“It is still the tip of the iceberg. Let’s make a little calculation. It is a country of a billion plus… The average ticket in India is about Rs 100. One crore people watch a film, it is a failure… At least five to six crore will have to watch the film to make it a success and more to make it a superhit,” he said during a session at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
“Calculate five or 10 per cent of a billion at the price of Rs 100… Why should we be celebrating Rs 100 crore or Rs 300 crore… It can happen when someone said that we are getting more and more from abroad… If we get transparency, we will get to the Rs 1000 crore mark… but we have to get our house in order,” he said.
He was responding to a question on how things are changing for filmmakers after huge sums of money have started pouring in from overseas to the filmmakers.
The actor also showered praise on legendary stars Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan when asked why movies like “Sholay” and “Mother India” are not being made now.
“Are there many Dilip Kumars, Amitabh Bachchans…,” he asked.
To a question on shooting locations, “‘Vishwaroopam’ which talks about Afghanistan was shot in India like many other films. There are certain requirements for every film. I wanted to make a film in Afghanistan but it is very difficult to shoot there… I didn’t want to go there and we shot all the ambient scenes in Jordan and rest was shot in Chennai,” he said.
He maintained that a serious thought be given to make the national entertainment language as English.
“English is a strength that we have which China does not. They are having teachers flown in from London… We have that strength and that’s why we should be making English films. When we say English, we do not mean totally English… the ambience could be Tamil, Malayalam but the content will reach the audience,” he said.
Haasan was literally mobbed by fans at the event and had to break into a little jog to escape from them.
Commenting on vulgarity and item numbers in films, he said that the industry is driven by distributors.
“Like news is driven by advertisements, we are driven by our distributors who are archaic in their pattern. They do not want to change the pattern. We are both victims and perpetrators of that vulgarity,” he said.
Talking about making films in English, director Ramesh Sippy, who was also part of the session, said Indian filmmakers have the talent, technology and expertise to do so.
“Why not do it in English? We have the talent, technology, expertise, entrepreneurship… We need to set our house in order and get our government to take the initiative and not look down at the industry and look across like they do with the corporates,” he said.
On items songs, he said, “These are attractions within a film… It’s like somebody wants his product shown in that film and he pays money, so we accept that. We show that product for money… Lot of our films are pirated, lot of business is lost. We need to get the business right. The songs you talk about they are put because a very large audience connects with that,” he said.