Battle royal

Updated: Jan 23 2007, 05:30am hrs
Not so long ago, the media was flooded with stories about Bollywood films faring better than homegrown British films in the UK. These editorials went on to extol the widespread popularity and performance of Indian titles in general without specifying that only big banner films with a strong star cast tend to find patronage overseas. Exceptions exist but theyre too few in number. None of these features shed any light on the overall state of the British film industry, either. In retaliation, the British media attributed the dismal performance in the last few years to the general slump in filmmaking rather than factors such as quality and/or the overpowering influence of American studio titles on the native English audience.

It is well known that the British government recently cracked down on the abuse of the popular tax system in the UK. Several financiers (Indians included) had been misusing certain loopholes in the system, artificially inflating the cost of production of their films. The new UK tax credit has come into force this year and the UK Film Council hopes that the British film industry stages a miraculous recovery this year, while also maintaining the UKs status as a favourite shooting destination for Hollywood majors and international filmmakers.

Films such as The Queen, and the lottery-funded The Last King of Scotland and Venus, are likely to fare well in the forthcoming awards season. This year will see a number of exciting movies such as The Other Boleyn Girl, Notes on a Scandal and This is England, to name a few. The Indian film industry will also have about ten mega releases in 2007, most of which are tipped to cross the one million pound threshold.

Looks like the tussle for supremacy between Indian and British films will continue this year.

Spidey 3 & 4

It will take the Indian film industry some time before the concept of sequels and franchise and property development reaches maturity. There has been a humble beginning of sorts with Koi Mil Gaya and Hera Pheri. The West, of course, stands substantially evolved. Audiences in the UK can hardly contain their excitement about the release of Spiderman 3 on May 4. And it seems Columbia execs have already begun negotiating with David Koepp to begin work on a fourth instalment of the franchise. They hope to have the movie ready for release in 2009 but before that, new deals will have to be made with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco, along with Raimiif he agrees to direct Part 4.

The author is a film producer and overseas distributor. He may be reached at