JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. Cinepolis owns 275 cinemas that consist of 2550 screens in their worldwide operations. Their Indian holdings in 2011 were a total of 20 screens in four cities (Bengaluru, Thane, Amritsar, and Patna). See, www.CinepolisIndia.com/corporate/ [return to page 1]

2. The antecedents to the modern malls are the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Cairo and Tehran. The one in Istanbul is almost 600 years old. That city also prides to have the Spice Bazaar, an indoor mall that smells heavenly with myriad spices. None of these old bazaars, however, have security guards at the gates and any one could walk into them.

3. The state-controlled Doordarshan and many private networks beam programs over-the-air and via cable and satellite delivery systems. It is an advertiser supported system. The film industry supplies talent and programs to these networks. In rural India, well to do farmers have satellite dishes on top of their houses. What audiences prefer is programming in local languages, not imported programs from the West as it is the case in many countries of the world.

4. I have written about the centrality of music and dance to Indian popular cinema, their roots and appeal with the mass audience (Pendakur, 2003, pp. 119-143).

5. In the last 12 months, two major opposition movements developed and had a great deal of success against Central Government’s policies regarding foreign direct investment and the rampant corruption in the country. The Cabinet had made the fatal decision to allow 100% foreign direct investment in the retail sector that would have meant Walmart and other global retailers would have entered the multi-brand retail sector and possibly wiped out a huge number of family-owned shops. The government ended up rescinding that decision for the time. There have been numerous corruption scandals since 1991, which have been exposed in the media. The ones that stood out were the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the spectrum allocation case that was a “fire sale” to India’s big capitalists. Several ministers are languishing in jails. In the wireless frequency sale case, the Supreme Court ordered that all those who received such licenses a few years ago should return them to the government, an unprecedented and historic decision by the highest court in the land and a victory for those who opposed public properties being put on sale to private interests.

6. Six vertically-integrated corporations that own diverse operations in production, distribution and exhibition and control nearly 85% of the U.S. box office revenues are known as the Hollywood Majors. They are Paramount, Fox, Universal, Warners, Disney, and Columbia Pictures. They produce and distribute nearly all the big budget productions, have worldwide distribution networks and in some areas of the United States control theaters by way of direct ownership. Their principal lobby organization is called the Motion Picture Association of America which does not allow any other corporations to become members. Its sister organization was called the Motion Picture Export Association of America and in the last few years has changed it to Motion Picture Association and has offices in nearly 50 countries to lobby the local governments for open access for their members’ films, lower taxes, and to get the local authorities to invest money and effort to prevent piracy. See Wasko (2003).

7. Big Cinemas is a subsidiary of Reliance Corporation, a telecommunications giant in India. 250 of their screens are in India and the rest are in the United States. This corporation also invested nearly $500 million with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks to produce Hollywood movies for the worldwide market. Their goal is to build a vertically integrated production-distribution-exhibition corporation to compete with the Hollywood Majors, something that was not achieved by the UK-based Rank Pictures Organization, the Cineplex-Odeon Corporation based in Canada, Seagram’s, also a Canadian Corporation with deep pockets, and most recently the France-based Vivendi. [return to page 2]

8. See The “Indian Entertainment Industry Report” by FICCI-KPMG, which predicts that by 2013 the number of multiplex screens in the country is likely to cross 1,600 (Sethi, 2010).

9. PVR built the four-plex in an outdoor mall in Delhi first and then expanded their operations to other cities in collaboration with an Australian company called Village Roadshow Entertainment. They are not partners any more as PVR bought them out.

10. In general, action-adventure films do well at the box office in India. James Bond movies were always a big draw in the cities. Walt Disney’s animated films also had a good market with mass audiences in the cities. Movies with special effects are incredibly popular. Avatar (2009) was hugely successful with Indian audiences. Hollywood’s strategy of dubbing films into Indian languages is paying off because dubbed films are shown even in small cities and towns. I saw Twister (1996) dubbed into Kannada and it was bizarre for me to experience that in a rural theater. I was in disbelief because of the way white people spoke my mother tongue. While that was comical for me, my friends and family who went to see this film with me enjoyed the film with all the special effects. A howl went up when cows started flying in the air! With the growth of English language speakers, especially in the cities, Hollywood’s overall box office performance in India has doubled in the last twenty years. While China limits the total number of Hollywood imports to only 20 per year, India opened up the market thereby inviting more films, higher investment and also higher profits for the Hollywood Majors and others from the United States.

11. One my nieces, who completed an engineering degree last year, just graduated from this program at InfoSys. In 12 months, she was not allowed to go outside the campus until the training program was over. As such, she had not seen a movie at a theater in Mysore.

12. Print and advertising costs in Hollywood often exceed the cost of production of a film. Print costs in India may run up top 25% of a film’s production cost. Each print may cost Rs. 80,000 ($1600) to Rs. 100,000 ($2,000) in India and $2000 in the United States. [return to page 3]

13. The Competition Act of 2002, a federal law, established the Competition Commission of India in October 2003. The Commission has six members and a chairperson, all appointed by the Central Government in Delhi. This body is entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the Act to ensure that capitalist markets work in a competitive manner. The Act “prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates competition combinations (acquisition, acquiring control and Mergers and Acquisitions) which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.” This law is similar to the antitrust laws that were created in the United States and Canada starting in 1890. See
http://www.cci.gov.in/index.php?option=com
_content&task=view&exp=0&id=12

14. That state has a notorious reputation under its current Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been implicated in conspiring with Hindus in terrorizing and butchering thousands of Muslims in 2002. As a result of a campaign by concerned people in the Indian diaspora, the U.S. government has declined to grant a visitor visa to Modi. There are pending court cases against Modi and culprits at the Supreme Court level in India to bring them to justice. [return to page 4]

15. India receives the highest remittance from Indians abroad, followed by China ($51 billion) and Mexico ($22.6 billion), Philippines ($21.3 billion) and France ($15.9 billion).

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