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Bollywood film industry in turmoil

The Bollywood film industry is in turmoil after a recent report indicated that only one film Raajneeti out of 125 productions had become a hit in the first six months of 2010.

To add to the woes, according to The Hindu, theatre owners are approaching the government to urge the film industry to bring down production costs. As major Bollywood productions continue to flop, theatres are struggling to stay in business.

Sura, a recent release, was such a disaster that theatre-owners demanded compensation for their losses, to the point at which the core model of the Indian film industry is in jeopardy.  Raajneeti an unexpected hit was an experimental movie whilst other shorter and smaller budget films including Ishqiya, Karthik Calling Karthik, and Badmaash Company brought good returns for theatre owners.

Another factor that is harming the industry is the distribution prices for major Bollywood films, which according to a member of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association is based on 100% theatre occupancy, whereas the actual figures hover around 35%. In order for cinemas to turn a profit, they need to sell additional services such as drinks, food and other value-added products. For smaller, independent cinemas, it is impossible to make up the revenue without having a food court and a host of other add-ons. Bollywood productions have therefore become too expensive for the industry and a lack of good content is adding pressure to producers to bring down costs and improve quality before the distribution model fails.

Without a working distribution model for Indian films, the industry will need to change rapidly.

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