|They started as a shop trading in LP’s (Long Playing Phonograph Records) in 1975 for three of the biggest companies in India – HMV, Music India & CBS. 31 years later theyare a corporate house that has others dancing to their tunes!|
The story of Tips, the shop, to Tips, the entertainment giant, has been a gratifying one for Kumar and Ramesh, the Taurani Brothers. Their plush office in mumbai suburbia bears testimony to that as much as their goodwill within the film industry.
Kumar Taurani talks to businessofcinema.com’s Rohini Bhandari about concentrating on film production and his two-year plan to position Tips within the top 5 film production companies of India. With blockbusters like Raja Hindustani and Soldier and consistently successful films like Kachche Dhaage, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, Raaz and Ishq Vishq in their past, the future looks tip top
How does Tips plan to increase their market share and enhance their brand equity give that it has been nearly 3 years since Ishk Vishk?
With the realisation that small films take the same amount of time to make as any other bigger film, we made the decision to make only large scale films. We would do low budget films, but only in the regional section. It’s very simple – if I had made Kya Kehna or Raaz with bigger stars I would have earned 2 or 3 times the money. However, to sign bigger actors means you have to wait for their dates, sometimes as much as two years! So we’ve spent these years in creating good stories and can boast of nearly 30 of them now.Besides, Films are far more profitable than music.When you make films, you have total control over it.You know the actors cost, budget of the film, story of the film, you are aware of what you are investing in. In films you don’t have to depend on another person’s creativity like in music.
Film making is a far safer business than music.Till date Tips has not lost money in any film except The Legend of Bhagat Singh. But let me add that music remains our first love.On a corporate level, Ramesh and I have revised our responsibilities. We will both make films. After a particular film goes on floors we both will handle production.
Why hasn’t Tips been aggressive in the music market?
The condition in the music market has been bad. In the year 2001 and 2002 we took music rights of 15 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 20 big Hindi films with Subhash Ghai, Rajeev Rai, Suneel Darshan. All these film flopped. It was totally unexpected of such big and successful names to give us one flop after the other within 18 months. It took me 2 years to control the losses so we are cautious about investing. While our new business model and with the increasing digital, radio and TV income alllows us to acquire music, we are wary of music piracy. There is at least 60 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 70% piracy on the whole. Today Tips’ music turnover is Rs 250 million (Rs 25 crore), but if there was no piracy the turnover would have easily crossed the Rs 600 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 700 million (Rs 60-70 crore) mark.
So what would the game plan be like?
Among the top 10 actors of today we have signed the top 3 – Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and Salmaan Khan. We have also signed Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan and some leading actresses for our films. Now if I have a sitting with an actor for a story telling I can easily present him an option of 5 -6 good stories of his interest. In the couple of years, you can expect to see 10- 12 big budget films from us. I have no doubt that will put us in the top 5 film production companies.We have spent so many years planning that it will certainly show results – we already have three projects ready to roll. One of our largest projects entails the remaking of Amar Akbar Anthony with Salmaan, Sohail and Arbaaz for the film.
The other two are a film with Akshay Kumar that we are finalising and Abbas Mastan’s film with Saif, Fardeen, Mallika and Bipasha which will go on floors in next 3 months.
How are you planning to re-craft Amar Akbar Anthony ?
We had to shell out a huge amount for Amar Akbar Anthony. Many people were trying to acquire the film but I am glad it came in our favour.
Which films are ready for release now
While we were investing time in creating big films, we also thought of making some small budget regional films. We have two films ready for release. Dil Apna Punjabi will release on 1 September. It is a film set in the lively village of modern day Punjab, where a joint family spanning over four generations lives under one roof.
Bharatbala’s Hari Om is an English film that takes us on a romantic adventure through Rajasthan. Following an unlikely trio, it is a story about discovery of self and others, about getting in touch with the true spirit of India, and about finding beauty, love, and courage under unusual circumstances.
Why haven’t you released Hari Om in India?
When is Tips planning to declare its dividend?
I have promised my shareholders that after the results of March 2007 I will declare dividend and I am working towards it.