Tips Films is gearing up to release as many as three home productions in the ongoing financial year. The first one being Naqaab starring Akshaye Khanna, Bobby Deol and new find Urvashi Sharma. The shooting of its multi starrer Race has just been wrapped up and work will soon commence on Aziz Mirza’s untitled film starring Shahid Kapur and Vidya Balan, which will be followed by the remake of Amar Akbar Anthony with Salman, Sohail and Arbaaz.
The company has been relatively inactive on the showbiz front and has been functioning on a backward integration model. Now with their plate full of star and director dates, a lot many projects are underway.
In conversation with Businessofcinema.com, Tips Industries managing director Ramesh Taurani reveals how the company has been scheduling operations since two years, the results of which have begun to show from this year onwards.
In the last three years Tips has been dormant in the movie production space which has undergone tremendous variations. How is Tips modifying its operations to suit the current scenario?
We have constantly been updating ourselves with the market scenario and are aware of what is happening around us. These days with movie promotion happening on the internet medium, Tips has also understood the space and started a channel on Youtube.com. We have even tied up with Handygo mobiles for content distribution on mobile phones. So as far as technology, promotion, distribution and exploitation are concerned Tips has been in the forefront at all times and even set examples for the industry.
Everyone is this industry has money, but the fact is that relation is what this industry thrives on.
So is the working model at Tips being restructured?
Yes, now we definitely want to make good movies with big stars. In fact, we have been in the restructuring mode since two years, the results of which will start showing soon. Now our concentration is more towards film production. Our target is to release three movies in this financial year. After Naqaab in July we will release Race followed by Aziz Mirza’s Shahid and Vidya starrer. Then we want to keep increasing the number of releases to three-four-five in the subsequent years.
We had made around 20 films before Fida, after which we firmed up our plans to make films with bigger stars. These big stars don’t have dates for one-two years in a row, so you have no option but to wait. That is the reason we had to take a back seat.
Recently the audio and home video market has witnessed an upswing and since Tips already has an understanding of this space isn’t it logical for Tips to follow the bandwagon?
Currently, the audio market is facing a lot of problems. Audio sales have dropped tremendously. It is good that newer players have plunged into this market. But the fact remains that right now the music market really lacks potential. The music market lacks the sales and profits that Tips has seen in its golden days. But I am certain that those days will come back again, in a year and a half or so and that is the time Tips will bounce back.
The music market is flourishing in terms of its popularity but there are no profits. Also earlier our concentration was on the audio market and now it is on the film production market.
Even today I can say with conviction that if we go to producers to acquire their music rights, we know we will be their first priority because we share a good rapport with them. Even though we do not buy music now, many producers seek our advice before selling their rights to any other music company.
Can you tell us something about your forthcoming film Naqaab and why is it being promoted as the most shocking thriller of the year?
In a thriller, a viewer always wants some fresh elements to be introduced time and again. What’s nice about Naqaab is that as the story moves forward, the characters identity and what’s hidden behind the mask (Naqaab) is revealed very interestingly.
After we heard the story of Naqaab we were convinced that no one except Abbas Mastan can direct this story. Even Abbas Mastan liked the story a lot and also worked on its screenplay. Akshaye Khanna and Bobby Deol were our first choice and they instantly agreed to do the film.
We have worked with Abbas Mastan previously on Soldier, which was about 10 years back. Since Soldier was a blockbuster film we had to get back to the director duo with something equally substantial. In Naqaab the film’s mounting is impressive and so is the star cast. In fact now we are making few more films with them back to back.< Page Break >
Why have you kept your heroine Urvashi Sharma under wraps?
We want to present her in a good way. Even when we launched Shahid and Amrita in Ishq Vishk we had not organized too many interviews for them. We want the first impression to be exactly the way we have presented her in the movie.
Urvashi has worked with us previously in Mika’s and Atif’s music video. She looked good and performed well in them. She is also a contracted artist with Tips’ Artist Management division, but despite that she had to go through screen tests for the role and be approved by Abbas Mastan.
Tips could have very well singed a reigning Bollywood actress for this film. Then why is it that you opted for new talent?
At Tips we have a policy that every deserving new comer should get their dues. When we signed Urvashi in our contract we could see the potential in her.
Even when we made Kya Kehna, many people asked us why we signed Preity and not a big actress? Any big actress would have agreed to do a heroine oriented film. But we have always believed in promoting new talent because there has to be platform for them and even this industry need newer talent.
In times of SMS technology aren’t you skeptical that your films suspense may be rapidly leaked, thus leading to a negative impact?
No one has any control on technology. After a film releases on Friday many people as it is get to know the suspense. But this film has an element of suspense, thrill and moreover it has a repeat value to it, which will get audience to the theatres to watch the film despite the revelation of the suspense, if that be the case.
Take for instance Gupt, the suspense that Kajol was the killer in the film, was revealed one day before the film released. However, this did not affect the films opening or its business in any way.
This is the first time that music director Pritam has been roped in for a Tips film.
When we last worked with Abbas Mastan in Soldier, we had roped in Anu Malik. Abbas Mastan worked with Anu Malik in six – eight films, they also worked with Himesh Reshammiya in five – six films. Hit combinations have always been there but one has to be futuristic as well.
We took Pritam because we really felt like doing something new and besides we had not worked with Pritam in the past. Also as per the requirement of the script we needed music with a rock essence and we thought Pritam was apt for it. In today’s date only Pritam can give that kind of music.
Preity Zinta has worked with Tips in so many films in the past. What is the reason that you’ll haven’t worked together recently?
We worked with Preity Zinta in Kya Kehna, Soldier and Dil Hai Tumhara. Now Preity is a huge star. If I go to her with a script, it has to be worthy of her. Preity is a good friend and will never refuse an offer from me, but firstly I have to be convinced if a particular script requires her.