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Fans fight over 'Tiger 3'! (IANS Column: B-Town)

IANS | September 24, 2023 01:19 PM

MUMBAI: Looks like there are attempts by vested interests to bring the fans wars over stars on to the streets.

One knows the kind of groups that get into prolonged arguments on X for the star they favour, or are appointed by, or paid occasionally. They also abuse and run down other stars. All they need to do is toe the line their star master has assigned to them.

Okay, so you have been given a task to propagate a star and be more vehement when his film is due, and you are doing your job. Because you believe in your star, or are a part of his promotion team, or just because you have been paid for the job. Just like some so-called critics and influencers are.

But why extend your brief and get into a war of words, mostly foul words, with the lot doing the same thing? You are doing it for one star and they are doing it for another star.

It has come to a phase when no social media user is convinced by these exchanges or war of words, nor do they believe what certain critics and influencers have to say about a film. Also, throwing box office figures at the netizens on social media has become the norm. Not that they care. People either like a film or don’t like it.

As if the fan exchanges on social media were not bad enough, last week someone on X tried to take the social media action out on the streets.

This X ID wanted to go to Mumbai's Galaxy Gaiety cinema complex in Bandra and tear up the posters of Yash Raj Films' forthcoming 'Tiger3'! Why? The film also features Shah Rukh Khan in a special role.

His contention was that the poster should feature Shah Rukh Khan and not Salman Khan. His stand was that Salman Khan's films were failing in the recent past and Shah Rukh had given two mega hits, 'Pathaan' and 'Jawan', and if 'Tiger 3' succeeded, it will be only because of Shah Rukh Khan.

He announced that he was going to the cinema complex to tear up the posters and invited others to join him, and he challenged those who wanted to stop him.

Galaxy Gaiety complex has its loyal audience who flock to the cinemas every Friday, whichever the film. And, though Salman, Shah Rukh and and Sanjay Dutt are all the local residents of Bandra, traditionally, the audience at this complex consists mostly of Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt fans. All the whistles and catcalls are reserved for their films.

Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan were fine with each other and worked in Rakesh Roshan's 'Karan Arjun' together, a hit film by all counts. Both had a common problem with Roshan, though, and jointly decided to never work with him again.

Their resolve did not last long since Shah Rukh Khan went ahead and worked for Roshan again in 'Koyla'! This is said to have soured his relationship with Salman.

Tables turn overnight when it comes to stardom.

There were attempts at a rapprochement when Salman started giving hits in a row and Shah Rukh could not. When, finally, it is happening with 'Tiger 3', why create bad air? Tiger is a Salman Khan franchise, though the studio may brand it as being part of a Spy Universe, along with 'Pathaan' and 'Jawan'.

Yash Raj Films is in the business of making films and if they started the campaign with a Salman Khan poster, it probably made more business sense to them.

So, what was this lad getting out of inciting violent reactions through X? Who would be foolish enough to get into a street fight either because you are a star's diehard fan, or were paid to further his cause!

It is called being more loyal than the king in English, but the Hindi phrase would suit him better: Kutta maalik se jyada wafadar (the dog is more loyal than his master)!

Tamil Body Issues Red Card to Four Stars

The South Indian film trade bodies and the state authorities have a big hand in regulating the local film industry. They do not run shy even if disciplinary action needs to be taken against the stars if their stardom goes to their heads.

Filmmaking is a high-stake enterprise today. Innovations such as digital cameras may have made the execution easier and are providing wings to a maker’s imagination, but they also greatly add to the cost of production.

In the South, it matters that all wings of the trade, notably the producer, distributor and exhibitor, survives.

The stars are the one breed that makes money without any financial risk and stand to make money even if others lose. So, the stars have to be answerable and the trade body makes sure they fall in line.

Remember the 2014 film 'Lingaa'? It was a Rajanikanth film and carried a heavy price tag. The trade considers a Rajanikanth film as a sure-shot guarantee to hit bull's eye.

But 'Lingaa' failed and caused huge losses to its distributors. Like all Rajanikanth films, this film was also hyped big-time resulting in the distributors paying more for their respective regions.

The distributors suffered huge losses and demanded a refund. They threatened to go on strike in front of Rajanikanth's house.

It was then that the Tamil Film Producers' Council (TFPC) stepped in. One must say that the Council handled the situation tactfully.

The distributors and exhibitors claimed a loss of Rs 33 crore. RajInikanth and the film's producer together agreed to pay 30 per cent of the claimed loss, finally settling for a Rs 12.5 crore reimbursement.

Is it possible in the Hindi film industry? Forget a producer, no association has had the courage to take an actor to task. The best I have seen an association do is to call a star's manager and rebuke him. Period. Yes, but there was an exception.

There used to be a time when Hindi stars signed any number of films, say 20/25! They handed out shooting dates by the hour (they were still called dates) and moved from one shoot to another, shooting for three to four films a day! In fact, stars demanded that the producers choose the same studio so that they could hop from one set to another and not waste time commuting!

The stars took film producers for granted. It was usual for them to turn up at 2 p.m. for a 9 a.m. shift.

So what did the producer’s body do? They passed a resolution that no star will sign more than five films at a time. Now, why would the stars want to listen to a producers' body?

The irony was that the producers did not follow their own association's rule and lined up to sign the stars! Nothing changed.

This time, the TFPC has asserted its might again. After all, it is the body's responsibility to safeguard ther interests and invesments of its producer members.

The TFPC has issued what they call Red Cards in the South to actors Dhanush, Simbu, Vishal and Atharva. These actors will have to solve the issues raised by certain producers against them before they are able to commit to any new project.

Simbu has been accused of granting 60 days to a film, but reporting for only 27. Dhanush has failed to complete his under-production film while actor-producer Vishal stands accused of mismanagement of TFPC's funds when he was the president of the body!

If one knows about South unity, the TFPC will get its way. Actors come and go, TFPC is an institution. The TFPC has seen many of the come-and-go kinds since its inception in 1979.

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