- The primary agenda of the session has been to discuss several issues faced by the industry
Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) organized a unique session with the popular faces of the Bengal film fraternity to identify the barriers to success in the Tollywood industry. The Tollywood industry, despite having unique content, has been facing various issues catering to mass connect, infrastructure, financing, policy framework, and others in terms of achieving success. The session witnessed valuable insights from National Award Winning Actor, Mr. Prosenjit Chatterjee, Composer/Musician, Mr. Bickram Ghosh, Filmmaker & Writer, Mr. Arijit Biswas, Actor-Director-Producer, Mr. Parambrata Chatterjee, 3 times National Award winning Director, Mr. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, and Mr. Arindam Sil, the Chairperson of ICC National Expert Committee on Entertainment. The other panelists were Mr. Pradeep Sureka, President of ICC and Mr. Sanjay Budhia, Past President, ICC.
Mr. Pradeep Sureka, while initiating the session, said, “The Bengali film industry should not only focus on providing entertainment but should also work on developing employment. Language is not a bar and collaboration should increase in terms of infrastructure, financing, and other sectors. Every industry has evolved and has become efficient during the pandemic. The content is good and has the prospect to be the future of the Bengali film industry.”
Mr. Arindam Sil, the Chairperson of ICC National Expert Committee on Entertainment, said, “A committee needs to be created with the Government and other institutes. However, it should not be just constricted to the West Bengal Government but also should be extended to the Bangladeshi Government. It’s more Bangladesh than India, as there is huge talent in Bangladesh, where films like Hawa have been taken by storm. The Central Government needs to work in collaborating with Bangladesh, as it is a low-risk investment. It is our industry and thus we need to poke the Government and thus, a body needs to be constituted. Next year, we are coming up with the biggest project with great intention, where it will all be across borders. Regular sessions like this need to be held more often to understand the industry better and work on developing our infrastructure. Small screens need to be built everywhere to bring back the masses to films from OTT platforms and television.”
Mr. Parambrata Chatterjee, Actor-Director-Producer, while addressing the importance of OTT platforms, said, “Tamil and Telegu films were quite prevalent earlier but the growth can be seen in Kannada and Malayalam films too. 11 years ago, both Bengal and Kannada films had the budget of Rs. 7.5 lakhs to Rs.1.5 crores, which still remains the same for the Bengali industry but has increased for the Kannada and Malayalam industries where currently films worth Rs. 15 crores to Rs. 25 crores are made. The OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, are not interested in Bengali content, which needs to change. Change can be brought only when we can tap into common people’s veins. We right now need an angel investor to push our way through. Bengali audience’s consumption has upgraded so we too need to upgrade our content. We should also focus on developing ROI of our films to push our workers’ rights.”
Mr. Prosenjit Chatterjee, focused on holding more such sessions when he said, “I have seen ups and downs in the industry but I think it’s high time that the Bengali industry should step up. A lot of work is happening but what we lack are discussions like this. We don’t sit and take time to discuss, which needs to be done often even through virtual platforms. We have talent and there is no dearth of content, we just need to cater to the right audience and their preferences. We need to focus on increasing equity. This can’t happen over one meeting, thus sessions must be carried out.”
Mr. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, said “Film has its own language. Thus, we should focus on narrating stories, irrespective of their monetary returns because good and honest content will make way for profits. Businessmen always don’t look for profits but for passion, which eventually converts into profits in the long run. Bengal is a mine of literature so let’s look out for passion in films.”
Sanjay Budhia, while concluding the session, said, “This session has not only been hurting but also hearting. We should not settle for less and thus this is not only one evening but just the beginning of the evening. We, at ICC, are looking to combine commerce and creativity for making a prosperous Bengal film industry.”