Superstars, big directors sideline hapless producers?

Superstars, big directors sideline hapless producers?
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Highlights

Some filmmakers claim that six to seven ‘inexperienced producers have ruined Tollywood by kicking off big projects even without knowing the script and the budget, just going by the ‘word’ of superstars and top directors.

Some filmmakers claim that six to seven 'inexperienced producers have ruined Tollywood by kicking off big projects even without knowing the script and the budget, just going by the 'word' of superstars and top directors.

"Surely, it is worst time to be a producer in Tollywood. Except for doling out big sums for hefty pay cheques and production costs, he has zero knowledge about the film he is making.

For instance, a producer who is investing more than Rs 300 crore on a multi-starrer doesn't know the complete story, so imagine the plight of other hapless Telugu produers these days," rues producer C N Rao, who blames it on top stars and directors for this bleak scenario.

"Big stars and directors take all the decisions between themselves and just pass on the information to the producer who has to just follow their instructions without raising any queries or doubts," he adds.

No doubt, films are sold on the names of A-list stars and dream merchants but that doesn't give them the right to push their 'pay masters' out of the loop. '"Unfortuntely, new generation stars don't consider producer as part of their creative team and treat him as 'Mr Money Bags' only.

In fact, even the distribution, satellite and other rates are fixed by the team of stars and director and producers have nothing much to say," says producer Vallabhaneni Ashok, who feels that distributors are losing big money on projects due to this unprofessional business practice.

"Some producers are forced to sell movies at exorbitant rates. Either to overcome or match their arch rival business in the trade which is not a healthy practice.

A business tycoon-turned-producer sold his for Rs 100 crore. Now, he has pay back distributors since the film bombed badly. Neither the star or director will repay as the producer has to take complete burden," adds Ashok.

It is true that films of big stars like Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, Prabhas ,Ram Charan and Allu Arjun are sold anywhere between Rs 60 to 70 crore per film in the two Telugu states.

"Even the biggest of superstars have managed to collect Rs 70 to 80 crore net collections in two Telugu states, so anything beyond it would be a risky proposition. Already, Telugu film budgets have gone on a tailspin.

Now, the distribution prices are going over the roof. It is bound to spell doom in the days to come," says distributor Ramakrsihna, who wants remuneration and budgets to be reined in.

Undoutedbly, popularity of Telugu superstars is soaring by the day. For instance, if the market has expanded 5 to 7 times, the budget has also gone up by 9 to 10 times, which is an unequal match and putting few producers in financial mess.

"It's high time these stars put a cap on their remunerations, otherwise industry will be doomed since fees of stars, directors and technicians gobbling up 60% of the budget and leaving peanuts for making values, thereby affecting the quality as well," says veteran producer N Padmini, who is also worried about the losing value of producers. "Legends like NTR and ANR used to greet producers by standing up while they walked in.

NTR used to call producers as his 'pay masters' and even treated scrap-dealer-turned producer with respect. But no such niceties now-a-days." she concludes.

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