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How has the fallen rupee value affected Bollywood films

With the dramatic fall of the rupee in the past few days,Screen analyses the impact it will have on film industry

Written by Asad Khan | Mumbai |
August 30, 2013 1:06:37 pm

There will be a cut down in the number of films shot abroad,

especially medium/low budget films. We will also see a lot of shoots opting for lesser expensive destinations in South East Asia,Middle East and South Africa

– Aashish Singh,Vice President – Production at YRF

The dramatic fall of the rupee in the past few days has sent shock waves across the country. After touching an all-time low of Rs.65.56 against the dollar,the rupee was at Rs.64.30 against the dollar at the time of going to press. However,despite the finance ministry’s assurances,the volatility of the rupee continues to make headlines. Among the many sectors impacted by this currency slide is the media and entertainment industry. Here is a breakdown of the avenues within show business that will be affected by the fall of the rupee:

Shooting abroad to go down

Bollywood film-makers love shooting at exotic locales across the world,which is why many films that it churns out are either set in,or feature,an international destination somewhere in the plot. A significant part of film-making today,it’ll also be the first to be affected by the decline of the rupee. Explaining the parameters to be affected by this development,Aashish Singh,Vice President – Production at Yash Raj Films says,“It (the rupee fall) will obviously mean additional costs for shooting abroad and more costs for hiring technicians,performers and stuntmen from abroad. Prices of new equipment,stock,etc will go up and a part of this increase,sooner or later,will have to be borne by the production houses.”

Yash Raj Films has in the past produced many films that were shot abroad. These include Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,Salaam Namaste,Bachna Ae Haseeno,Dhoom 2,Ek Tha Tiger,Jab Tak Hai Jaan and most recently,Dhoom 3 which was shot in the US and Switzerland.

While big ticket films might tweak their budgets to accommodate international location shoots,the ones most affected by the rise in cost will be medium and small-budget films. In this case,film-makers and production companies will shift their focus from expensive countries like the United States of America and Europe to other financially-viable regions. Says Singh,“Somewhere down the line,there will definitely be a cut down in the number of films shot abroad,especially the films that are medium/ low budget. We will also see a lot of shoots opting for lesser expensive destinations in South East Asia,Middle East and South Africa.” Singh tells us that the producers who wish to shoot at places like America,Europe and Australia will keep an eye for incentives being offered in the country/state to make a final decision regarding the locations.

However some like Welcome Back,the sequel to 2007 comedy Welcome,will be shot in the Middle East and some parts of the US. Despite the devaluation of the rupee,producer Firoz Nadiadwala said that there will be no cost cutting. “We’ll stick to whatever is required by the script and promise you locations never seen before,” he said at the mahurat of the film.

International revenues to go up

On the bright side,also benefited by the rupee depreciation. Apoorva Mehta,CEO,Dharma Productions explains the benefits arising from the situation,“When you sell your films in Australia,Japan,USA or Europe,your contract is valued in a foreign currency. So in effect,the exchange rate will add extra earnings for export of films. This is the plus side for all films that are releasing over the next few months or going ahead from now.”

In the wake of the decline of the rupee against the dollar,producers also stand to earn extra bucks from foreign territories,including regular markets like United States of America, United Kingdom,Canada and the Middle East.

States Avtar Panesar,Vice President – International Operations at YRF,“Films released during this time will see the benefit of a better exchange rate. Even if the percentage varies,I suspect it will range around 20 per cent or so.”

As the old adage goes,there are two sides to a coin. If the rupee slump makes producers shell out more in some aspects,it also gets the cash registers ringing.

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