70 Bengali movies are released every year and are produced with a budget of Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 15 million per movie in 2008. India's big house Reliance Big Entertainment and Home Entertainment announced the most expensive Bengali movie will be made with a budget of Rs 30 million, while other regional movies like the ones in Tamil and Telugu will have a budget of Rs 400 million as on 2008. For reference: a crore rupee = 10 million rupees (roughly 160,000 euros), and a lakh = 100,000 rupees.
Many of the most critically acclaimed Bengali films were low-budget films, including Satyajit Ray's famous The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959). The first film in the trilogy, Pather Panchali (1955), was produced on a shoestring budget of Rs. 150,000 ($32000) using an amateur cast and crew. All his other films that followed also had low budgets, with his most expensive films being The Adventures Of Goopy And Bagha (1968) at Rs. 600,000 ($80,000) and Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) at Rs. 2 million ($230,000).
The Bengali film industry, which had been a beacon for the country's film industry until the 1980s, is in a turnaround mode. At a time when Bollywood continues its roller-coaster ride, there are cheers in the Bengali film industry with several commercial successes. The dark period of the 1990s when Bengali tinsel town was on a steep decline seems like a nightmare that's best forgotten. And, with the money pouring in, producers from other States are now knocking on the doors of Bengali directors. Industry sources say that the best proof of the comeback is seen in the increasing number of cinema houses showing Bengali films. Even a few years ago, of the 800 movie theatres in the State, no more than 350 were showing just Bengali films. The remaining had spread their risk showing a mix of either Hindi and English or Hindi and Bengali films.2008, nearly 700 theatres are showing Bengali films.
The movie, produced by Ramoji Films at a cost of Rs 6.5 million, recovered its costs within three weeks and is still raking in the moolah for its distributors, producers and theatre owners since last December. The movie has brought back the concept of family entertainment with Sandip Ray's gambit of contemporising the plot paying him rich dividend. Admitting that he did not expect this success, he told Life that he was now lining up another such film for release next year. Earlier, a film by award-winning director Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Mondo Meyer Upakhyan (The Tale of a Fallen Girl) produced by Arjoe Entertainments netted nearly Rs 70 million through sale of overseas rights against a cost of Rs 6 million.Haranath Chakraborty His film Sathi (Companion) created a record by recouping over five times its production cost, although the film Chokher Bali, with big names like Aishwariya Rai, Rituparno Ghosh and Tagore, failed to yield expected results. The movie, billed at Rs 16.5 million (the highest among Bengali films). Total number of cinema theatre is approx 460.But there are films like 'Kaler rakhal'by Sekhar Das which created huge controversy for its strong political comments on contemporary Bengal,despite its brilliance was not successful in the box office as the film was unceremoiniusly withdrawn from the theatres.
Loose and unorganised production activities, dominated and dictated by providers of capital led to proliferation of sub-standard films, which were most often commercial failures. The recent successes have come through some concerted effort by Parallel Cinema which has tapped the domestic market, even while scouting the overseas ones, hitting the festival circuit somewhere in between. As such, celluloid creations of award-winning directors like Gautam Ghosh, Rituparno Ghosh and Aparna Sen started bringing money for their producers. However, at around the same time, movies in the commercial circuit (directors like to call them mainstream cinema) also started doing well, supported strongly by the response from the semi-urban areas. The big Bollywood banners such as Mukta Arts and Rajshri films are now showing interest in funding Bengali films.
Hollywood houses like Columbia Tristar have made their debut in distributing Bengali movies. According to industry experts, several issues need to be addressed to build on this resurgence and consolidate it. These include inadequate infrastructure, which often compels moviemakers to go outside the State for facilities pushing up costs, poor marketing and distribution and increasing competition from Bangladeshi films. Saregama Films, the entertainment company in the RPG group, has decided to restrict its budget in film production to about Rs 50 million and This would be a Rs 4-5-crore budget film.
Read more about this topic: Cinema Of West Bengal
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“Bourgeois society is infected by monomania: the monomania of accounting. For it, the only thing that has value is what can be counted in francs and centimes. It never hesitates to sacrifice human life to figures which look well on paper, such as national budgets or industrial balance sheets.”
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“The daily arguments over putting away the toys or practicing the piano defeat us so easily. We see them coming yet they frustrate us time and time again. In many cases, we are mothers and fathers who have managed budgets and unruly bosses and done difficult jobs well through sheer tenacity and dogged preparation. So why are we unable to persuade someone three feet tall to step into six inches of water at bathtime?”
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