By Surendra Bhatia
Ronnie Screwvala earlier this week tweeted that the actual box-office figures, rather than the pumped-up ones supplied by producers and studios, need to be publicised. Fair enough. If the film industry is to grow, it can do so only when the box-office figures are credible and are seen to be genuine. Till this point, Ronnie has made the right appeal and there can be no quibbles about that. But, why then, tag Film Information editor Komal Nahta to the tweet, creating the uncalled-for impression that Film Information and Komal Nahta are party to such practices and should heed his tweet. As Ronnie, no doubt, knows, box-office figures in Film Information and on filminformation.com are the most authentic in the business… and this is not new; knowledgeable film industry people in Bollywood have repeatedly acknowledged the authenticity of Film Information figures over many decades.
Perhaps, there’s been a slight void in Ronnie’s Bollywood education if he does not know that Film Information has over 200 representatives all over the country to check the local box-office figures after which they are re-confirmed in Bombay with knowledgeable sources before the figures make it to the Film Information website. Yes, it is a fact that producers do try to inflate box-office collections of their films, as Ronnie would know all too well, especially in the early days after release. And one says, Ronnie would know, because he was heading UTV at one time, and UTV also did all that producers do today to show that their films are better than they actually might be. And, mind you, this has been going on since ages! But Film Information, too, knows it, and it takes all precautions to arrive at the correct collections. This sometimes leads to a discrepancy of around Rs. 1 or 2 crore in the weekly collection figures provided by the producer and deflated, after double and triple checking, by Film Information. Ronnie should also understand that the malaise of inflated collections is created by producers. Instead of tagging Komal and Film Information, he should have, perhaps, tagged the concerned producers, who he is accusing of inflating collections. Film Information does its best to zero in on the correct figures. Since Ronnie seems aware of the producer who inflated the collections, probably the one who prompted his recent tweet, he is welcome to use the Film Information platform to expose the producer/studio concerned – with facts and figures and inside information, of course.