Grand launch party of Big B starrer Bbuddah - Hoga Terra Baap cancelled for cost-cutting
Small is undoubtedly big in Bollywood these days. UTV and Reliance, two of the biggest corporate houses operating in Bollywood, reeling under the failure of their big-budgeted juggernauts in 2010-11 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 L.Rai's Tanu Weds Manu this week has decided to let the axe fall on their biggest project Bbuddah - Hoga Terra Baap, bringing together 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.
Says a source, "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 filmmaker. All plans for this mega-event were suddenly aborted. After the release and success of Tanu Weds Manu, Viacom/Studio 18 has realized that it isn't the hype or the budget that sells a film to the audience. They immediately instructed Puri Jagannath to follow cost-cutting measures in Bbuddah."
Puri who starts shooting in Mumbai this week 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."
Vikram Malhotra, the COO of Studio 18, admits the Bbuddah 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."
Malhotra goes on to add, "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 unostentatious filmmaking in Bollywood. At the moment this cutting down of costs does reflect a new awareness of the changed fortunes in filmdom.
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