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R Balki: If you’re making 100 films and 90 of them don’t work, then there’s something wrong | Hindi Movie News


Known for films such as Cheeni Kum, Ki And Ka and Pad Man, R Balki gave a masterclass on the topic ‘Negotiating Aesthetics and Economics’ at IFFI 2022.

‘A lot of people didn’t know my film Chup existed’

Balki said that a lot of films that fail at the box office or do not do well is because people don’t know about those films. He said, “We, in the creative world, tend to live in a bubble. A lot of people didn’t know a film like Chup even existed, and I thought it had free shows and it was great. A lot of my friends whom I met after years asked me, ‘So, what are you doing next?’, and I said I just did Chup, and they asked, ‘What is that?’ I was shocked and stunned. It didn’t reach people. Whether you like or not is different, you don’t even know about it then it is a problem.”

While word of mouth publicity gets a lot of credit for several films, Balki said he hates this cliche. “Word of mouth is mythical. I wonder how it happens? People watch the film and go and tell everyone to watch it? No. It has to be worked out in a manner so that there is already excitement around the project and all they need is a little nudge to go and watch the film. I feel a lot of creativity suffers because of a lack of science. I feel there has to be a scientific process behind word of mouth to be generated,” he added.

‘I don’t think we have found the science to market our films’

Balki said that Bollywood doesn’t have a marketing mechanism. Not mincing his words, he expressed, “The marketing strategy is somebody is creating controversy, somebody is sleeping with someone, create some boycott, some ban. I don’t think we have found the science to

market our films and a lot of creative people suffer because of it. Enough investment has not gone into developing how to market films and it is really very sad. So many people are pumping in huge bucks and yet the returns are so less.”

“If you are making 100 films and 90 of them do not make money, then there is definitely something wrong with the industry. There are pundits in this industry – producer pundit, director pundit, writer pundit, trade pundit and media pundits, and they all fall flat. They fall

flat and they move on with the next theory without learning a thing. There are fantastic marketing people in cinema, but somehow when they get into this zone then their entire reading of data starts sounding outdated,” he added.

Balki further said that there is no formula for how films work. “It depends upon who does what. You can’t say the audience wants it. No, the audience wants damn good work. Who doesn’t want to see a good film, song or stars saying their best lines? But we all fall flat in understanding the theory without understanding the execution,” he added.


Balki said that the stars are making one fundamental mistake that they are getting caught up in the producers’ money making machine. He said, “(They think) If I want to charge this amount then I have to do this kind of work and only then will I be able to recover the money. I just believe a lot of smaller ideas could have become bigger if bigger stars would have invested in them. Some stars have experimented and have fallen flat and have chosen to not experiment again while some stars have gone for tried and tested formulas.”

Giving an example, he said that Kamal Haasan was a star who experimented in the 80s with films like Sadma. Talking about Shah Rukh Khan, he said, “Shah Rukh has done Dear Zindagi. He also experimented with Swades and Paheli and if those films would have worked then Indian cinema would have taken a different turn. He is one of the most intelligent people in Indian cinema that you have.”

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