oops, they did it again or how to ruin a pretty well-doing market
SRK´s Temptation 2008 concerts in Germany have been canceled today. Three days before their scheduled dates. Back in August the German stop of the Bachchans Unforgettable Tour met the same fate. They informed their audience 4 days in advance about the adjourment sine die.
The big honchos in Mumbai seem to have got something wrong. Ever since the Johars and YashRaj started to make their profitable deals with REM and RTL2 the German market seemed to look like fat firang tourist in Chor Bazar to the Filmi Industry-walas that could easily be skinned for money.
Except, if you trick somebody and want to keep on milking him, don´t become too greedy. You can only screw us so far. To steal a line from K3G: Tum sirf entertainer ho, parameshwar nahin. For us Non-Desi Europeans you just produce films we like (sometimes very very much) with stars we like (and sometimes honestly love) but you can´t do whatever you like and not pay a price for it.
Take the DVD market for example.
Primary rule: If you want to sell films in Germany you have to dub them. Cinema in Germany has been German-dialogues-only ever since the first talkie in the 1920ies. Same goes for the Video and DVD market. Thankfully there are companies like REM who cater to a niche audience with high quality releases. Due to their cooperation with the RTL2 TV station they were able to produce top standard Bollywood DVD´s that sold fantastic.
Enter greedy Bollywoodproducers. And swamp the market with C-grade movies, flop-films and bad quality production. That in itself would not be such a problem had they not tried to go the tourist-gouging routine. Even the King Khan has made some really really bad movies over the years. Sell them to the unsuspecting K3G, DDLJ or KHNH fan and you get somebody who will think twice if he will ever again spend 18,- to 24,- Euro on a BW DVD.
Mistake born out of greed #2: Quite a few of those crappy DVD´s had SRK (the only BW actor that really sells in Germany) on their cover. Even without him being in it. Instead customers got such shiny moments of Indian movie history like Hottestm@ail.com or Husn Bewafa.
Is it any wonder that sales of Bollywood DVD dropped like the stock market during the last weeks? Two years ago you had entire sections in DVD stores dedicated to Indian films. Now you can be lucky if you get a tiny part on the „B“ shelf.
Then the TV ratings started to drop as well. Films were edited beyond recognition. And the big selling K3G-style extravaganzas were a thing of the past too. You just can´t expect films like D:2 or Krrish to work for an audience that is used to watch Hollywood quality action or SciFi films. Sorry. But, no.
Thank god the Berlinale 08 happened. SRK and OSO came, saw and conquered. The hard-core fans, still loyal and actually pretty active in promoting the thing they love, stroke up a frenzy. SRK made the evening news. And the German fans were led to believe that the slump that hit the Bollywood Trend in Germany was finally over. Especially since some of the Multiplex chains started to screen current films and both the Unforgettable and the Temptation Tours were announcing shows in Germany.
Bollywood Concerts and Germany do have a rather shaky past.
The local promoters like SensAsian are, lets be frank, crooks. Plain and simple. They talk, they announce, they sell tickets and they mess up, go into hiding, take the money with them and piss of the fans. Just look at SA´s track record. Apart from the very first „Dinner with SRK“ in Offenbach in 2005 everything else was either canceled or had to be cut short.
And now we have the latest of their disasters and this time it is not simply Shilpa Shetty´s Miss Bollywood or the Bachchans (which both probably got canceled due to bad pre-sales). This time it really hits hard. This time it is SRK. I know of more than a few cases of Fans who literally had to scrimp and save to be able to afford a once-in-a-lifetime journey to one of the concerts. So this time it is personal. And that is bad news.
First they demand outrageous sums for – lets be honest – a tacky playback show and the fans pay it. And now the fans already sitting on their packed suitcases have to hope and pray that they get their 50,- to 250,- Euros back. And I am not even talking about the hundreds of fans that will surely loose money because their plane tickets or hotel reservations can´t be canceled.
(You want numbers? Lets take this very dear friend of mine. She shelled out 150,- for the ticket, 100,- for the airfare, the hotel for two nights would have cost her another 100,- add to that food, public transport and maybe some merchandise and you have at least 400,- . A sum that she was willing to spend on „her“ SRK. She earns about 900,- each month. After deducting her fixed costs she has about 300,- for food, petrol etc. Do the maths!)
So, Yo! Greedy Bollywoodproducers and greedy Bollywoodstars!
If you want to save what is left of your start rebuilding some credibility in Germany to maybe have some kind of a future here: Don´t do deals with promoters you know have let you down in the past or distributors that do more damage than good. That can´t be too hard, can it?
There is that (very crass but nonetheless true) saying „don´t crap where you eat“. And eating you seemed to do just fine in Germany for the last few years. But by crapping on our heads once too often I feel that you finally crossed the limit of our hospitality.