Hmmm…So Six months. One

Hmmm…So Six months. One hundred and seventeen releases. Eight hits. One hundred and nine flops. According to the trade magazine Film Information, the industry has lost about Rs 110 crores (approximately US $23 million) in 109 of the 117 films released in 2003.

Bollywood has been going bonkers since last 2 years and this is the pinnacle to that. Last year was worse with a total loss of 240 crores. This year it is status quo. Until someone can stop releasing bollywood flicks, think for a minute, re-organize, re-vitalize and re-view the bollywood films before they are released, only god can save them.

Read more from rediff here. Need I say more. They say I am more biased on Kollywood. Am I?

Virumandi's shooting has begun.

Sandiyar
Virumandi‘s shooting has begun. My assumption is that Kamal’s Sandiyar would be renamed as Virumandi – the protagonist’s name. He has reportedly started shooting yesterday in an undisclosed place. However the title is to be yet to be confirmed by him. After his recent encounters with the Tamilnadu politicians, Kamalhassan is pretty cautious about his moves and he is aware that he is closely watched.

The media is reporting that Mani Ratnam’s latest bi-lingual(!) flick is being shot in Chennai’s Boat Club Road. A Kolkatta look-alike set has been erected for the same as thwe story is said to happen in Kolkatta. The film stars Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, Abhishek Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee and Simran. The film is being shot in sync-sound (direct recording of voices and no dubbing). The first Indian film in this category was Kamalhassan’s Hey Ram. Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai also sync-sound technology. It is being said that after the film is shot, Mani will start shooting the same film in Tamil.

However, these are just rumors as there is no confirmed news from Mani’s side. I am very skeptical about this news. I firmly believe Mani Ratnam is the last person who wants to redo the same film again. All his films have been taken once and have been dubbed into other languages. From Kavithanjali (dubbed as Idhayathai Thirudathey) to Dilse (dubbed as Uyire) have been made once. He once remarked in an interview that the most boring thing is to redo the same film. Even Saathiya, which was a re-make from Alai Payuthey, was directed by Shaad Ali, his assistant.

The Reliance 501 scheme has

The Reliance 501 scheme has shook the cellular world. In the last 2 days reliance has added more than 2 lakh subcribers becoming the 4 biggest cellular operator in India. When I went to a Reliance R-World showroom, the customer service guy was so busy in attending more 25 customers at a time and it finally looked like a goverment office.

Read that in some places of Bangalore, these guys resorted to the help from police to stop the mob from a law and order violation. I am not sure what is the revenue model behind this scheme 501 because the required documentation is pretty less and there are chances of fraud and defaulted payments. Whatever might it could be but Reliance came into being as a check to the GSM operators. Now it is in action. The best thing that happened because of Reliance is that the mobile phone prices have touched rock-bottom. Nokia 2100 which was selling at 6,800 bucks a month back is just 3,500 in grey market as of today.

Good going. The game has just begun. Watch the fun, unfold.

Also note that from next month pay only Rs. 72/- for your cable operator till further notice from the goverment. In a cold war between the cable operators and the private networks, the CAS issue is put on hold and the govt announced that till further decision on CAS, the cable operators should charge only 72 bucks inclusive of the pay channels. One more monsoon hungama. But be prepared, because of this decision, your cable operator might cut all the pay channels. Get used to private FM radio. Better friend at such times.

Bite The Mango film festival,

Bite The Mango film festival, which concuded on 26th of last month in UK, had more than enough share of Bollywood films. Along with films like Bruce Almighty and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, it spotlighted A R Rahman. A small documentary called The Making of Bombay Dreams also featuerd along with Mani Ratnam‘s Saathiya.

Indian cinema reaching reaching international screens is the best thing ever happened to the Indian Film industry. Moreover, a dozen hindhi films including Shantaram’s 1955 classic Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and Shekar/Anil Kapoor’s hit flick Mr.India got nominated for the screenings. 1942 – A Love Story was one of the highest rated films in this festival.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux (*ing Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Matrix fame Laurence Fishburne) was also spotlighted. Undoubtedly it is one of the extraordinary films carrying the genius of Coppola. A must see.

Cellular Hangama ;-) All the

Cellular Hangama 😉

All the 3 GSM cellular providers (you know whom) in Chennai (excluding the govt controlled BSNL) have this funda of hidden costs to their tariff bill. With TRAI coming to rescue (!) of the mobile users in India, these guys have decided to stay put and confine to their mantra of High-Price-at-Low-Cost-and-Fool-the-Customer.

The last 3 months has had too much color and drama in the telecom circles and we are now seeing shades of dirty gray in them, now. When TRAI took over research over the hyped cellular prices and tried to regulate them, it resulted in reduction of high incoming rates to free incoming calls. From then on, these cellular companies started getting less revenue than they used to get. This resulted in them changing their tariffs every now and then. At one point, the market was a perfect competition, meaning, all the 3 companies with same Postpaid and Pre-paid tariff. The customer was then left to select whichever provider he wished too. All 3 were giving away free incoming calls but the outgoing call’s tariff changed totally. Till then cell-to-cell outgoing calls within the same provider was costing less than a rupee. I had a postpaid connection and I was charge 50 paise a minute for cell-to-cell within the same provider. But after incoming became free, all outgoing calls were made Re. 1.50.

Oh !! Here is the funda I thought. You guys advertise in bold colors as free incoming but charge 1 rupee more per call. Now that equals your revenue, which is lost in incoming-call-free scheme. Atleast during those days, myself and the receiver were sharing the costs. Now it is on the only one head. The best part in this whole hungama of TRAI price limitations, these guys are getting more profited. But we customers (read as poor foolish customers), think that the rates have really come down and use the mobile more. Result, Mobile phone bills for thousands of bucks. Moreover, many new PFCs (Poor Foolish Customers) are jumping into this cellular bandwagon. So even as many more people joining the cellular club, these companies are not ready to reduce their profit margins. And by lobbying with other competitors they can keep their prices fixed to bring the customer to a fix. So what is the use of talking perfect competition market, TRAI, Globalization, Mobile Phone era etc.

Meanwhile, while these private cellular guys are tampering the market, BSNL increased its price list by 50%. It was under the assumption that since more people would move to mobile phones, their revenue would be reduced. As a double whopper effect, finally it is the goody-goody customer who got crushed between the much-hyped TRAI intervention. A similar issue is happening in the Cable TV CAS issue. The dispute between Cable TV Operators and Private Channels has enlarged so much and it is now on the customer’s head. I know the final outcome. It will be nothing but DUMP the price on the customer for he has no other option of leading a life without TV. Even the gods cannot save us now. Already they are being played football in Ayodhya. Who else can?

Jayalalitha's regime has been bold

Jayalalitha’s regime has been bold enough to oppose the strikes by the goverment workers belonging to various departments. But her goverment is now criticized for taking a tough stand over the tamil cinema industry. Raising the rent for outdoor shooting in tamil nadu it has made the tamil cine indutry go bonkers.

Afterall, the current position of the tamil cine industry is in doldrums with producers waging a virtual war on high-priced heroes and skyrocketing production costs, this has become a yet another stumbling block. The goverment does has its rationale for the hike in rent and it is valid. But who else except the goverment can help this.

Save this sinking ship.