(From our issue dated 18th February, 1995)
Maharashtra home minister Ashok Chavan saw Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (Tamil) at a special screening at Eros, Bombay on 16th February.
PRODUCTION SECTOR HEADING FOR A SPLIT
FMC Expels Dhirubhai Shah
The production sector in Bombay is in the midst of a crisis. Producers are divided over major issues, prominent among them being the star-ceiling issue. Differences between two sections — one which is in favour of the ceiling and the other which advocates no restrictions on star assignments — had surfaced a while ago but they now threaten to create a divide in the community of producers. A total of 45 producers have resigned from the IMPPA. If grapevine is to be believed, some more resignations will follow in the days to come. Likewise, there is a move to get a number of producers to resign from the Film Producers’ Guild of India. So far, only Pahlaj Nihalani has resigned from the treasurership of the Guild as also from its executive committee.
Among those whose resignations have been received by the IMPPA are:
Ordinary members (total 32): Manish Arts, Amit Arts, Jayraj Productions, Prince & Prince Intl., United Seven, United Seven Intl., United Seven Creations, Sonu Films Intl., Nadiadwala Grandson, Nadiadwala Theatre Prods., Sneh Shakti Pictures (I), D.M.S. Films, Roopa Films, Meghdoot Films Intl., Seven Mountain Movies, Mateshwari Films, Dashaka Films, Vishal Enterprises, B.B. Films Combine, Time Magnetics (India) Ltd., Siddhi Vinayak Movies, Shivalaya Production, Sainath Films Intl., Film Folks Intl., Shree Durgalaxmi Ents., Right Image Intl., Shivam Chitrya (Bombay), Ketan Mehta Films Pvt. Ltd., Shree Durgalaxmi Prods., Vishesh Films, Anas Films, Maa Sherawali Prods.
Associate Class I members (total 6): United Seven Combines, Venus Records & Tapes, Yashish Enterprises, Milan Movies, Saamna Films, Leo Films Intl.
Associate members (total 7): Tips Cassettes & Records, Weston Components, Nadiadwalas, Nikita Films, Chitra Sansar, Baba Films, Siddhi Vinayak Creations.
The producers who have resigned or will resign from IMPPA/Guild will become members of the Association of Motion Pictures & TV Programme Producers. Ironically, this Association had been nicknamed in production circles as a toota-phoota Association as it did not have too many members. But with so many active producers joining it, it would no longer remain toota-phoota. Incidentally, at least one producer, Vimal Kumar, has decided to withdraw his resignation from IMPPA. “I was pressurised to resign and I shall take back my resignation,” he said.
Dhirubhai Shah, Pravin Shah, Pahlaj Nihalani, Shabnam Kapoor and Mukesh Duggal are reportedly garnering support of producers to resign from the IMPPA/Guild and to become members of the new Association.
The main bones of contention, according to the producers who have resigned, are:
(i) the star-ceiling scheme;
(ii) expulsion of Dhirubhai Shah from the FMC;
(iii) Pahlaj Nihalani’s “humiliation” at the hands of the FMC and the CCCA;
(iv) dictates by distributors’ associations like the FDC and the CCCA, in matters relating to production.
The star ceiling scheme was tightened a while ago by the FMC when it made it compulsory for producers to seek its (FMC’s) clearance for every new film started, irrespective of whether or not it starred actors/actresses having more than the specified number of films. While the FMC leaders feel, this was necessary to bring in a sense of discipline among producers and artistes, those not in favour of the star-ceiling opine that this is tantamount to harassment of producers. According to them, there is no sense in continuing the star-ceiling scheme as the FMC had not been able to monitor it properly.
Dhirubhai Shah was expelled from the FMC at its meeting held on 14th February for not having sought FMC clearance for his Gambler and Krishna, starring Govinda and Sunil Shetty respectively. Both the artistes had more than the specified number of films (12) on the sets when the aforesaid two films started. The expulsion seems to have agitated the Time boss no end. Dhirubhai blamed the FMC for “not behaving as it should have”. He added, “The FMC has different rules for different producers. It takes them so many months to reply to a letter seeking clearance that a producer could just wait and wait. The FMC has done grave wrong by expelling me. I will move the court and the MRTP Commission for justice. They (FMC) have chosen to declare war. Now, see what we are capable of doing. All those who’ve resigned are active producers who have one or more films on the sets.”
PRODUCERS OR SLAVES?
What seems to have made Pahlaj unhappy is the fine of Rs. 1 lakh he had to pay to the CCCA before the release of his Mr. Azaad for having given his Aandhiyan for telecast before 5 years of its theatrical release. “Are we the slaves of CCCA president Santosh Singh Jain?,” he asked. “If there will be injustice, there is bound to be a revolution,” he explained. The FMC had, at its annual general meeting a few months ago, temporarily suspended the membership of the Association of Motion Pictures & TV Programme Producers of which Pahlaj is the president. This, it is learnt, was interpreted by Pahlaj as “humiliation”. “The FMC has not been able to protect the interests of the producers,” he sighed. “Are we the producers or the servants of artistes, workers and distributors?” Pahlaj also felt that those at the helm of affairs in the IMPPA/FMC were mostly producers who had not made films for several years. “How can they be expected to safeguard our interests?”, he asked.
