Exorbitant star fee wrecks Tollywood ship
Leading filmmakers claim that six to seven `inexperienced producers have ruined Tollywood by offering fancy remunerations to superstars from Pawan to Mahesh, NTR to Prabhas and Ram Charan to Allu Arjun and sent Telugu film budgets on a tailspin.
Leading filmmakers claim that six to seven `inexperienced producers have ruined Tollywood by offering fancy remunerations to superstars from Pawan to Mahesh, NTR to Prabhas and Ram Charan to Allu Arjun and sent Telugu film budgets on a tailspin. According to sources, the above-mentioned stars are reportedly drawing anywhere between Rs 15 to 25 crore per film and producers are sucked into losses, if star films go awry. “Undoutedbly, popularity of Telugu superstars is soaring by the day.
For instance, if the market has expanded 4 to 5 times, the budget has also gone up by 7 to 8 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 Vallabaneni Ashok, who is also worried about the losing value of producers and forcing leading producers to take a back seat.
“A handful of producers have become mere production managers and don’t even have a clue about the script and making of the film. Once leading producers like Ramanaidu, Dasari and Ramoji Rao commanded lot of respect but now some producers are treated like Mr Money bags and they have to just sign cheques and and not even to be seen on sets since that could irritate a few stars” says another producer C N Rao.
Even if a star film is blockbuster, the producer and distributors just break-even or earn a small margin, since they are sold for high prices. But if a star film tanks at the box-office it affects producers badly. In fact, due to mounting losses, a producer suffered a heart-attack after losing Rs 15 crore in his recent flop and another production house piled up Rs 100 crore debt, despite giving hits, by overspending, while a few others have gone underground after flops.
“Telugu cinema is no more a good business proposition, unlike in the past, due to exorbitant remunerations,” says producer Chadalavada Srinivisa Rao who asks stars to follow in the footsteps of yesteryear superstars like NTR, ANR and Krishna. “NTR was drawing Rs 4 to 5 lakhs even during his peak days and his highest remuneration was for Rs 1 lakh per day when he allotted 18 days for `Naa Desam’.
He did receive Rs 10 lakh offers, but he rejected them since he didn’t want to do a film for money alone. Similarly, Krishna didn’t hike his remuneration after a blockbuster, rather preferred to act more films to earn more and also forgone balance remuneration of many a producer, since they treated producer as an employer and wanted to safeguard his interests as he will provide livelihood for many,” he adds.
Another producer on condition of anonymity adds, “Now-a-days there are only proposal maker and not genuine filmmakers who know how to strike a balance between creativity and commerce. Actually, making star-studded film is like mounting a lion. So even if the film bombs, they need to keep on making big films by paying hefty sums to stars for their dates, otherwise the lion (read debtors) would swallow him,’ he laments.