Malayalam filmmakers’ group not to cast superstars to cut costs

September 8th, 2008 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 8 (IANS) Fifteen Malayalam film producers, who have grouped together for reducing the cost of filmmaking and promoting new directors, have decided not to cast any superstars in their movies.Veteran producer Suresh Kumar Monday said the United Producers Forum was formed this month since no producer is in a position to alone absorb the losses when a film flops.

“All but three of the 38 films released this year till August have flopped and the total loss to the producers is in excess of Rs.1 billion. We just cannot go like this so we decided to join hands,” Suresh Kumar, who has produced more than 30 films in a career spanning two decades, told IANS.

“To start with, we will do five films and the cost of each film will be around Rs.10 million. We will have new directors but will not do any films with superstars,” he added.

Filmmakers say the huge remuneration charged by superstars is the main reason why the cost of a film shoots up.

However, the three films that made some money for the producers this year all had superstars. The movies were “Annan Thampi” starring Mammootty, “Madambhi” starring Mohanlal and “Veruthae Oru Bhariya” starring Jayaram.

“Close to 70 percent of the total film cost goes by way of remuneration to actors and technicians,” said B. Unnikrishnan, who wrote the script of “Madambhi”.

Veteran scriptwriter S.N. Swamy said several factors are responsible for the success of a film and a film with no superstars will have to bank heavily on marketing.

Sources said big stars like Mammootty and Mohanlal charge around Rs.6 million.

“My blockbuster film ‘Poochaku oru Mukuthi’ directed by Priyadarshan in the early 80s cost less than Rs.800,000 to make. Now if I do such a film it will cost Rs.30 million while the market for Malayalam films hasn’t grown,” said Suresh Kumar.

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