utv – have generated immense capital from the various institutional investors who were keen to invest in Indian film companies. Moreover several Western film companies are looking forward for acquiring an ample equity share in these companies (Desai 2007). In this regard on 24 January 2005, Percept Picture Company associated with Michael Douglas’ production company Further Films and Sahara One to co-produce the $50-million Racing the Monsoon. Also on 1 September Sahara declared one more alliance, and this time with a Hollywood producer Donald Rosenfeld for Tree of Life starring Colin Farrell. These are two among a total of six Hollywood coproductions. (Kohli- Khandekar 2006.). On 20 October, 2005, Sony Pictures sign on Sanjay Leela Bhansali to co-produce Saawariya. The film was released globally in the year of 2007 with around 1,000 prints, a figure which was not heard of in the previous times for an Indian film. [The figure is on average 250.] Moreover this was the first time that a renowned Hollywood studio (that one of top six) had produced an Indian film. (Kohli-Khandekar 2006.)
Indian admired cinema, remarkably Bollywood – the Mumbai (Bombay) film industry has witnessed several transformations given that it’s first beginnings. A few key modifications that took place at the turn of the century when Indian Popular Cinema gained the position of an industry.(–1) After that the Indian film has developed in new directions. One such change was a more intense interplay between the global and the local which took place during the 1990s. Today, every single function and activity related to the Indian film business is becoming well defined and systematized, be it the retail infrastructure, financial aspect, marketing or distribution. Even films themselves are gradually falling into place.
In just under five years, the industry has shed five decades of baggage and has become an organised business. This is a new Indian film industry (Kohli-Khandekar 2006). Film producers are interested in creating serious corporate structures, and Indian as well as foreign business is pouring money into the cinema. A wall of money is descending on Bollywood and there is a huge bubble building up (Desai 2007).

Evaluating by the amount of movies produced by the Indian film industry, which is about more than one thousand movies per year, it is been regarded as the largest movie industry of the globe. The studio has reached international and also the profit earnings of the several Indian movies were greater in overseas locations than in India. Indian films have been witnessed in the leading ten lists of movies in the continents of UK and USA ((The Business Line, 2007)).

1.2 An overview of Indian film industry

1.2.1 Historical Section – How Bollywood has evolved

India has been regarded as the biggest movie industry of the world, if we talk about the number of movies produced in a year. It produces around more than 1000 films per year, which is greater than any of the film producing country. The Indian film industry is commonly regarded as BOLLYWOOD. The first Indian cinema was arrived in the year of 1913 with RAJA HARISHCHANDRA firstly coming into the picture and paving its way to the new period of silent cinema in India (Das Gupta, S., 2006).
Since that time it has witnessed a vast series of evolution both in conditions of making and marketing of the Indian films. We will largely talk about the evolution that took place from the year of 1980s to present time.
India produces more films than any other country in the world, the government of India didn’t recognize filmmaking as an official industry until as recently as 2001. Before then, it was impossible for producers to get loans from banks or even insurance for their productions. As a result, producers often paid for their films out of their own pockets – a practice most American producers would consider absurdly risky – or obtained financing from less savory sources (Das Gupta, S., 2006):
The unruly aspects of film production weren’t just limited to its financing. In some cases, it would take years to shoot a film. Overbooked film stars would show up egregiously late on set (or not at all) without penalty, scripts were often rewritten on set depending on which actors showed up, contracts were verbal and often violated, and produced films had no guarantees of finding distribution. All of these factors combined to make Bollywood film production an extremely risky endeavour (Das Gupta, S., 2006).


