During the ‘In Conversation’ virtual session on ‘Changing Scenarios in Indian Film Production’ on 20th January 2021, held as the online activity of 51st IFFI, GP Vijaykumar, Film Producer and Distributor of Malayalam film industry shared his observations.
“There was a big opposition when OTT made its initial appearance citing that it will end theatrical releases and shut movie businesses. However, the traditional film industry, theatres, and blockbuster movies will continue to stay despite OTT and TV channels being around. They only complement the entertainment business of cinema financially, making it more lucrative. The viewership on OTT is ever-increasing at a faster pace which is pegged at 20 percent now. OTT enables even average and small budget films, which would otherwise end up in cans, to gain viewership across the world. At the same time, creative people of the industry want their films to be watched in theatres,” he says.
“With the advent of COVID-19, OTT turned into the basic carrier of films for the producer to gain whatever revenue he could during the tough times. On the other hand, the release and promotional costs too have mounted hugely over the years. With the satellite market picking up, the cost of production increased in the 90s, while multiplexes multiplied in numbers, all leading to the industry faring badly in 2010,” he further added.
Vijaykumar also spoke about the changes in the likings and choices of the audience with respect to the films. “The tastes and choices of moviegoers have changed considerably, they are becoming more selective; people have started liking more from web series. The primary target among the audience these days is the youngsters who are on the move most of the time, unlike the older people who settle down to watch TV genres and serials after reaching home. Being app-savvy, the younger lot surf through to catch up with the latest releases,” he said.
“Professional approach to movie making is what is necessary for success,” he stated on the observation regarding the lack of quality and technological expertise in the industry in the country.
“The industry needs more and more producers coming forward to make worthwhile movies based on merit and professional considerations, and producers should be cautious against funding projects seeking only fame and money,” said Vijaykumar answering an online query regarding the impact of the difficult economic situation due to the pandemic on the financing of films.
“The industry has to sustain itself, and take care of its workforce following safety and considering the value of opportunities. There will always be people around to manipulate finances for the sake of name, fame, and even to gain experience. Unprofessional approach to movie making without a proper script, sound commercial prospects, and a message to convey is not advisable,” he further added while speaking of the financial discipline.
He stated that producers make movies only for awards and recognition. Giving his advice to the producers he said, “Merely relying on the director or technical expertise or music score doesn’t provide the desired results for the producer. Though the business-revenue model must be the approach, an ideal screenplay, cast, and music too are important for the success of a movie. A producer has to find time to collect all relevant information and identify the right people before beginning a project.”
He ended the session on a positive note saying that although the industry is facing various challenges, the film industry still has a bright future ahead.