Koimoi.com Editor Komal Nahta on what has changed, and not, in Bollywood:

Komal Nahta
Komal Nahta


A lot has changed in Bollywood in the last decade or two.

One Distributor

There used to be as many distributors for a film as there were territories, sometimes even more, when sub-circuit rights were sold to sub-distributors. Today, there is often just one distributor for all-India or all world too!

Skyrocketing Budget

Films used to be made at budgets ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 15 crore. Today, the budgets range anywhere between Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 135 crore.

New Jubilees

Hit films used to celebrate silver and golden jubilees. Now they run for 25 and 50 days if they are hits.

More Screens

Films used to be released with 200 to 300 prints. Today, they open simultaneously in 2,000 to 3,000 screens – and more!

Cash To Cheque

Stars used to charge 25-50% of their remunerations in cash. They now often take all payments by cheque.

Celebrating Multiplexes

If a film worked in the small centres and among masses, it was a point for celebration. Class-appealing films were frowned upon. But today, class-appealing films are often referred to as multiplex films. And if your film works in the multiplexes, you are supposed to celebrate. For, cities are where the maximum business is.

Cinema For The Rich & Famous

The rich and famous avoided going to the cinemas. But now, the rich, richer and the richest and the famous, more famous and the most famous go to multiplexes.

Everybody Wants Bollywood

The film industry was looked down upon. If anyone wanted to enter the industry, he, more often than not, did it without fanfare and, probably, surreptitiously. There were very few who wanted to be associated with this industry which was considered badnaam. But today, naam, izzat and shohrat come from being a part of Bollywood, which is why everybody and his/her brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, friend, friend’s brother/sister, distant relative wants to enter the film industry.

Everything’s Online

To watch a hit movie, one had to stand in a queue at the cinema, for tickets. But today, you can book the tickets for a super-hit movie on the Internet.

Samosas To Nachos

For Rs. 100, an entire family could watch a film and also feast on popcorn and samosas in the intermission. Today, even Rs. 1,000 is not enough. You never wanted to skip popcorn and samosas in the interval. But today, you often sacrifice the popcorn and the samosa for the more tempting nachos, pastries, chaat and what have you!

Shorter Films

You saw the number of reels in the censor certificate and heaved a sigh of relief, which was directly proportionate to the number of reels. More the reels, bigger the sigh. It’s the opposite today. Shorter the film, happier you are.

Instant Reviews!

You had to wait for the film to get over before you spoke your heart out about it. If it was bad, you warned your family, close friends and colleagues at work to stay away from it. Today, you can post your comment on Facebook, Twitter and the like even before the first show is complete – via your mobile phone right from your seat in the cinema!

Promoting On TV, Road…

Film promotion meant giving interviews to the print and electronic media. Today, it entails appearing on reality and talent shows on television, doing road shows and city tours, and bragging about the business (after a film’s release) by doling out or announcing gross collection figures – and usually passing those collections as distributors’ shares!

Sequel Before The Movie

To give the impression, before release, that his film was very good, a producer used to often announce, through trade papers, that his next would be directed by the same director and would star the same hero as of the film due for release. This was supposed to be proof of his faith in the director and hero. Of course, after the film’s release, the announcement remained just that. Today, rarely does a producer use this ploy to impress anyone. To inspire the audience’s – and trade’s – confidence in a film, producers use the ploy of announcing the sequel of a film before it (the film) is released. Of course, if he is Ram Gopal Varma, he doesn’t just announce but makes the sequel even before the original film is released. The rest coolly forget about the sequel after the film is released. Trailers went separately to cinemas. Today, trailers of a film are often part of a film releasing some weeks earlier. That is to say, a film’s trailer is attached to the prints of a film releasing earlier.

Lesser Songs

The number of songs in a film has definitely reduced. As against eight, 10 or even 12 and 15 songs in a film, we now have two, three, four or five songs, generally speaking.

Enter English

Even our dialogues and lyrics have undergone a sea change. Dialogues used to be spoken in chaste Hindi or Urdu, and English words were restricted to “Thank you”, “Mention not”, “Sorry” and the like. But today, English words and sentences are used liberally. Ditto in the case of lyrics. No song seems to be complete without English lines or, at least, some English words thrown in.

Titles of Hindi films used to be in Hindi, obviously. But nowadays, half the Hindi films have English titles. Rascals, Players, Rockstar, Tell Me O Kkhuda, Student Of The Year … the list is long.

But a lot has still not changed in Bollywood. It is still the same – as it used to be a decade or two ago or even more than that.

Star & Music

You still decide whether you want to see a film or not, based on its star cast and music.

Value For Money

You still want value for your ticket money to like a film.

Claptraps & Whistles

You still clap and whistle in a cinema to applaud a good scene in a film, you still laugh at good jokes and cry in an emotional scene in the film. You still boo or mock at a bad scene.

No Screening For Distributors

Distributors even today play blind. They are not shown films or even scenes from films they set out to acquire distribution rights of.

Initial = Report

Exhibitors still dole out reports of new films based on the opening show or opening day’s collections. If the initial is good, the report is good; if opening day collections are bad, the report, according to them, is bad. That is how Rascals, according to many exhibitors, was an earning proposal on the Friday it was released. That it proved to be a flop, flummoxed them. They are still clueless about how a film that starts off well can fail and, likewise, how a film that starts slow can go on to do well. Even today, initial = report, for such exhibitors.

