AKSHAY KUMAR, who answers to monikers such as Khiladi Kumar, hit-machine, canny investor, highest income-tax payer among others, speaks to Screen's Priyanka Sinha Jha on the business of entertainment. Excerpts:
Due to factors like extensive release around the world aided by digital technology, films like Dhoom 3 have reported collections of Rs 500 crore—so what do you think will expand the business further?
What happened to Dhoom 3, was a first time blessing that our whole fraternity is very proud of. But now, the bar has been lifted again, we are all climbing a new ladder. Five hundred crore blockbusters will still be hard to find; if it was easy, we’d all have one. Big brand names, productions, stars and trilogies, with huge distribution pockets, PR ventures and strategies for films will push Bollywood’s barriers more than we can dream of. Without these elements, it will only be an up-hill struggle.
What according to you are the qualities that a leading entrepreneur such as you, needs to have?
Discipline, thick skin, and an open, versatile mind; if you possess these qualities you will not only survive, but you will have the ability to flourish as well. Having brains, money and power will not get you everywhere in life — hard work, unbelievably hard work and determination is your first key. But consistent discipline towards the betterment of either your film, your company and your selling value is what will take you further.
A revenue or business model that you think is very effective. Are there any recent examples of production houses or studios that got it right vis-a-vis the production, promotion and marketing of a film?
As a matter of fact, there are many such examples! My own production house for one, but there have been so many successful breakthroughs recently, between Hari Om Entertainment, Grazing Goat Pictures, Dharma Productions, Red Chillies, Arbaaz Khan Productions, Yash Raj Films; they have all been super successful in the past year. It’s all down to judging what the audience wants, whether there is fear of selling one’s soul, or battling religious controversy, launching not one, but three newcomers at once, or spending money on special effects that have never been seen before in Hindi cinema. These are all brave movements and each company has done justice to themselves, to the industry and the audience with plans that not only worked, but took guts, passion and a lot of hard