India’s most iconic Film Production House the RK Films drew its curtain by selling the RK Studios to Godrej Properties. Ranbir Kapoor the youngest member of RK clan does not seem to continue filmmaking. Likewise, the plight of many top Film Production companies like V Shantaram‘s Rajkamal Studios, Wadia Brothers Basant Studios, AR Kardar‘s Kardar Studios and Kamal Amrohi‘s Kamalistan Studios are all in shambles. Besides, even the plight of eminent film producers like Gemini Pictures, AVM Films, or top film producers that made timeless classics like Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy, S Mukerjee, B.R. Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Rajkumar Santoshi, Sooraj R. Barjatya, etc have taken a backseat and in place, the top actors have taken the reins of film production.
A look around in Bollywood or in regional cinema depicts that top salable actors who once commanded a fee of Rs 20 to 25 crore per pictures have started a new trend of becoming a co-producer and instead of charging a hefty fee they are now becoming partners in profit of the film. From Aamir Khan to Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, etc; everybody is in mad race of turning producers.
The trend is visible even in regional cinema. In the South film industry top actors Kamal Haasan, Dhanush, Mahesh Babu, Nagarjuna, Mohanlal, Mammootty, Sudeep, etc are working as co-producers. Even in Bhojpuri films, top actors Manoj Tiwari or Pawan Singh, and others have turned producers.
The reason why the trend is becoming a success is that it is a win-win situation for both the film studio (investing money) as well as the actors. The understanding between the actor and studio is generally 50% share of the profit. With films, these days making minimum Rs 100 crore hence automatically the share of the actors is greater than Rs 20 or 25 crore!! Secondly, if the film fails at the box-office, the studio doesn’t have to pay a hefty acting fee to the actors. As for the actors, a loss of 1 or 2 does not matter as they cover the loss by minting money from their other successful films!!
Vikram Malhotra, CEO of Viacom18 Motion Pictures, explains the sharing modus operandi between the actor and the studio. He says, “In film production, the biggest chunk of money is taken away by the film actor. He takes almost 35 percent of the total film cost. Hence with actors becoming a co-producer, the studio’s major burden of the financial component is reduced. If the film is a success then both the actor and the studio are happy.”
He informs, “Nevertheless, in case, a film is a flop, the studio recovers his loss from the various Satellite rights, TV rights, and Music rights. Also, these days there is a wide range of tie-up with multiple brands. These brands pay a whopping amount to film producers. Thus the studio manages to pull through a flop film.” He added, “the survival is possible only because the actor’ is a co-producer hence the studio is saved from paying the huge fee of the actor.”
Read – The Era when Producers ruled Cinema –Part -2