Content is king, will always remain so: Amitabh Bachchan

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, 76, is unstoppable even after 50 years in the movies. Whether it is the string of endorsements he has currently, the slate of his movies, or the social causes he promotes, Bachchan shows no signs of slowing down. The slew of brands he endorses (he has 22 endorsements currently) and the producers of his movies are in no mood to see him slow down either. At last count, his brand value has been pegged at a staggering $41.2 million by global consultancy firm Duff & Phelps, in their latest report on celebrity brand valuations. Bachchan has three Hindi releases lined up in 2019 – Badla, Jhund, and Brahmastra.

In an exclusive email interview with Fortune India, Bachchan dwelt on a range of subjects, ranging from the changes he has witnessed in the entertainment industry over the years, the advent of streaming platforms, his endorsements line-up and much more.

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Speaking on the emergence of streaming platforms, Bachchan said the film industry has been questioned about competition from other forms of entertainment at every stage. However, content, he said, was “king” and would always remain so.

“With each passing decade, the film industry is questioned about this aspect. It was the video cassette first, then the television, then digital streaming as of today, mobiles, the lot; tomorrow there will be even greater technological inventions — alternate reality and so on. But remember one thing: the base has never changed. The base is a film. You shall not be able to change the making and production of content. , and shall ever remain so–to repeat this done-to-death expression,” he said.

He said he would be happy to consider offers on digital streaming if such an offer came his way. “If age, time and the intent of makers shall wish it, I shall be more than happy to accept such offers.”

What does Bachchan feel about the emergence of edgy, new-age scripts which are challenging the age-old notion of a blockbuster spectacle being the only way to generate success at the box office? Is the notion of a ₹100 crore box-office movie being a barometer of success a thing of the past, with return on investments being more important rather than the collections?

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Bachchan said the returns on investment will always be an important factor for any business. “Return on investment is a basic need in any commercial business or enterprise. Films are no different. The vocabulary for the yardstick of success may have changed,” he said. “They were addressed by the number of weeks a film ran earlier – 25 weeks, silver jubilee, golden jubilee, diamond jubilee – now this mode has been made more specific.”
Bachchan said he does not endorse alcohol or cigarettes because he does not consume them, but those that he uses or consumes “are given due diligence” before he signs on for endorsements.

(The full interview with appears in the c Issue on Show Business, now on stands and on Amazon.in)

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