The biggest competition to the Indian film industry at the moment, according to megastar Amitabh Bachchan, are Hollywood’s big-ticket outings.
The market for Hollywood biggies has existed in India for over a decade now, but it’s only now that the audience is choosing them over Indian content. This explains the huge success of The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Thor, Guardians of Galaxy Vol 2 and others in the last couple of years.
Amitabh Bachchan, who has seen Hindi cinema go through various transformations in his career spanning more than four decades, believes the local industry will have to envision its stories in a manner as huge as its Hollywood counterpart does or else it will not take much time for it to get destroyed.
At a special event for the promotion of his upcoming film 102 Not Out, the 76-year-old actor was asked his opinion on why a lot of Hindi films have been failing at the box-office over the last few years. Big B gave a detailed response, in which he talked about the threat that looms large on the Indian film industry courtesy Hollywood.
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“Speed of communication and the alternatives that people have for entertainment has become so good. Earlier, it was only cinema. Today you have TV, computer, mobile and with communication coming in so rapid, you are exposed to stuff that’s coming from every corner of the world. So, they are used to seeing something and in some cases in perhaps greater quality than ours and they want the same from us. So, we have to keep re-inventing,” he said.
Mentioning his recent conversation with director Ali Abbas Zafar, with whom he is shooting for a documentary, Amitabh Bachchan said the director told him that it was getting difficult to make films nowadays because everything needs to be “big” to appeal to masses.
“He is making Bharat with Salman. He told me, ‘Sir, it has become very difficult to make films because you have to make everything big.’ And then he spoke about Hollywood films. Like, someone was telling me that Avengers is going to take a massive opening in India. For a Hollywood film to do that and then for us to compete with it is a big challenge for the Indian film industry.”
The veteran actor pointed out that Hollywood has killed industries of all the countries that it has entered and with its growing market in India, it’s capable of replicating that invasion here as well.
“This I was told in 1993, when I was on a causal visit to New York and I met some studios who were wanting to meet me and they told me, ‘You better get your house in order because India is the new frontier and Americans are coming.’ And everywhere Hollywood has gone, it has destroyed the local industry whether it’s England, Italy or Germany, they just come and take over. They have the money and the expertise. They have the quality and quantity. We are fighting against them,” said Amitabh Bachchan.
He was, however, quick to add that young, contemporary filmmakers have the vision to re-invent the Hindi film industry. Bachchan said that it amazes him that they are fearlessly thinking about investing in big projects.
“I still believe that emotionally we are stronger but we will not able to match them in technology. But I have to say that the younger generation of our film industry are absolutely aware of what’s happening in the rest of the world. And they are spending a lot of money and energy to make their films equally big.”
“So, whenever their films come out, please don’t patronise them because we are fighting against an ogre of Hollywood from overtaking us and destroying our industry. I spent some time with these young filmmakers and they think so big and massive. They don’t have any doubts about how to do things. They tell me, ‘We will do this and that,’ and I ask them, ‘But how will you manage?’. They assure me they know how to do it,” concluded Amitabh.