Stars & Content

Even today, it is easier to get finance for a bad content film if there are stars associated with it than for a good-content film not backed by stars.

Late News

As in yesteryear, so also today, the producer, director and stars of a film are the last to know that their film has flopped.

It’s Different!

Even today, every filmmaker, every producer, every actor claims that his film is “different”, “hatt ke” – and yet, so many films look like so many other films.

Formula Films

We still love stories in which good triumphs over evil. And since we love films with such themes, we support that cinema only.

Who Hires Whom?

Producers still employ stars but remain subservient to them.

Everyone Has An Opinion

Like always, everybody, even today, has an opinion on films – and he or she thinks, his/her opinion is the most correct.

“Frankest Opinion”

Producers, directors, stars even today insist that their friends should give them the frankest opinion after watching their film in previews, but yet, don’t like it when the “frankest opinion” is not complimentary of the film.

Mummy Never Changes

Screen mothers still make gaajar ka halwaapne haathon se” for their sons.




  1. The entire cost of making Bodyguard (about 45 crores) was less than what SRK spent on marketing Ra One (52 crores).
    Ra One had 5 stars; Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt and Rajnikanth. Bodyguard had just two stars Salman and Kareena.
    Combining all the costs, Bodyguard cost about a fourth of Ra One.
    Bodyguard was a scene-to-scene remake of a Tamil film, Ra One was a combination of many Hollywood films.
    Both had train stunts, difference was SRK was a superhero, Salman wasn’t but still somehow managed to jump across to the next train!
    Bodyguard didn’t release on 3D, released on lesser prints, still managed about the same business as Ra One (which was marginally higher).
    Salman sleep walked through the film, but SRK and the Ra One team put in a lot of effort and hard work – arguably the most for any Bollywood movie ever!

    salman khan won all the way….

    • My Son is Crazy, Please ignore him.
      1. All said & done Bodyguard is a remake, in simple language a Copy-Paste. Ra.One is a original film.
      2. Bodyguard cost 45 crore is a utopian thought. it cost 60-65 crores+15 Crore P&A, total 75-80 crore, without having anything original.
      3. SRK himself has clarified that as producers, the Promotion cost was 5 crores – the 50-52 crores being talked about is brand tie-ins – there is a difference – those were spent by the likes of McDonalds, Sony etc. the producers didnot spend that money, thereby it wasnt part of the cost of the film.
      4. As far as stars being part of Ra.One – Sanju, Priyanka & Rajini’s appearences were as guests, not as starring roles. These depend on goodwill – in this case they were friends of SRK, and thereby the did it. The starring role were only SRK’s & Kareena’s.
      5. As far as number of prints are concerned, no one stopped bodyguard or any other films to come up with the numbers that Ra.One had. Its the massiveness of SRK’s star power that ensured the incredible print count.
      6. As far as 3D is concerned, it depends on the type of film, in this case a superhero film merits a 3D viewing. All hollywood superhero films come in 3D as well. But no one would be queing up to see the south-indian style actions of bodyguard in 3D.
      7. And no one seems to be looking at the fact that Ra.One is the BIGGEST OVERSEAS HIT OF 2011 already, & has legs to do much more. while bodyguard was average overseas.
      8. Also keep in mind Ra.One was a new genre of film as far as bollywood is concerned. It takes Courage & conviction to do that. while doing a south indian masala film’s remake dosent require a paise’s worth of courage.

      so stop all this idiotic comparison of Ra.One with others. SRK is one & only superstar of bollywood.

      • watever u say u right. the effort shahrukk did with last 6 to 7 month if salman did 4 7 to 8 wks wat could be happen for bodyguard i don’t even imagine.

        whole wks 1 it did 80 to 90 crore but there is so confusion about the numbers.

        and spend 130 to 140 crore for the movie. even when u see the movie u will see he was misleading the information to the public.
        if u see robot and ra one there is 100 percent different
        robot did the expense a lot but ra one didn’t
        wat he did he use media and get hype in the whole
        india ra one is that raone did like that. so many bogus thing he added . people get curisity about that and they went to watch the movie and they shocked .
        it’s all about his way to earning money
        he just use his name only for money
        he can do anything for money

        but he will get his lesson soon or later
        one or two times u can use false information

        just think before my name is khan wat he did
        he use politics inside the movie he use
        muslims and religion and use a political party
        to running his movie

        this time he use ra one and telling to the people about
        sci fi first this and that.

        and again he get money again.
        that’s all he do

        i don’t wat tricks he will apply for don 2
        lets see

      • partha’s father.. i wanna clear u tht there is no more fans following nw for shahrukh . its fact u also knwn it tht salman is always be on top bt nw his time goin mch better so this time he prooved by himself & his huge fans following, so nobody can’t say abt him coz nobdy knw wht & how can he does next lable lets see the gross result of Srk also be intereting tht can he break of aamir also,, ummmm am damm sure he cann’t ever…… & Wait & Watch Salman’s Next Huge Releases…….

    • I like both Sallu n SRK …dont understand why comparisons are being made…both the movies are good in their own rights …..I think these people who compare n compare so aggressively the people who cause rifts n fights….not a good sign of good people….
      If you really wanna compare why not just ask the two actors on the same story at the same time n see who fares better!!!

  2. Very correct. Just coz the salmans flim was better film at less cost than the crap at 150cr.which also means at lesser ticket price more viewers than hyped price the c*** had less viewers therefore shahruk shuold have done more promoting


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