The Senna Hegde-directed ‘Padmini’ was under the eye of a storm when one of its producers lashed out against its leading man Kunchacko Boban for staying away from promotions. The film which is currently running in theatres is getting mixed reviews. Now producer Sandip Senan who has produced films like ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum,’ ‘Sathyam Paranjal Viswasikkumo’ and ‘Saudi Vellakka,’ has claimed that it was Kunchacko Boban who first raised a grievance. It was only later that Suvin Varkey lashed out against Kunchacko Boban in public.
According to Senan, both the actor and producer had amicably settled the grievances. “At present, Suvin hasn’t given a fresh complaint. If there are any complaints, they will be considered only after the new executive committee of the Kerala Film Producers Association is formed,” Senan who is also a member of the producers association.
He added that at times, though actors agree, they are unable to be part of the promotions, especially when the scheduled dates get postponed.
He also said some of the young producers are unaware of the workings of cinema and end up hiking the remuneration of the stars. They also never bother to attend the producers association meeting to understand the nitty-gritty of the film business. Excerpts from the interview.
Film release dates and promotion dates…
It is part of the agreement to take part in promotions. If the dates have already been decided, it is mandatory to be part of the promotions. But when the release dates change, the artist's convenience should also be considered. Of course, it is important for artists to be part of promotions but when the release dates change, the artists might have allotted their dates for some other event. Or if they are ill, then you can’t force them to attend the promotions. They can try online promotions. When such technical glitches occur, no one can be blamed. Sometimes the producer might have to postpone the release dates due to rain and the artist might have committed to something else. That’s how they often miss the promotions. So I won't say that Kunchacko Boban is entirely at fault when it comes to the 'Padmini' issue. You may not be able to be part of the promotions if the dates are not according to the promised schedule. After all, everyone is busy. So those who are planning to produce films in the future should take all these factors into account.
Demand for stars who have market
Making films with bankable stars is a phenomenon that happened at all times. This bankability is decided by the audience. Those stars who consistently produce hits will have a market. The OTT platforms are also eyeing the films of these bankable stars. It is risky for a producer to make a film with actors who have no market value.
Theatres should cooperate
The theatre owners should avoid the tendency of changing shows weekly with the thought of running the film for 42 or 90 days. They should at least show the courage to run a film continuously for a week without interruptions. That’s the only way this business will survive. Theatre owners have the responsibility to make sure that good films are getting a good run in the theatres. Sachin Tendulkar didn’t hit a century in every one-day match. There have been opportunities and some days it will get better. Similarly, it is only when you allow the films to play in theatres that the audience will be able to watch during weekends. Now more audiences are coming on weekends. Some films, even without stars, will work if they have good content. 'Romancham' worked that way. And it was a big win at the box office.
Inexperienced producers hike salary of the stars
Producers pick bankable actors. I am talking about the business where at least half of the investment is recovered before a film is released in theaters. It is calculated based on the market value of each actor. It is not necessary that a leading star’s market value might be the same as the actor who is playing a supporting role. So it is not possible to give the salary of the leading actor to the rest of the actors. There are only some 10 or 15 people who regularly produce films. It is usually inexperienced producers who have little knowledge about the trade who hike the salary of the stars.
Even when you start a soap company, the investment is based on the expected turnover. Similarly, it is a producer who has no idea about the trade who agrees to pay the money a star demands for his film. Those who regularly do films bargain according to their market value. If a producer is unable to offer that remuneration, he has the option of going for another actor. But such a decision is only made by a producer who is aware of this trade. Producers have the facility to clear any doubts with the Producers Association. The organisation has a section that provides consultation regarding the business of making films. But no one comes. So the star's fees are hiked by such inexperienced producers. When a star gets Rs 1 cr for a film, an inexperienced producer will call him for his next and pay him Rs 1.5 crores, hence his salary becomes 1.5 crores. To do business you need to understand what turnover is. Cinema is not a business to squander money, you should have a thorough understanding of the business before plunging into it.
Kunchacko was the one who first raised a complaint
We first received a grievance from Kunchacko Boban about 'Padmini' stating that he was not paid his full amount. His complaint and Varkey’s grievance were sorted at the producers association. They haven’t given any written complaint after that. Varkey, however, raised his grievance again on social media. No decision has been taken unilaterally by the association. We are considering this issue neutrally. This issue will be discussed only when a new executive is elected by the association. Only then, can we speak about the association’s stand in this matter,” he said.