Diwali is that time of the year when you wish one another good health, wealth and prosperity. Like in all the past festival of lights, let us, this Diwali too, wish each other a bountiful year ahead. But unlike on all the previous occasions, let us, this time, actually hope and pray for the good health, wealth and prosperity of those whom we wish. For, let’s be honest – we may shake hands with our friends, embrace them, wish them, even send them expensive gifts to mark the festive occasion and convey the season’s greetings, but when it’s time for the release of their films, we forget that we had wished them all the good things in life. At that crucial time in a friend’s professional life, we aren’t very concerned about his film faring well. Rather, deep down in our hearts, we’d be happy if his film didn’t do well. Or, even if it did well, we’d be far more happy if it didn’t break the records of too many films. If, by chance, our film has already been released around the same time, we’d definitely not want his film to surpass the business of our film. And if our film is due for release soon after his film, we’d hope against hope that touching his film’s business should be a left-hand task for our film.
In short, all our heartfelt Diwali wishes, which we so generously send out to our friends, go for a toss no sooner their films are on release. What is it about their films, which brings out the worst in all of us?
Who’s to Blame?
Blame it on the speculative nature of this industry or whatever, but the fact is that each one of us is so insecure that we’ve become self-centred and selfish. Probably, in no other industry is there so much of uncertainty about a product clicking with the client base as there is in the film industry. And when luck plays such an important part in the success/failure of a film, we tend to believe that good wishes make a world of a difference. That is why we become so stingy in wishing even a friend when he needs our good wishes the most – at the time of his film’s release. We’d rather reserve those wishes for our film, right?
Frankly, one is not even sure whether ours is, in fact, one of the most speculative industries or not. Maybe, we’ve gotten used to blaming our failures on the vagaries of the business rather than taking responsibility for them. Isn’t it far easier to say that a film tanked at the ticket windows because nobody knows what will click with the audience than accepting that we didn’t make a film worthy of people’s appreciation? Agreed, public tastes change – and change very fast nowadays – because of which it is difficult to imagine at the time of launching a film whether the script will find favour with the audience when the film, based on it, is ready for release, say, 12 or 18 months later. But that must be the case in many other businesses too. Probably, what must be different from many – not all – other businesses is the investment factor: many crores of rupees are involved in making a film, especially a big-budget and star-cast film.
Be that as it may, on how many occasions do we watch a film and wonder why it did not score at the box-office? In other words, most films which flop, flop because they are bad films, because they deserved to flop, not because the business of filmmaking is so speculative in nature. If, after watching a film, the public can say, it did not like the film, there’s nothing so difficult about understanding what will and what won’t run. One might point out here that while the audience, which accepts or rejects a film, does so after watching the finished or final product, the producer and others associated with the film have to put in money, time and efforts on a mere thought – and that makes it difficult or even speculative. Agreed, but then, that is the way it is, there can be no other way to convert a script into a movie.