J. Om Prakash, president of the Guild and FMC chairman, described the entire resignation movement as “unfortunate”. This would weaken the unity of the organisation, he lamented. He blamed it on some vested interests like Dhirubhai Shah and company.
FMC FOR GOOD OF PRODUCERS
IMPPA president Sultan Ahmed was more sarcastic in his views. “The same group of people who have now resigned from the IMPPA, including Shabnam Kapoor, Mukesh Duggal etc., were on the executive committee of IMPPA last year but they couldn’t do a thing for the production sector. They took up the case of producer Rahul Gupta (Kartavya) versus Dimple Kapadia but could do no justice to Gupta. Nor could they get Dhirubhai Shah’s ATN to pay anything to producers for showing their films and songs on the channels. And now they expect to help the producers. Or so they claim. I wish them good luck!” Sultan Ahmed reiterated that whatever was being done by the FMC was for the betterment of the production sector, and it was foolish to think otherwise.
CCCA president Santosh Singh Jain opined, “Those who’ve resigned don’t just want the star-ceiling to go, they also don’t want discipline. Most of the producers who’ve resigned have either started a film or want to start one with the ceiling-stars, Sunil Shetty or Akshay Kumar. Let them break away from their parent association. The FDC is there. How will they release their film without the distributors’ associations registering them? Those breaking away from the producers’ associations are selfish people who are only concerned about their personal gains, they don’t have the good of the production sector at heart. Like, for example, the Venus people who have started films without the FMC clearance.”
While the IMPPA has so far received 45 resignations — 32 in Ordinary class, 7 in Associate class I and 6 in Associate class — it is yet to accept the resignations. That is to say, no resignation is yet accepted by the IMPPA.
PUBLIC ISSUE OF BMB IN APRIL
The public issue of producer-director K.C. Bokadia’s BMB Music And Magnetics Ltd. will open on April 13. A state-of-the-art plant for the manufacture of audio tapes and component discs has reportedly been installed in Jaipur, and production will commence on April 13. For this Rs. 17-crore project, Rs. 9 crore is to be raised from the public issue. The issue is priced at Rs. 35 per share which includes a premium of Rs. 25 per share.
YOU ASKED IT
Why is the issue of price rise by producers at the time of delivery taken so casually by distributors?
– If a film is good, distributors don’t grudge increasing the price. If not, there are hassles, and not all distributors raise the price. Each case is an individual case and an association (of distributors) can’t do much about it.
In spite of so many flops, why is Mithun Chakraborty still a sought-after star?
– Because he allots dates at a stretch and is very professional.
With so many English films being dubbed in Hindi, who are the most adversely affected?
– Our writers, because they wouldn’t know where to pinch story ideas from, and our action directors for they won’t have secret films to pinch action scenes from!
JUHI MOVES COURT: HC NOTICE TO
DD, PRODUCER, LAB
On a petition filed by Juhi Chawla alleging fraud against her by producer Neeta Sharma (D.N. Productions), the Delhi high court has issued summons to D.N. Productions, Rauko Cine Laboratory and the director-general of Doordarshan.
Juhi alleged in the petition that D.N. Productions had fraudulently got a full-length feature film, Vada Hai Milan Ka, in which she was the heroine, to be telecast on Doordarshan as a teleserial titled Mahashakti. She has sought the court’s intervention to permanently restrain the telecast of the teleserial on DD under any name, which incorporates her work from the feature film. The serial is telecast every Friday, and four episodes have already been telecast.
Justice Devinder Gupta, before whom the matter came up on 16th February, issued summons to producer Neeta Sharma, Rauko Cine Lab and to the D-G of DD for 21st February. The court also ordered the defendants to furnish before the court all video cassettes of the serial.
According to Juhi, a sum of Rs. 75,000 was payable as her balance remuneration for her role in the film which was earlier titled Jannat. On 1st December, 1994, the producers approached Juhi with the balance payment and told her that they intended to again change the film’s title, this time to Mahashakti. They also asked her to sign a declaration that she had no objection to the release of the film in any form. Not sensing that the film would be released in a teleserial format, Juhi signed the papers.
BANDRA TALKIES DOWNS SHUTTERS
Bandra Talkies at Bandra, Bombay has closed down for good from 10th February. The property has been sold and the cinema will reportedly give way to a shopping complex.
A.R. RAHMAN TO WED
Music director A.R. Rahman got engaged to Saira Banu recently in Madras. Saira is the sister of Meherunissa, wife of actor Rehman.