In India maximum number of films were produced by Independent (SingleSolo) producers or Family production houses, Big production companies like Rajashri productions, B.R Productions and R.K Productions were family owned production houses and in some cases it can be traced back to several generations.(Taebue and Lorenzen-2007)
“In this period the Indian film industry seemed to make the least progress and in some case journey in the path of deprogress” (Ashish Tiwari). Most of the films were produced on a Formula which had protagonist the male lead character of the film who is called as the Hero and his female counter part as the Heroine who romanced with the Hero singing and dancing around the trees, this strategy gave birth to the masala films (Hindi for “spice mix”) “It was a compound made up of several elemental combinations that had drama comedy and romance along with song and dance sequences in symbol driven rather than plot driven” ( Lorenzen & Taeube-2006). “The controversial author Salman Rushdie found a very precise and creative term that sums up the subject of Indian films perfectly, describing it as: ‘Epico-Mythico-Tragico-Comico-Super-Sexy-High- Masala-Art’ (Salman Rushdi, 1995 in “The Moor’s Last Sigh” quoted in Mishra,)”(Adleline Pissang-2000). Repetition of these kinds of stereotype films kept the audience away from theatres.
Introduction of colour television and national coverage by Doordarshan in early 1980’s caused a drop in demand for Indian films. The middle class audience preferred to watch new Television soaps and old films on video cassettes (VHS) in their home rather than going to cinema halls. So the cinema halls became a run down and regarded suitable only for lower class men who could not afford a television preferred watching hard core violent films in theatres with lots of action and skimpily clad women dancing in the rain (Misara-2002). Competition from television made film production houses think innovatively, to hold their grip on the medium, so they started upgrading their films with lavish sets and so called “multi starrer” films which in turn increased the importance of star actors. So naturally the star actors wanted to cash in on their ‘star value’ and started charging exorbitant sums to act in a single film which in turn escalated the production cost of the film (Gopalan-2002).
This was at the same time when the Indian music industry was on a high and could turn around the profit margins of even those films that failed at the box- office. The movie soundtrack became a key publicity stunt for the movies and the number of tracks and their popularity increased steadily.
The pre- movie launch of music could determine the fate of a movie because if the music did well in the market then it created a huge wave amongst the public before the film got released. The sales of the audio cassettes used to bring in good share of revenue. The producers always hoped and worked towards making the music of their film a hit by casting good/popular music directors and famous playback singers for their films. Again, the producer had to invest a lot more on a popular music director but it was chance worth taking (Ganti-2004).


The introduction of cable T.V. was the greatest revolution of this era. It changed the outlook of film industry, though initially the survival of film industry was challenged with the entry of cable T.V. as it was an instant hit with the audience because it provided plenty of regional language channels like ZEE TV, SUN network and as well as few English channels STAR, HBO which aired films on their channels. But gradually the production houses understood the potential of the cable T.V. as it found a way for new source of income through selling its film rights at relatively higher prices for its telecast in television which is called as satellite rights (Pendakur-2003). Subsequently the film industry started depending on television as a medium of publicity by broadcasting songs and advertising campaigns of their films to pull the audiences to the theatres (David Hancock-1999). Music channels like MTV and V channel could not sustain by just transmitting private non film and international music albums so they had to take cover of film songs to increase their popularity in India (Bose-2006).

It is believed that the criminal sources like underworld had a very strong hold on the Indian film industry; they controlled the whole production process of the films that they financed by dictating the terms in Bollywood like casting a superstar and selecting brilliant directors to work for their films. It is also believed that celebrities of the industry had close links with the mafia. Though usage of Black money (unaccounted money) in films was not an unfamiliar thing for ages but funding from underworld started in this period. It is estimated that 40% of film productions were financed by the underworld (Kripalani and Grover 2002; David Hancock-1998).

The early 1990’s can be called as the period of stagnation; the commercial cinema had ridiculous dialogues, baseless stories with no originality in them (Ashish Tiwari 2007). Few films in mid 1990’s were huge hits which broke most of the previous records. These films were big budget, romantic films (Dwyer and Patel) which upheld the family values in them. The two astronomical hits were HUM APKE HAI KAUN? (Who am I to You?) This released in 1994 and went onto run for two years in more than 50 theatres and DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE!! (The Brave Heart Will Take the Bride) got released in 1995 and was still running in its 13th year for 679th week as on 17th October 2008 at Marata Mandhir Cinema in Mumbai (www). Both these films were on similar lines, they were big budget romantic films with no actions sequence in them. In the former’s case the whole film was shot in beautiful gigantic sets going outdoors only for song sequence, which had 12 music tracks in it. In latter’s case maximum portion of the shoot took place in foreign locales. The audio of both these films were massive hits because they used the full potential of television by telecasting their songs and ad campaigns before the theatrical release. Both the production houses (Rajashri Productions and Yashraj Productions) of these films took great interest in refurbishing the theatres before the release of their films because they precisely knew their target audience were the upper middle class and family audiences who were content with television and they had to bring them back to the theatres. Once they succeeded “it marked the dominance of new middle class and uphold them to the pleasure of socially mixed audience both in India and overseas”. (Dwyer and Patel-2002)

Rajashri and Yashraj Productions were the good old big production houses which started the trend for these kinds of films with big budget, but most of the small scale productions could not cope with this and had to stop producing films. Gradually number of films produced per year dropped.

