ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Amitabh BachchanNo buyers for Amitabh Bachchan's Bhojpuri debut film
24th Sept 2006  10.00 IST
By Agencies  

In spite of the presence of mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan , his debut Bhojpuri film 'Ganga' is yet to find buyers.

The main reason for this seems to be that the distributors are reluctant to pay the huge amount demanded by the movie's producer.

The movie, produced by Bachchan's make-up man Deepak Sawant, boasts of the cream of Bhojpuri stars as well as special appearances by Bachchan and Hema Malini .

Sawant, according to market sources, has demanded an astronomical Rs 85 lakh per territory, a sum unheard of in Bhojpuri films. This has made distributors reluctant to buy the rights for the movie.

"A big budget Bhojpuri film does not go for more than Rs 30 lakh to Rs 35 lakh in a territory. No matter how many stars are there and even if Amitabh Bachchan is there, nobody will pay close to a crore for the distribution rights," said Jawahar Jha, a distributor from Bihar.

"The audience for Bhojpuri films is not such that they can afford to pay so much for one film," he said.

Sawant, however, rubbished such claims. "My film has been sold in all territories and at the rate that I asked for. After all, people know that they will have to pay a premium for a good product," he said in Mumbai on Friday.

"I managed to sell my film in all territories including Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Calcutta and Mumbai. My film not only boasts of Bollywood stars like Amitji and Hemaji but also Bhojpuri superstars Ravi Kishen, Manoj Tiwari and Nagma ," Sawant said.

Govardhandas Mehta of Bobby International, which has bought distribution rights for the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh territory, said he had refused to pay the asking price, as he was not likely to recover his money.

"The audience for Bhojpuri films is very different from the crowd in multiplexes, where Bachchan's films normally sell. They are more concerned with the film's story and how close it is to their heartland. It is the pricing that decides whether it will make or lose money," he said.

Sawant insisted he had got the price he wanted for his film. "I borrowed money from people to make this film, and I have to give it back to them. I don't think I have asked for an unreasonable price."

Another reason for the reluctance among distributors is that in territories like Bihar, the period between October and March is a "lean period" for filmgoers.

"This is the time when winter sets in, people avoid evening and night shows and the films take a hit. Even though the film has been on the market for six to eight months, nobody has bought the rights because if the film does lose money, the losses will be huge," Jha said.

'Ganga' is scheduled for release on October 20.

Amitabh Bachchan
Hema Malini

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