Mumbai, March 7 (Calcutta Tube) Small is undoubtedly Big in Bollywood these days and the big production houses are now focusing on cost-effective projects rather than prestigious directorial names.
But the corporate house that has really and truly belled the costly cat is Viacom 18. Their filmmaking affiliate Studio 18 rejoicing in the budget-friendly success of Aanand Rai’s ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ decided to let the axe fall on their biggest project ‘Bbuddah – Hoga terra baap!’, bringing together Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan with Jagannath Puri, one of the hottest directors of Telugu cinema.
Viacom/Studio 18 has cancelled a huge event that was planned last month to introduce the entire cast and director of ‘Bbuddah’ to the media in Mumbai.
Puri is reluctant to open up on the issue of the annulled event for ‘Bbuddah’. ‘Yes, Viacom had planned a big event, but it has been called off. You’ll have to ask them why.’
A source said: ‘It was planned by Viacom as the mother of all mahurats. Mr. Bachchan was going to appear in his cool-dude tinted hair and dyed-bearded avatar with his leading ladies. Puri Jagannath was going to be introduced as Telugu cinema’s hotshot moviemaker. All plans for this mega event were suddenly aborted,’ said a source.
‘After the release and success of ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ Viacom/Studio 18 has realised that it isn’t the hype or the budget that sell a film to the audience. They immediately instructed Puri Jagannath to follow cost-cutting measures in ‘Bbuddah’,’ added the source.
Vikram Malhotra, COO of Studio 18, admits that the event has been called off. ‘But for no particular reason. The dates didn’t match as Puri Jagannath was overseas and Mr. Bachchan was starting his current film.’
‘I am a firm believer of the fact that right budgets and good content projected big in marketing, is the way to work. Our line up of movies at Studio 18 will reflect that.’
It remains to be seen whether the aborted jamboree for ‘Bbuddah’ will herald a new era of sober filmmaking in Bollywood. At the moment this cutting down of costs does reflect a new awareness of the changed fortunes in filmdom.