Source: David Hancock; Global Film production (Working Document) Venice Conference

The biggest and greatest breakthrough in the Indian Cinema came in 1998. This is the year the Indian government recognised the potential of Indian cinema and granted the official status of ‘Industry’. Until then the public as well as private banks and other big financial institutions desisted from getting involved with the film production companies so the producers always had to depend on private money lenders for the capital for their films (Dwyer & Patel, 2002). Now the production houses are getting their capital from public investments through semi public Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) and other public banks (Lorenzen &Taeube, 2006)

2000- Till date..

Indian Film Industry started in its way of revival of sorts, in 2001 all the prints of the film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke which had a huge star cast was seized by the Central Bureau of Investigation suspecting it to be funded by the underworld and the producer of the film Bharath Shah was arrested for having close connections with the underworld. After this incident most of the producers feared to be identified with the under world. So the underworld gradually lost its hold in the Bollywood.

Shooting at overseas location for a film is not new to Bollywood they have been doing this since 1960’s but currently there is an increasing trend of Indian film crew shooting at foreign locales. This is because of the huge global market for the Indian films. Many films are released simultaneously in U.S.A. and U.K. and there are instances where the returns from overseas collections is higher than the home collections. The script writers and Directors cannot neglect the overseas market any more while scripting and shooting for their film (Dudrah, R K, 2006).

After the liberalisation of the industry in 1998 Direct Foreign Investments, Global Investors, Private Corporate started entering the film industry. Hollywood Majors like Universal, 21st Century Fox started investing in the Indian film industry through joint ventures with the Indian production houses. The corporate production houses are gaining importance in the film industry. Corporate houses like ADLABS, EROS, UTV, K.SERA SERA and many others have already made a mark in B.S.E. (Bombay Stock Exchange) and even in L.S.E. (London Stock Exchange). In the current scenario 20% of the total India films are produced by corporate giants (Anand times- 2006). They have developed professional ways of organising business, mergers, outsourcing, distributing, use of new technology and marketing content. The corporate houses have brought in the much needed professional flavour in to films which were missing in the production process earlier. The main advantage of the corporate house is it can produce more number of films simultaneously; it produces 5-6 films per year where as compared to the individual production houses cannot afford to produce more than 2-3 films in a year even after the deregulation. The greatest advantage of a corporate production house is it has a huge capital to invest on its films. Usually the risk is higher on a single movie basis, but the risk spreads out as they produce lot of films simultaneously. They employ professionals in their firm as compared to the single producers of 80’s who used change their crew after every film. Few corporate houses even have their own multiplex cinema which helps in theatrical release as well as in developing a marketing strategy for their films. The corporate giants are investing hugely on the industry as a result of this the film Industry is already the 3rd largest industry in India (Dudrah-2006).

The production houses are aiming at a homogenous or serial form of production as opposed to heterogeneous form of production they had earlier. The main purpose of switching to this form of production is to control all means of production and operate all aspects of film making from finance to production and distribution (Prasad-1998).

The best example being Yashraj Productions. They have their own studios for recording, dubbing and editing and also have production equipments required for the shoot. With in the production house they also have different sections like Yashraj Distribution for overseas and home market, Yashraj Music for all their audio sales and Yashraj Video for home video like DVD’s and VCD’s. It was one of the first production houses to hire management students from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIMA) to market their films and also to set up their whole business process. They also stated their own website to market and project their media image (Dywer & Patel- 2002).

Professionalization has brought new and better modes of planning. There are changed practices of production where there are professionals working constantly for the better utilization of funds, bringing production costs down and maximizing the profits Film production in India is becoming an organised business. The overall film industry is taking on professional colours.

