Covid-19 has changed the world, and its effects will continue to be felt for a few more years in many sectors of our society, even in our lives. One such sector which will feel this effect is the film industry. With India film industry being the largest producer of films since 1984, the expected loss of Bollywood alone is staggering, with the loss count since March having crossed over a jaw-dropping 5000 crore rupees.
According to exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi, the exhibition sector alone lost around 1500 crore from the lockdown in March till mid-September. All of this is including interest rates, salaries being paid, maintenance charges, etc. Even sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai and Boney Kapoor’s Maidaan had to be brought down as it was too expensive to maintain. Now, whenever the shoot begins, they will have to recreate the sets from scratch, keep it regularly sanitized and pay extra 10-13 percent inflation costs; all of which have caused these films to go over their budget by a massive amount.
Since the film industry is required to pay massive taxes when compared to other sectors, distributors across the country have been asking for help from the government, who have largely ignored them. Even if the requests for grants and salary subsidiaries are not granted, filmmakers are hoping that the government will allow some theaters to open soon in India, even though the cases of Covid cases are increasing daily in the country. The film exhibitors are ready to implement protocols for a safe viewing experience for everyone and are ready to listen to any additional ones if necessary.
Another option has been provided by Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh, who has said that actors will have to be open to take pay cuts. As the highest paid members of nearly every Bollywood film, if they ease off their heavy paychecks for a couple of projects the film industry will hopefully right itself by next year. Otherwise film producers and distributors will find it difficult to make movies, or any type of content really.
Already out of desperation, a lot of film makers have shifted to OTT release. Most filmmakers are not happy about the shift but they are doing whatever they can to stay afloat in this business and digital releases have eased a lot of the losses they have incurred. Although, another Trade Analyst Komal Nahata has said that the number of 5000 crores is an over estimation by 100 percent. Distributor Ramesh Sippy has declined in speculating a figure of his loss, citing that losses should be announced after the actual numbers are added up in its totality. And the projected time to count the losses have been estimated to be 2-3 years, 2 years optimistically.
Here are the projected losses given by seniors and experts in the industry:
Akshaye Rathi: 4,500 – 5,000 crore
Shibashish Sarkar: 4,500 crore
Ramesh Sippy: Still counting
Taran Adarsh: 4,000 crore
Komal Nahata: 9,000 crore
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