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India needs 500% growth rate to take on Hollywood

Bollywood contributes 43% of the revenue to Indian film industry followed by Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam movies

Sohan Roy, CEO, founder of Aries Group, founder-director, Indywood
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Sohan Roy, CEO, founder of Aries Group, founder-director, Indywood

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Armed with a report prepared by KPMG, Sharjah-headquartered Aries Group promoted by Kerala-born NRI businessman Sohan Roy, is gearing up to turn films into the biggest and the most effective brand building tool in the years to come. The Indian film industry, according to an earlier report prepared by Deloitte-Indywood, is expected to grow at 11 per cent CAGR reaching $3.7 billion by 2020-21. A naval architect by training, a top businessman by profession and a film maker by passion, Roy rose to international fame by making the Oscar-nominated, 3D emotional thriller- Dam999, whose screenplay was added to the permanent core collection in Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2011. Speaking with Bizz Buzz in an exclusive interview, Sohan Roy, CEO and founder of Aries Group, founder-director, Indywood, explains how his company is working with a number of technology companies of the world to ensure larger adoption of technology into Indian films

As part of promoting Indian film globally, we had organised the World's largest Film Festival, Film Market & International award functions in India. The third edition of this grand fiesta was celebrated at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, during December 1-4, 2017

We would be promoting more collaborative initiates between Indian and International filmmakers. Our first co-production Indo-Hollywood venture Burning Wells is the very example of this collaboration initiative. This prestigious $25 million project was launched during Indywood Film Carnival a couple of years back


Any idea, what would be the overall market size of Indian films- within the country and globally?

Indian film industry is the largest in the world in terms of number of films it produces and theatrical admissions. On an average, around 1,500-2,000 films are made per year in India in 20 different languages. In terms of revenue, the industry has a gross realisation of $2.1 billion, which is expected to grow at 11 per cent CAGR reaching $3.7 billion by 2020-21 under prevailing scenario. The domestic box office contributes majority of the revenue, representing 74 per cent of the total industry. While, Indian film industry is dominated by Bollywood, which contributes 43 per cent of the revenue, regional films contribute the rest. Within the regional film industry, Tamil and Telugu are the largest segments comprising approximately 36 per cent of net box office revenues followed by Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam films.

Indian Cinema in particularly Bollywood movies are viewed all over the Indian Subcontinent, and is increasingly popular in the UK, United States, Australia, New Zealand. Out of this, it collects only 15 per cent of overseas revenue.

How many international films are made in India in a year on an average? Is the number increasing?

International films are a growing segment in the Indian film industry and have a box office share of approximately seven per cent today. With the introduction of new reforms made by the government to attract filmmakers across the world to our country, several international film studios such as Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, and Dreamworks have not only set up distribution houses in India, but have also entered partnerships with local film production houses through acquisitions and co-production agreements. According to statistics, approx. 30 movies are shot in India and the trend seems to have gained momentum year after year

Where does India stand vis-a-vis other major film making nations in terms of number of films made in a year?

Without a doubt, Indian Film Industry is the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced. On an average India produces over 1,500 to 2,000 films are produced every year in more than 20 languages. According to statistics India produced around 1966 films in 2014 alone whereas the US managed a mere 707 films and Chinese managed 618 in the same year. The US is the third largest film market in the world in terms of tickets sold per year, only behind China and India. Just under 1.2 billion movie tickets were sold in the US in 2016.

Where does India stand vis-a-vis other major film making nations in terms of infrastructure for film making and film watching experience?

With just one screen per 96,300 residents, India is world's most under-screened nation. The US, by contrast, has one screen per 7,800 residents. China, which until recently was even less saturated than India, has been on a cinema building binge and now has one screen per 45,000 residents. Also, more than 8,000 of the country's 12,000 screens are single-screen cinemas which are extremely inferior to modern multiplex cinemas, which can charge ticket prices that are double those of single-screen theatres. Several single screens in India are severely dilapidated and in desperate need of maintenance. However, owing to low revenues and occupancy, investments on renovation are not feasible. This has been witnessed in the Bengali film industry which is suffering from lack of profitable and sustainable exhibition infrastructure resulting in shut down of several theatres.

What are your (Indywood's) plans to promote Indian films globally?

As part of promoting Indian film globally, we had organised the world's largest Film Festival, Film Market & International award functions in India. The third edition of this grand fiesta was celebrated at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, from December 1 to 4, 2017. Besides the above, we also plan to form India-based World Film Society which shall operate as the integration hub of the world film industry and its associations

What are your plans to build and help build infrastructure for film making in India?

India needs 500 per cent growth of additional $10 billion /year to overtake Hollywood. Designed in line with our Prime Minister's Make in India policy, Indywood Consortium plans to utilise its revenue as per the following equivalents: $5 billion to be spent on theatres, $2 billion on studios, $1billion on movie production, $1 billion on equipment manufacturing and $1 billion on talent schools/ Agency. As part of technological upgradation, we have planned standardization of 8K & 4K ATMOS, Multi-Level total security system in all studios for content protection, centralised projection system with audio, lights and A/C controls, unmanned theatre management system, establishment of IMAX/equivalent theatre/home, Introduction of glass free 3D technology, effective content format up gradation and restoration.

Besides, we also plan to establish 2,000 Multiplex(100,000screens) with ATMOS 4K Projection Facility, Upgrade all existing old generation film/media schools, theatres, studios and equipment, 100000 4K/2K home cinemas with releasing facility, centralised dubbing centre, 100 Animation/VFX studios with 8K/4K processing facility, Screening rooms and Total security system, Annual ticketing system development, Effective content format upgradation and restoration centre, exclusive centre for centralised content distribution/projection, establishment of Global Releasing Network of 10,000 theatre screens and 100,000 home cinemas and structuring of the Industry to have fund raising companies onboard.

Would you also be promoting more collaborative initiatives between Indian and international film makers?

Yes, we would be promoting more collaborative initiates between Indian and International filmmakers. Infact, our first co-production Indo-Hollywood venture Burning Wells is the very example of this collaboration initiative. This prestigious $25 million project was launched during Indywood Film Carnival a couple of years back. Likewise, we would like to encourage more filmmakers to join us and make Indian film Industry No: one in the world.

Would you be doing anything to increase the number of viewers, by way of improving theatre/movie hall infrastructure?

Over the years, multiplex theatres like PVR, Inox have grown at a very fast pace. In a country like India where we all are film fanatics raising ticket prices and high food amenities doesn't matter if we receive a pleasant cinematic ambience and best picture quality in the theatre.

In this age of digital revolution, where movies are shot in 8K, they are then scaled down to 4K and then to 2K due to non-availability of 4K projection drastically affecting the quality of visuals. Thus, to provide a promising never-before cinematic experience to cinegoers, we transformed a 35-year-old SL Cinemas to a state-of-the-art multiplex. The theatre complex, now named as AriesPlex, has set a new gold standard of movie going offering new silver screens, 2K/4K projection, 4 channel Dolby Atmos sound system, 5.1 DTS sound systems and high-end seating.

How much would you be investing in doing all these?

The project cost is $10 billion, to be invested over five years. The fund flow is through a consortium of 2,000 corporate firms and non-resident Indians using their branding budget. Among the 100 set goals of Project Indywood the most important physical targets are 10,000 new 4k projection multiplex screens, 100,000 home cinemas with 2k projection, film/animation/VFX studios and international film schools in India conforming to International standards.

Ritwik Mukherjee
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