Actor Suniel Shetty — 28 years after making his debut — still remains relevant today. As an integral part of the Hindi film industry, he has seen everything from close quarters and how the times have changed. The biggest one according to him, that it’s more professional than personal now.
“It was all about relationships before, it’s cold business and pure success that matters today. We blame groups in Bollywood, right? But according to me, they take calls ‘iski picture khareedunga’, it begins there. It is all about collection, maths, and that’s why it’s ruthless, it’ wasn’t so ruthless before. Individuals were running it, it was an owner driven business,” says Shetty.
Elaborating on how it’s become a company driven one now, where your position is dependent on whether films deliver numbers or not. The actor refers to how particular individuals are being targeted for not allowing outsiders to flourish.
“If you can’t deliver for me, investor says you are out, then CEOs, they are only interested in numbers. This game has gone all the way below. If you have to blame anybody, blame this system of money, and into X valuations. Everything is determined by investors sitting all over the world, why are we blaming individuals today? It’s so sad,” he explains.
The 59-year-old feels that the Covid 19 pandemic has shaken all of that, and the way business will happen. “Earlier, for example it would be my father and accountant, today there’s a CEO, CFO, my God, how many different people handling the same thing! So it’s investment vs return, not just entertainment. Achhi film banao aur chalne do, nahi, maths nahi kehta toh yeh nahi chalega, film mat banao. If the subject is good, we won’t get our money back… kya kar rahe ho aap? You are curbing creativity. We have become too materialistic,” confesses the actor.
Recounting how it used to be in his times, he cites his own example. Shetty reveals that while he didn’t know how to dance properly, yet the makers of his film Krishna (1996) spent a whopping sum of money on one song.
“The song was Jhanjhariya. Suniel Shetty has two left feet, yet it was the biggest song in the history of Bollywood then. The cost of the film was spent on my song, because producers didn’t see the maths, they said ‘saala chalake paisa banayenge’. Abhi, paper pe paise bante hain. They want to play safe. ‘I will take this person in 2 rupees, then make it in 5, and then sell it in six’. Then, producers made the film from their hearts, that’s why films ran for years. Maths can never dictate art or creativity. It’s cold, that’s what has happened,” he concludes.
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