1.3 Size and growth opportunities

The total size of Indian film industry was estimated at around Rs.56.5bn (inr40 = usd1 Iit is anticipated to touch a huge figure of about Rs.153bn by the year of 2010 with taking into account 18 percent compound annual growth rate (cagr) as per the estimates of ficci-Pricewaterhouse- Coopers in the year 2006. On the whole, the Indian film industry was anticipated to be value of about usd1.8bn in the year 2006. On the basis of a thorough top-down analysis considering the share of private consumption as a proportion of gdp, the marketshare for media and entertainment (m&e) expenditures, and film budgets within the m&e space it was accounted that the Indian film industry will be valued in between usd4.4 and 5.1bn (between inr176bn and inr204bn) by 2011 (cii-A.T. Kearney 2007). The movie industry has been getting more and more corporatized. Many film production, distribution and exhibition houses are listed on the stock markets and they have raised capital through public issue. Several theatres around the nation have been developed into multiplexes and plans to build up additional digital cinema halls are by now in lime light. This will certainly not only enhance the quality of prints and thereby providing viewing a extra pleasant experience for the audiences but will also decrease the piracy of prints (ficci-PricewaterhouseCoopers 2006). These days piracy is a major issue for the Indian film industry. Not initiating nay major anti-piracy laws on the part of the government and an absence of educated officers that implements anti-piracy laws remains the vital issue. These are the main issue which is why the piracy business has not been able to control to a greater extent. This issue along with the lengthy legal and arbitration process is regarded as prevention to the fight against piracy. Apart from this the present Copyrights Act is also obsolete in conditions to technology enhancement and in addition, it does not deal with the requirements of the electronic media where the degree of piracy is amongst the maximum in present time. The Optical Disc Law draft established to deal with the requirement for regulating piracy at the manufacturing phase is still pending for the approval of the Indian ministry (ficci-PricewaterhouseCoopers 2006).

As against to few developed markets where the home market symbolizes greater than 40% of total movie revenues, the home market share in India is comparatively small (8%), though, this share is anticipated to rise to about 14% by the year of 2010. The important pushers that will facilitate this are the rising amount of reasonably priced DVD players and lesser prices of original DVDs so as to battle the issues of piracy (cii-A.T. Kearney 2007).

The Indian entertainment and media industry enjoys a lot of aid in the present times – be it regulations that permit foreign investment, the momentum from the economy, digital lifestyle and spending styles of the consumers, and also several opportunities the development in technology have to provide. The industry only has to do is to realize its growth potential and opportunities. The government is required to play a greater dynamic task in solving out the policy-related obstruction for the purpose of growth. The industry is required to get rid of all obstructions, like as piracy in an intensive way along with the measures to produce high-quality global class end products. The entertainment and media industry has all ingredients which it generally takes to turn into the star of Indian economy (ficci-PricewaterhouseCoopers 2006). There are two important movements that will basically transform the scene of the Indian film industry in the coming couple of years, namely digitization and a change in consumer preferences. Digitization will lead to consolidation and appearance of huge scale exhibition networks and, and apart from this, in the balance of power among producers-distributors and exhibitors. Changing customer preferences will lead to rising international acceptance of Indian films and in the upcoming of new media (cii-A.T. Kearney 2007).

Growth opportunities in terms of Corporate production houses

Indian film industry comprises of numerous regional clusters, and Bollywood is merely one of them. Bollywood is the cluster located in Mumbai, producing the biggest share of films (40%) mainly in Hindi (PWC & FICCI, 2007). Bollywood is the oldest film cluster in India, dating back to early 20th century. Other film clusters in India like as one in Hyderabad, called “Tollywood” produces second biggest amount of films mainly in Telugu. While other clusters produce films chiefly in their local language.

Growth opportunities in terms of Indian Film Industry

1.31 Current situation

Currently the success ratios of films are very low at the box office. Only 10 to 20% of films break even or earn profits (Ganapathi, 2002; Pendakur, 2003; Ganti, 2004; Lorenzen &Taeube, 2006) but most of the producers make money, recouping their investments through new auxiliary sources of revenue () like satellite rights music rights, home video rights(DVD), video games, toys, computer wallpapers, ring tones, movie clips for mobile and selling ancillary rights. The new trend is product placement in films which brings in a lot of revenue and even helps in publicity of the film. In the period of 1998-2005 i.e after gaining the status of industry, the revenues in the films have grown by 360% this is including all revenues from advertising, selling of ancillary rights and music rights (Kholi- Khandekar, 2006; Lorenzen &Taeube, 2006). The digital relay of films in cinema theatres is saving a lot of money as you don’t have to develop the physical print, which took a major share in a film budget.

