‘FILM INFORMATION’: A Trade Magazine Goes Public After 46 Years! | 20 July, 2019

For people in the film trade, Film Infor­mation is a household name. Right from 1973, their Saturdays are incomplete without the numero uno trade magazine of the film industry. For, they’ve been getting their weekly dose of unbiased film reviews, authentic box-office collections and impartial film news from Film Infor­mation week after week for 46 long years. It’s now time to go digital. It’s also time to cater not just to the trade but to the general public also. And so, here we are!

The weekly magazine was started by my father, Shri Ramraj Nahta, on 6th October, 1973, which happened to be Dassera. Ramraj-ji passed away on 18th April, 1993, leaving the institution called Film Information in my hands. I had joined him in 1984, after completing my Chartered Accountancy, as films fascinated me more than figures. As I realised soon, my CA degree proved useful because as part of Film Information, I was dealing with box-office figures all the time.

Through the years, the magazine has grown from strength to strength and become an inseparable part of the industry people’s lives. Producers, directors, distri­butors, exhibitors, stars, technicians – all of them swear by our reviews and repor­tage because of our honesty and integrity. There’s an incident I’d like to share with the trade and public alike here. My father, who was also a film producer in his own right, had just completed writing the review of a Rajasthani film made by him, for publication in Film Information. The review written was not as glowing as the public response to the film was – and this point was brought to Ramraj-ji’s notice by the then associate editor of Film Information, Shri Nutan Naik. The latter asked the for­mer to change the review to exactly match the public verdict, before it went into print, explaining that the film’s busi­ness would be adversely affected if the review did not reflect the actual position. That was because exhibitors of smaller centres conducted business on the basis of how Film Information reviewed and rated a film. I clearly remember Ramraj-ji’s words: “Doesn’t matter. The loss of profit is acceptable. But if, for some reason, our review for our own film is found to be more laudatory than the public verdict, the loss of reputation of Film Information will not be acceptable.” Needless to add, the review, which went into print, was not changed even if it meant a loss of revenue of a few lakh rupees, way back in the 1980s.

It would not be wrong to say that films were sold on the basis of our reactions to them. In the good old days, it was the norm for producers to show incomplete or complete films to Film Information, weeks and even months before their release. One such film we were shown was Aamir Khan’s Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak soon after it was complete but much before it had been acquired for distribution for the different circuits. (That was the time when distributors acquired films for just one circuit rather than for the whole of India or world.) Aamir’s uncle, Shri Nasir Husain, had held private preview shows of the love story for distributors of various circuits with an aim to selling its distribution rights. Distri­butors saw the film and loved it but were unhappy with the tragic ending. However, Film Information loved the film and did not find the tragic ending an aberration. We published a preview of the film in our magazine and predicted huge success for it. And in just two days after our preview was published, the film had been sold for every single circuit of India. Such is the faith of distributors in our predictions.

Whether it was about predicting that Dangal would be the biggest blockbuster of Indian cinema or that Badhaai Ho would nail it or that 102 Not Out would have a meritorious run at the box-office or that Pink would become a landmark film of sorts or that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai would be a super-duper hit or that Yaadon Ki Baraat in 1973 would be a smash hit
or that the audio company Venus would mint money from sale of music cassettes of Dil Se.. (1998) or that Dil Se.. would fail at the box-office despite super-hit music or that one of the costliest films of its times, Blue (2009), would sink without a trace… Film Information predicted it all.

We reproduce hereunder the relevant excerpts from our issues for the benefit of readers who are not part of the film industry:

As you must’ve realised, there’s no place for gossip on our platform. There’s so much to report about the film trade and about hardcore facts and figures that there’s just no room for gossip.

Also included in this website will be the videos of my television and YouTube shows for your viewing pleasure.

Having given you a brief background about Film Information the magazine, let me quickly take you through the various parts of the website.

As you can see, the Home page gives you an overview of what the website offers.

The Reviews section has the reviews of Hindi, Hindi dubbed and Marathi films.

The Box-Office section comprises two sub-sections. Latest Position gives a weekly summary of the currently running films, for the week gone by, and their all-India performance. The textual matter is complemented by graphs (on an all-India basis) in the case of big films. The Weekly Collections section gives the box-office collections of the week gone by, city-wise and graphically.

The Releases section gives you an exhaustive list of the forthcoming Hindi films – month-wise.

In the Videos section, you can access my episodes of ETC Bollywood Busi­ness, telecast on Zee ETC from Mondays to Fridays since April, 2010. Since these videos rest on Zee5, the official website of Zee ETC, they may not be available for free in some countries but in most of the countries, people can view them for free. Likewise, reviews of my films can be seen in the ETC Video Reviews section. (This, as you will note, will be over and above the textual reviews of the latest films, avai­lable in the Reviews section.) The Trailers section will let you view the trailers of the latest films awaiting release. In the You­ Tube channel section, you will be able to view videos uploaded by me on Komal­NahtaOfficial, which is the name of my YouTube channel.

The News section will keep you abreast of the latest happenings in the film industry.

The Censor News will keep you in the know of the certification of all the forthcoming films, whether they’ve been certified for universal viewing or adult viewing or ‘UA’. The section will also give you the certificate number, the date of the certificate and the running time of each film.

Besides this, there will be a chart of the Box-Office Collections of the latest films, updated every Saturday on the Home Page. The day of uploading this chart will be Saturday every week because a film week is from Friday to Thursday, and by the time we gather, collate and analyse the box-office collections of all running films from over 200 centres of India, it is way past Friday midnight.

The Flashback section will reproduce articles from the past issues of Film Infor­mation, to take you down memory lane.

Here & There is an opinion column on matters of the film trade and industry, written by Surendra Bhatia in a style that’s unique to him – witty, informative and, of course, very entertaining!

For those who like to be aware about the Twitter world, you can also read my tweets right here – on the Home page.

We do hope, the film trade will continue to give us the same love and affection they’ve filled us with during the last 46 years. We also hope that the public will find value in our website which has several firsts (Censor News, Flashback etc.) to its credit. We look forward to hearing from you on how you find our website. Your suggestions, of course, are always welcome!

Happy reading and happy viewing!!

Komal Nahta