TEJ NATH ZAR’S DAUGHTER WEDS
Anjana, daughter of producer-writer Tej Nath Zar, got married to Shankar on 15th February in Bombay at National College Hall.
RAMESH SIPPY BEREAVED
Gopal H. Sippy, father of Bombay distributor Ramesh Sippy (B.R.A.) and father-in-law of Jeetendra, expired on 15th February in Bombay. He was 79. Marka was held on 17th at Tulsi Niwas, Churchgate.
ARUN NIGAM DEAD
Cinematographer Arun Nigam expired on 12th February at Nanavati Hospital, Bombay due to a prolonged illness. He was 47 and is survived by his wife and three daughters.
Corporatisation seems to be the order of the day in the film and TV industry. Amitabh Bachchan has already formed a company, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd. K.C. Bokadia will be coming up with a public issue of his audio company, BMB Music, in April ’95. Zafar Hai, who is into TV and video software production, has already gone public. And so has computer wizard Shyam Ramanna. Among other film people who are planning to raise money from the public are Mukul Anand, Nitin Manmohan, ace still photographer Shantanu Sheorey and the Tatas (Marg Publications). The Tatas will be entering the film industry in a big way shortly. Buena Vista will also open a public issue in the near future.
A little bird tells us that the lady producer whose film is complete, has plans of increasing its price by 15 to 20 per major territory. The prices of two releases of March are also tipped to be in the revision stage.
Rumours “Baseless”: Subhash Ghai
Rumours are rife in Bombay as well as in Madras that Subhash Ghai and music director A.R. Rahman have parted ways and that Laxmikant-Pyarelal are now providing the music score of Shikhar. When contacted, Subhash Ghai dismissed the rumours as baseless. He laughed, “When I spoke to Rahman over the telephone recently, he told me of these rumours circulating in Madras. I told him, such rumours would be heard more often as I have a lot of ‘well- wishers’ in the industry. Jokes apart, there is no question of parting ways. I am very happy with Rahman.” Ghai plans to start the shooting of Shikhar by mid-April or May, after Trimurti is complete.
Tuesday, The 14th
Sultan Ahmed, who never makes more than one film at a time, launched a new film even before his Jai Vikraanta has been released. He recorded a song for the new film, as yet untitled, on 14th February. The decision to launch it on 14th was quite sudden. According to Sultan Ahmed, the combination of Tuesday and 5 is lucky for him and since 14th totals up to 5 numerologically and it was a Tuesday on 14th February, he thought of starting the film. Aadesh Srivastava recorded the song in Kumar Sanu’s voice. The cast and other crew of the film are yet to be decided.
Producer-director N. Chandra has a potential hit in his hands in the ‘Khatra khatra’ song of Beqabu. He seems to be lucky with songs which have numbers in their lyrics. His ‘Ek, do, teen, chaar’ song of Tezaab had become a sensation in its time. The ‘Khatra Khatra’ number also has numbers 1 to 16 in it. Its racy music (Anu Malik) is bound to make it a craze, especially among school and college students. And Chandra knows this too well. He is, therefore, sparing no efforts in its picturisation which is currently in progress on a palatial set at Filmistan Studios. After this song, only two-and-a-half more songs and very few scenes would remain to be shot to complete the film. Asked about the significance of the title Beqabu, Chandra replied, “Beqabu is a romantic film. In love, there is no limit to one’s passion. Love can make one do anything. This is what is sought to be conveyed by the title. There is also another angle to it. Sanjay Kapoor plays a street-boy in the film, having been deprived of his parents’ love and care since childhood. He, therefore, does not know what culture is. When parents teach their children culture, they tell them their limits beyond which they should not go. Beqabu also means going beyond limits in that sense.” Whatever the connotations of the word, Chandra and Tips (the film’s presenters) would only wish the film’s business crosses all upper limits when it is released.
Games Of Tension
Financier and Rajasthan distributor Naraindas Mukhija has turned producer and will be starting two films shortly. What prompted him to take the plunge in production? Says Mukhija, “I used to finance other producers and invite tension. So I thought, why shouldn’t I produce films myself? If I had to take tension, why not by making my own films? At least, that way, my money would be under my control.”
Busy Character Artistes
The boom in production of TV serials has made some film artistes, who don’t mind working for the small screen, busier than the proverbial bee. A big-screen character actress, known for her mother roles, is currently working in 21 films and is also committed to doing 28 TV serials, four or five of which are already on the air!
Over to some new and interesting titles registered by the title registration committee in its meeting held on 6th February:
Hum Aapke Hain Ghulam, Main Hoon Tajmahal, Pavithra Tawaif, Mrityu Chumban, Do Kadke Chale Film Banane, Ladkee Achchi Hai, Kakaa, 210 Jama 420, Bandook Ki Nauk Pe, Main Deti Tumhe Pyar Ka Nimantran, Bombay Ka Don, Bombay Love.