The Assam-born actor Adil Hussain says that filmmakers from the north-east region of India don’t have the kind of budget Bollywood has to market their movies; neither do they have enough cinemas to recover the costs.
Hussain, who has acted in Bollywood movies such as this year’s Lootera and last year’s English Vinglish, points out that regional films get acceptance from international audiences, but only after aggressive campaigning.
“Films that are region-specific, but made well, have a universal appeal,” Hussain said in an interview. “For instance, if a film set in a village in Japan has a well-crafted script, it will get acceptance from the audience worldwide. But marketing plays the most important role in that.”
He said that it is imperative for Indian filmmakers today to have good personal relationships with distributors. “The film has to be good in the first place. Then you need to know someone who can take the responsibility to distribute the film across the country. It needs a lot of money,” said the 50-year-old actor.
“Filmmakers in Mumbai, as well as in southern India, spend a lot of money on advertising. Sometimes the money is more than the production cost of the film. This is money I feel the producers of the north-eastern region don’t have.”
And with the limited number of screens in the region, it is hard for producers to recover their investment.
The actor was speaking to the press after being appointed as ambassador of a two-day film festival in Assam called North East, set for November 8 to 10.