When four filmmakers Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Alankrita Shrivastava and Nitya Mehra came together to make their latest web series, it “liberated” them from the trappings of box office, something which they find inane.
In an interview with PTI, the filmmakers behind Made In Heaven, who, in their personal career, have had their share of hits and misses, believe growing obsession of quoting box office figures is not healthy.
For Reema, who has helmed films like Talaash and Gold, there is no correlation between the films business and the number of people who like it.
“Every Friday there is a chatter on Twitter about the numbers which I find ridiculous. But did you like the film? If you find out the film made money are you going to like it more? Will you stop liking it if the numbers are less? The commerce of a film is important but it’s important only to the trade,” she said.
Reema’s frequent collaborator Zoya, fresh from the success of Gully Boy, said the trade figures of a film should ideally matter to only those involved.
“The commerce of my film is important to my producer, studio, distributor, exhibitors, the actors and me. It’s not anyone else’s business. I saw ‘Roma’ and I don’t care how much money it made. How does it matter to me (as a viewer)?”
The trend to quote box office figures by the audience has only amplified in the last few years because of social media.
“You can’t deny that, because of Twitter and other social media everyone throws up numbers. It has become a great deal because of it,” said Lipstick Under my Burkha director Alankrita.
What social media also does is, pitch one film to another, an instant comparisons of sorts every Friday. Reema said comparisons between arts is fair, but not the commerce.
“You can compare a film to the other film, but why compare the box office of one to another and decide a merit? No one knows the numbers our classic films or foreign films made and that’s how it should be.”
Nitya, who helmed Baar Baar Dekho, recalls there was “never any conversation about numbers growing up” and says it’s a fairly recent trend which has taken over the conversations regarding art.
“You just went to watch a film for experience and decided whether you’ve liked the film or not. I can understand a trade analyst doing it but in the last few years the audience is doing it.
“You can walk into a room with people who’ve nothing to do with a film and they’re quoting numbers. How is that ok?”
Zoya, however, is aware that due to the star system in the industry, each film does different numbers and opens differently.
What boggles the director though, is how the collection of a film has started dictating its viewership.
“There’s a star driven system which determines how a film opens. As a fan, if I want to watch someone’s film, I will. I won’t be like ‘I won’t watch his movies because less people are watching it.’ It just doesn’t make sense but that’s the narrative which also goes around,” Zoya added.