The industry is losing more than 40% of its revenue through Piracy (David Hancock-1998). Copyright infringement of films is so wide spread in India it can be called as a ‘small scale industry’. Bootleg copies of DVD’s are available in the market on the same day the film officially releases in theatres or some times even before that. Pirated DVD’s and CD’s of Bollywood movies are available in most of the South Asian and South East Asian countries. The small cable television channels broadcast newly released films in their channels without paying any kind of compensation. Another problem is consumer copying which is very difficult to stop. To add on to this is Online Internet movies where consumers can download movies from websites like www.bhejafry.net, www.indiaonlinemovies.com and many more without actually paying anything.

The technical skills of the Indian Film Industry has always been extraordinary but most of the time they had to settle for old and very poor quality of equipments. But now due to huge market and Corporatisation they can afford to buy more sophisticated equipments. Digital facilities for Sound Recording, Dubbing, Editing is as good as anywhere in the world (Dwyer & Patel, 2002). Bollywood has always been very enthusiastic about embracing new technologies in their films, and it is also been much quicker in doing this than the Hollywood (Currah, 2007). The Film Industry is using all the latest technologies like Arry 435 for the shoot, Avid and Mac products for post production work. Sync sound, D.I.(Digital Intermediate), Animations and special effects with Graphics are used extensively. The Indian Film Industry can now even employ foreign technicians to work for them to improve the quality of the final product. In the blockbuster film KRRISH- (2006) the action sequence was choreographed by Tony Ching from Hong Kong and all the special effects for the film was done by Hollywood technicians (Minocha and Stonehouse- 2006).

Globalisation has four facets, that is, movement of goods, capital, technology and people across borders. In terms of movement of goods (i. e., movies) Indian movie industry has a long history of presence in the global market. Awara was sent to the Soviet Union and other Communist bloc countries crazy in the year of1950s. Mehboob’s Aan had a French release after its premiere in London. Long before that Himansu Rai made visually stunning films in cooperation with the Germans in the early 1930s, like The Light of Asia and A Throw of Dice, and many more which were shown in Europe as Indian films with Indian stories. By then the Bombay film industry had been around for 35 years. The film industry is definitely as old as the cinema itself and surely older than Hollywood, which has its early development in the late 1900s (Desai 2007).

The exports of the Indian movie have grown for approximately 60% in recent times. The USA and Canada are two main export locations witnessing for 30 percent than by the UK with 25% and Mauritius and Dubai with 10% each. Some other main markets comprise South Africa, Russia, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia where there is abundant Indian diasporas present. Making a film for the diaspora market is a certainly a moneymaking project as against to making a film for the Indian domestic market (Desai 2007). With the global audience, there is outstanding recognition of Indian movie themes along with sew of the cross-over films made by global movie production players. The profit earnings of these movies can be match up to to few of the Hollywood box office hits. A number of Bollywood movies have gained greater than 50% of their total gross profit margin from global box office collection. However it is a welcome movement that requires to be carried on. One of the significant success factors for these cinemas is to recognize ideas from within the Indian subjects which are liked by the audience. An additional important success factor is to associate with a top global distributor; films produced by the person of Indian origin have had up to 2–3 times greater global earnings as compared to the national bestsellers (cii- A.T. Kearney 2007). Table 2 reveals a series of cross over films and the revenue earning generated by these films. India has stated its determined plans to double its share in the international film industry by the end of this year. This shows the great determination of the country to build itself as a cultural as well as economic powerhouse.

There are many reasons why we must believe that.

To begin with, the government, which aims on considering Bollywood to set up India as a ‘soft power’, considers the Indian film industry is competent enough to capture five percent of the international market this season. The share at the present time is two percent (Johnson 2007). Kishore Lulla, the chief executive of Eros International, a uk-listed company that releases about thirty new Bollywood films in India and in the rest of the world each year, “says the government’s target can be achieved. India is experiencing almost hundred percent growth in grosses

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