Bollywood films are all about investments and returns, like any business venture. Just like other businesses face risks like competition, changing lifestyles and cyclical business conditions, so do films. But one risk that is distinct to films is the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which has turned more prudish of late.
The Board had created a furore after cutting "short kissing scenes" between actor Daniel Craig and his leading ladies in the James Bond movie Spectre, prompting the famous "sanskari bond" comment on social media.
A "bold" scene cut or a dialogue muted has the potential to impact the overall appeal of films and consequently, box office collections. Now, when such films are produced and distributed by listed companies, the hit is on investors also, unlike unlisted firms where it is only upon the promoters, their associates and lenders.
Film production and distribution Super Cassettes Industries Limited, more popular as T Series and the maker of upcoming film Hate Story 3 has managed to get an "A" certificate from the CBFC, paving the way for its release on 4 December. But they had to replace the word "bhagwan" with "uparwala" when the Board felt that "bhagwan" would hurt the sentiments of a particular community. Fortunately, Super Cassettes is not a listed company.
The film features Sharman Joshi, Zarine Khan, Daisy Shah and Karan Singh Grover.
"We've received an adult (A) certification and the erotic aspect of the film has been retained. We're happy with the censors and the audience will also be happy with the film," said Sharman, reported IANS.
The impact is unlikely to be adverse at the box office.
Balaji Telefilms, a listed company that makes television serials and films, has queued up a series of films for the next six to eight months, including "Udta Punjab" and "Half Girlfriend" based on Chetan Bhagat's novel by the same name.
Should these movies face Censor Board's hurdles for some of the scenes, their box office prospects could suffer and consequently, gullible shareholders.
As it is, the company's "Kya Kool Hai Hum 3" could not be released in October as scheduled, as it is yet to get the Censor Board's nod.
Another risk unique to films is two expected blockbusters clashing at the box office. A recent instance is that of Sanjeev Leela Bhansali's "Bajirao Mastani" and Shah Rukh Khan's "Dilwale". Both the films are slated to be released on 18 December and this likely to hit their box office collections, though analysts feel that the Christmas and yearend holidays will see the movies through.
Eros International Media, listed on the BSE, is the global distributor of "Bajirao Mastani" and an analyst expects the movie to earn "Rs 200 crore to Rs 300 crore on a worldwide basis."
"Bajirao Mastani" features Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka. Ranveer plays the role of Bajirao and Deepika of Mastani, while Priyanka appears as Bajirao's first wife Kashibai.
Directed by Rohit Shetty, "Dilwale" stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon.
The Eros stock closed at Rs 239.80, a gain of 4.99% on Wednesday on the BSE, though far lower from its price of Rs 416 six months ago, on 2 June.
Balaji Telefilms ended the day with a loss of 3.97% to close at Rs 137.60. The stock has more than doubled in the past six months.