Control of Bollywood ‘big budget’ films needed: Vikram Gokhale

Panaji: Stressing the need for controlling spending on mega-budget films, veteran actor Vikram Gokhale Tuesday said he had been discussing the issue with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar and there could soon be a committee to look into the matter.

Gokhale, a renowned stage actor known for his select roles in Bollywood films like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, also said that big budgets were squeezing out producers with integrity and commitment.

"There is a need to control expenses of films being made. I have been discussing this with both the chief minister and the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and both seem to be understanding… There could be a committee (to study the issue) and I might be a part of it," Gokhale told reporters during an interaction at the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

"There are films with Rs.50 crore budgets and the stars get Rs.10 crore or Rs.15 crore. What happens to the honest producer who wants to make serious films? He stands no chance," Gokhale said.

Articulating well-known concerns about dubious funding for big budget films, Gokhale, whose Marathi film ‘Bharat Mazha Desh’, directed by Sunil Sukhtankar, which was premiered at the 42nd IFFI, also said the volumes of black money involved was shocking.

"When a producers says, `If I lose Rs 2 crore, it`s not a problem`, I fail to understand how anyone can say that? How is losing Rs 2 crore not a problem? Where has he gotten the money from? Hasn`t the producer toiled for the money," Gokhale wondered.

The actor, who along with the entire crew of ‘Bharat Mazha Desh’, has not charged a penny for the film which juxtaposes Anna Hazare`s anti-corruption movement with family values, also said that the nationwide anti-corruption agitation had made him turn a new leaf.

"Something changed in me. I have stopped taking money in cash now. I told the party, I was involved with in a transaction to pay me all the money by cheque. The `system` has a way of getting through to you and influencing you. I put an end to that," said Gokhale, admitting that unaccounted `payments` in cash were the norm, as far as payments to actors for gigs was concerned.