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Bollywood A-Listers To Reduce Their Remuneration? Trade Analysts  Speak

As  the film industry stares  into the  abyss of  an unprecedented  economic slump experts say  the  only out  of  the  mess is  for  the leading men lower their  fees per film drastically.

A  major producer who wishes  to remain  unnamed says, “The  A-list heroes  , all of them, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan,  Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan, Hrithik Roshan,Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh all charge between  90  to  130 crore rupees, This  will have to end now.  The  heroes’ fews  will have to  go down by 70-80  percent  for  the  film business  to survive.”

Interestingly among the  above-mentioned A-listers   Shah Rukh, Aamir and Hrithik do not have any  films on the  floor. This means  they will have to re-negotiate their  on-the-table fee whenever  they sign a  new  film.

Trade pundit Taran Adarsh feels  the drop  in star remuneration is inevitable now.  “At a time when the industry has come to a grinding halt due to the lockdown, the economics have gone haywire. No one knows when cinemas would re-open or when would films hit the screens. Everyone is clueless. Also, since our films are released globally, the makers will have to wait till normalcy returns across the globe. Again, you cannot expect moviegoers to throng the cinema halls when theatres reopen. Earning your livelihood and getting life back on track will take priority. Entertainment is last on anyone’s list. Resultantly, the costs will escalate and the producer, obviously, will have to bear the brunt as far as the final costs are concerned at the time of release.” This , says Taran, is where  the   actors will have to step in. “They – financiers, producers and actors specifically – will need to be on the same page as far as the economic viability of the project is concerned. It’s a scary scenario right now, frankly.”

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  Opines trade  analyst Akshaye Rathi, “I truly believe that the entire entertainment eco-system needs to change its ways to enable its own revival. When an organisation faces an economic crisis, it cuts out the frills and sharpens its focus on the necessities. Similarly, the entertainment sector needs to cut out the high degree of vanity that it fuels and  focus on making content with high intrinsic value and appeal that cuts across the length and breadth of the country at justifiable costs. The cost cutting measures have to start with the talent and trickle down across the value chain right upto the audience for cinema to again be a low hanging fruit for its consumers.”

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     Analyst Atul Mohan agees with Akshaye.  “Well , if you see almost all the A list actors have started taking share in profits in each film they do. Those who weren’t have also started asking for the same. This helps in bringing down not only the budget costs but also makes them lifelong partners in the  intellectual  property  rights  of the film. The share in profits can be 20% to 75-80% and upfront fees can be from 10 cr to 25 crore.Looking at the current situation and for better future I think the upfront fees will have to go down by 60-70% or even more and would just be token money and rest remuneration will be increase in share of profits. This will have to be done for survival of all.”

Girish Johar feels the pandemic has changed the economics  of  the movie industry forever. “The pandemic has hit the industry sooo hard thats its a knock out punch for many. It has taken the film industry off tracks. The post-Covid scenario will be very different. Ours is a closely-knit labour -intensive industry and  meeting safety and  security guidelines will be a tough task and to maintain these  is another tall order. This will also lead to cutting down of “hands available on deck” policy and  increase in cost. So its a double blow. To offset this, the A-league actors will have to adjust their fixed fees being charged on a project.”

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   Johar  points  out that stars  producing their own  films  will help minimize  their remunerative  losses.  “Most of them work for their own production houses, so they can easily offset the lower fixed fee by claiming more  percentage  on the profit share. This will be easy for them, but will surely help in reducing the costs overall. Once everything becomes normal, I  am pretty much confident that the A-league stars’  terms  and condirions  will be lapped up  on a premium, due to pent up demand. This will eventually lead them with more profits, in the long run.”

 Amod Mehra is  of the opinion that star fees would not take  a direct  hit. “Most A-list heroes are also producers.So their income will reduce but not the fees.”

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