Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday News Post! It's anti-competitive!

HAPPY WEEKEND! And what a week it was. I'll be glad never to hear the words "Hurricane" and "Sandy" together again.

NOW! It's kind of a slow news day (you can always tell by the number of Poonam Pandey stories cluttering the news sites) but let's see what's up!

* Probably the most interesting story going on right now is the battle between Ajay Devgn Films and Yash Raj Films over screen space.

Here is Ajay Devgn Films take on events:

Under the threat of not delivering "Ek Tha Tiger" which was the only film to be released on Eid/Independence day (an unusual day being a Wednesday for a film release), YRF forced the exhibitors to tie in the release of the untitled movie (which is now titled as "Jab tak hai jaan") on the Diwali day i.e. 13.11.2012 which is also an unusual day for release i.e. Tuesday. ADF is entitled to release its movie on the Diwali day which right is protected under Article 19(1)(g), Indian Contract Act and Competition Act, 2002 and provide effective competition to YRF's movie.

* Yash Raj Films is playing innocent over the whole situation.

YRF claims to have booked less than 1,500 single screens out of the 10,500-plus single screens available on an all-India basis.

“If this was an issue, why wasn’t it raised earlier? Why wait till now when both films are nearing release,” he added, stressing that the fact that JTHJ would be a Diwali 2012 release, was announced in June 2011 itself.

I wonder if Ajay Devgn films had counted on Yash Raj taking the multiplexes and leaving the single screens but then received a rude shock...

* The High Court is forcing the Competition Commission to look at the matter ASAP.

* Rajkumar Hirani says the second lead of PK to be announced in a week. I still hope it's Shahid and not Imran.

* I said it before and I'll say it again - I'm over Anurag Kashyap.

Anurag Kashyap doesn't believe that he is running a film factory in Bollywood. He is not doing any "favour" by giving breaks to the newcomers, he insists.

 "I am fulfilling my selfish motives. These newcomers help me push myself and reinvent my creativity. I am nurturing new talent. Art is a democratic setup," he says.

"My only motive is to make edgy movies that excite me as much as I presume they would excite the audience," he adds.

You know, I was really looking forward to Bombay Velvet back when AK didn't have such a big ego - I just get the feeling it's going to be a bloated and an self-important film. Sometimes, the worst thing to happen to an artist is to gain complete artistic control of their work.

* Open Magazine takes a look at the people who invest in Bollywood.

Says Karan Arora of Highground, “There has been marked improvement in the funding environ­ment over the past decade. It started with corporates joining hands with the film industry, and now with India’s growing rich community, many [High Networth Individuals] want to be film financiers. The image of film funding has also gone through a radical change; whereas previ­ously, this was an area of controversy, it is rarely the case nowadays, and probably for most now it adds a glamour quotient to their profile.”

You mouth says controversy but your heart says mafia money laundering...

* Open also has a profile up of the legendary Asha Bhosle. I will always be grateful I had the chance to see her perform live in concert.

“She is a courageous woman who held life by the scruff of its neck and said, ‘Look, I am not going to let you mess around with me.’ She is at nobody’s mercy,” says Mishra. “She is a fiercely independent person and had often had to pay a price for that because as we all know, Indian society doesn’t like such independent people.”


Moimeme said...

I must point out that YRF are being slightly disingenuous in their statement. The figure of 10,500 single screens "nationally" is correct, as they say. What they *don't* say is that, being a "national" figure, this number includes all the theaters in all the parts of India, especially South India (where the theater density is much higher than in the Hindi belt, and where most of them are single screen theaters), which NEVER show Hindi films. So it's a meaningless statistic. The comparison should be of the total single screens that show Hindi films, and how many of those are available to ADF.

And of course ADF are also doing their own spin, by only mentioning those territories where the disproportionate sharing of screens between the two films is starkest.

And on twitter, distributors and exhibitors who, two or three months before, had actually tweeted that they were getting undue pressure from YRF, have now switched their line and proclaiming that they never, no, not even once, got any pressure to take JTHJ.

An interesting situation, no doubt. A lot of people are asking what Ajay hopes to gain by filing this complaint so late in the day. Even if nothing comes of it for SOS, I still think it will set a very important precedent, and may help future films. I, for instance, wasn't even aware of this competition law, or of the Competition Commission. Neither were some other people who post regularly on BW forums, who are not only much more knowledgeable than I, but actually had industry links. So at least it's been educational for the general public, and knowledge is always good. :)

Filmi Girl said...

@Moimeme I suspected that figure was for all over India - including places that never show Hindi films! I don't doubt that YRF tried to strong arm the market. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some backroom deal that went sour that is behind all this... like maybe ADF thought they were clear for the single screens but YRF decided to push their market share?

Moimeme said...

@FG -- yeah, your idea of a backroom deal that went sour could be true. This complaint with the Competition Commission was supposedly filed three days before Yash Chopra died, which makes it Oct. 18 -- approximately one month before the release. Before that there were minor rumblings about the supposed package deal with ETT, so maybe they were trying to sort that out, and the negotiations fizzled out, either because they couldn't agree on terms, or because Aditya Chopra suddenly had other things to worry about, like his father's illness. With everything left up in the air and the release date fast approaching, ADF then filed this complaint. It might have happened. Or something else totally different. :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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