Creativity and Conviction Must Be Maintained as India’s Film Industry Becomes More Corporate, IFFI Panel Hears

Corp Culture Panel At Iffi Jhunjhunwala Res.jpeg

The industrial and corporate structure of the Indian entertainment industry has evolved rapidly as global studios and multinational streaming firms have entered the market, creating significant contrasts and imbalances.

The changes – for the better and for the worse – were debated this weekend at a panel discussion within the International Film Festival of India in Goa. Directors Abhishek Sharma, Anees Bazmee and Vikas Bahl and producer Mahaveer Jain were among the participants.

“Earlier, personal relationships were very strong in filmmaking. People would mortgage their homes and sell jewellery to raise funds to make their movies. It would take longer for films to go on floors because it took longer to raise funds. Now, no matter the outcome of a film, you will get what was promised,” said Bazmee (“Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2”).

For a filmmaker, finding a producer with conviction within a corporate structure is paramount, suggested Bahl (“Queen,” “Super 30”). “There are pros and cons to the corporatization of filmmaking. You need [to work with] a producer who will take a risk, even if the Excel spread sheet does not match. You need a software called ‘guts’ which can be inserted into the Excel sheets of corporates. Also, the industry needs to get more disciplined and grow,” said Bahl.

Producer Jain (“Uunchai”) said, “With more players, more films are being produced and more people are getting employment. We are also developing an app that will act as a bridge between newcomers and those established in the film industry.”

“A film should always be based on creativity, passion and conviction. There are many successful films produced by corporates, but more creative people should be part of corporate teams to ensure creativity is not dictated by business,” said Bazmee, to the approval of other panel members.

The discussion also stretched to include comments on the need for anti-piracy legislation and enforcement and to calls for the expansion of the theatrical exhibition sector.

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