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Anurag Kashyap blames hefty star fees for collapse of studio system

The director suggests that producers' extreme trust in stars over script has resulted in the demise of corporate studios in Hindi cinema. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

The last few months have proven disastrous for studio productions in Hindi cinema. The news of Disney UTV shutting its film production business was followed by studios like Balaji Motion Pictures. The news seems to be the consequence of big budget films like Hrithik Roshan-starrer Mohenjo Daro (2016), and A Flying Jatt (2016) by the two respective studios seeing a below par turnout. 

According to director-actor, Anurag Kashyap, failure at the box-office is not the only reason behind the studios closing down. In a recent interview, the Gangs of Wasseypur director said, "We had four Bollywood actors (Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan) in the Forbes highest-paid actors whereas the rest were Hollywood actors. The films starring the Hollywood actors earn in millions and billions, but ours earn a maximum max Rs300 crore. But still, there are Indian actors in that list. So if you see the ratio on the list, business of the film vs income of the actor, there is a huge disparity." The director continued, "Actors from the industry where film earns Rs300 crore is in the list and on the other hand, there are films which earn USD1.2 billion in other industries and the actors are even below our actors in the list. So I hope you got where the issue is."

Of the four actors mentioned in the list, only Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar have managed to hit the Rs100 crore barrier with consistency over the last two years. However, Kashyap refused to blame the actors for the skewed transactions. He said, "I am not blaming the actors for this, all the blame should be passed on to the producers as they are ready to pay the actor such a high amount. Why wouldn't the actor take that money? If someone pays me, even I would take that." 

Kashyap, whose latest appearance as a villain in Akira was received with some critical praise, suggested that it is the lack of 'passionate producers' that has resulted in this disaster. He said, "We all need studios as they brought in a certain streamlining of movies. What we lack in our industry are passionate producers. The intent of making films in India has drastically changed over the years. Films should be made because the director or producer believes in the script. You shed an old skin and grow a new one."

Never one to mince his words, Kashyap seems to have hit the nail on its head. It remains to be seen how people will understand it.