Bhushan Kumar: As a studio, we took the steps that were important to keep the business going at all times | Hindi movie news

When Bhushan Kumar took over from his father, Gulshan Kumar’s T-Series company, he was a 19-year-old. Today, not only has it made the company one of India’s most successful music labels, but it has also earned it the label of being one of the most important film production studios in the country. . He is currently busy promoting his upcoming films, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui with Ayushamann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor and Atrangi Re with Akshay Kumar, Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush. Besides that, he also took the time to visit the sets of his next films like Shehzada with Kartik Aaryan and that of Luv Ranjan with Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in Delhi. In a freewheeling conversation with BT, he spoke about the changing avatar of the entertainment industry and what has helped it maintain its position despite intense competition and a global health crisis. Extracts:

While you have waited almost two years to release Satyameva Jayate 2 in theaters, you have continued to have movie releases via OTT platforms. In short, your business has not experienced a lean day over the past 20 months. How did you do that?
As a studio, we’ve always tried to make films that appeal to audiences across the country. My job is also to make sure that my actors and directors are happy to work with me. The encouragement and appreciation they get from a theatrical release is unmatched.

I didn’t want to take that away from them for profit. However, the theatrical situation is not what it used to be. Before the second wave hit, we had released Saina and Mumbai Saga, which were doing nominal business. We took the steps that were important to keep the business going at all times. So now we have a list of films that will be hitting theaters, and some that have been pre-committed on OTT platforms will be streaming direct to digital.

You release Atrangi Re on an OTT platform and Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui in theaters. What was your strategy in trying to mix up different business models in terms of your movie release?
All of the movies on our list were made for theatrical release, but circumstances forced us to recalibrate and think carefully about our release strategy. Today we have 30 projects underway and twice as many in different stages of development. The decision to publish content on different platforms was to make sure that we keep the audience entertained and at the same time have sufficient cash flow for our new businesses. Apart from the strong content, we look at the cast that we have on board. Releasing a movie in a movie theater or on an OTT platform is a decision made with experience, instinct and the way a project takes shape, among other things. We’ve already started making our plans for what will work best as an OTT version and what can now be released to theaters.

Whether it’s taking on the competition from an early age or becoming a pioneer in film and music production, what has helped you build and maintain your place in the business?
My father, Gulshan Kumar, is an inspiration to me. Music was in his genes that he passed on to me, and cinema was his dream that I do my best to make it come true. It was a gradual process. When I started out, I braved the competition from national actors and international companies making great films. It was a difficult phase, but I didn’t want to give up. Paisa sab ke paas hota hai, but not the kind of long-standing relationship that I have built and continue to invest in even now. A great set of directors like Aanand L Rai, Nikkhil Advani, Anubhav Sinha and new filmmakers like Om Raut and Sandeep Reddy Vanga all work with me as creative collaborators. Most of them produce and produce content with us. We play on each other’s strengths. With the space we give to each other, and the way we respect each other’s contribution to each project, they don’t want to leave my corner. I never had a specific strategy to counter the competition. This business relies on hard work, a little luck, your own sensibility as a producer and a music label. The response to our content shows that we have probably made wise and correct decisions. In addition, I have gained the goodwill that I have.

With the decrease in the number of songs in our films, you turned to singles. What was your thought process there?
Yes, it is true that the place of music in our films is running out. As a label, you have to listen and know what people want to hear. In the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of singles around bewafaai, which have worked really well. Before that, we made the best recreations of old songs. Today we have an extensive catalog. The content wins for itself. You just have to try to understand what the audience is looking for.

In the new scheme of things in the entertainment industry, where do you see your business heading?
At the moment, my greatest concern is the health situation in our country, which is changing every day due to new variants of the COVID virus. Today everyone is wondering what to do, and what might attract people to theaters. Jab lock that people had content that was posted on OTT, and it was consumed. The real challenge for content creators begins now. We are positive and hope things only get better. Health and safety really is the key. What might not change from here on out is that a large chunk of movies will continue to go on OTT platforms, and some will hit theaters. As usual, we are ready to embrace the change and move forward.

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