The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
From Bollywood, a bail-out prop
- Yash Chopra scripts chamber-fired initiative for Tollygunge studio turnaround

He has sold us some of the most lyrical celluloid dreams of our times. And now he’s ready to script a special Silsila in our very own Tollywood.

No, Yash Chopra’s latest venture is not set in Maniktala. It’s just that the Mumbai moghul has set his sights on Calcutta to do what he can for a fellow industry in need. The veteran film-maker will lead the first organised effort to “corporatise the Bengal film industry”. Subhash Ghai and Yash Johar are expected to join Chopra in the challenge to effect a Tollywood turnaround.

The move is powered by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in association with the Indian Chamber of Commerce. “We have been trying to incorporate professional elements in the entertainment industry for the past two-and-a-half years. But we have only looked at Bollywood. Now, we want to focus on the east and the south,” said Yash Chopra, chairman, FICCI Entertainment Committee.

The maker of Deewar, Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila… sounded optimistic about a reversal of Tollywood fortunes: “The industry has recently thrown up some new talent. I have also learnt that films like Saathi have done brisk business and there are a number of good films on the floor. These are healthy signs and we want to do our best to make a difference.”

The initiative will be kicked off on September 16, with a daylong symposium to be inaugurated by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and involving experts from various functional areas, covering film finance, marketing and intellectual property rights.

Arijit Dutta, vice-president, Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA), who will be addressing the inaugural session, singled out “rampant piracy” and a “cash crunch” as the primary problems looming over the Tollygunge studios.“These days, banks have started financing films, but they don’t touch a project unless the budget is Rs 4 crore, while most of our films have a budget of Rs 40 to 60 lakh,” he observed.

Speakers from consultancy major KPMG, IDBI and NFDC will highlight the various financing options, while ‘management guru’ Arindam Chaudhuri, whose Planman Live has produced Sanjhbatir Rupkathara, will dwell on the importance of marketing for the future of Tollywood. Bringing the curtains down on the mega meet, say the organisers will be bureaucrats Jawhar Sarkar and Arun Bhattacharya and film-makers Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh.

Email This PagePrint This Page