Saturday, May 17, 2008

Can Entertainment trigger the change for Bihar?

McKinsey's projection of Indian entertainment industry having a potential of more than 30,000 crores seems to have been taken up in right earnest. The key figures of the entertainment industry are fine-tuning their own initiatives to make this come true. One creditable effort being made in this direction is that of Prakash Jha who has decided it upon himself to change the landscape of his home state, Bihar, and also in Jharkhand by initiating construction of a slew of Malls and cinema halls that would on its own built up a momentum and foster the development of service sector in Bihar and in Jharkhand in a big way.

Service sector has not come up to the desired levels, and the idea of Prakash Jha to leverage the vantage position of entertainment and to use it, as catalysis for giving a new lease of life to the service industry in Bihar is indeed a noble objective. In his initiative he has entered into partnership with Manmohan Shetty. The necessary fillip to service sector would be done by construction of a series of malls and shopping complexes with cinema halls as the focus of activity.

The choice of Bihar and Jharkhand has an economic rationale as well. For the cost of construction of one mall in a metropolitan city, more than 10 malls can be constructed in Bihar and Jharkhand and if each of them has one multiplex showing four films, then the stock of cinema halls would increase by minimum forty. Once forty new cinema halls are constructed, then forty more films can be released and this would mean entertainment for the public and increased revenue for the government and the owners of the Malls and cinema halls. As cost of construction would be less, it would also mean that the cinema tickets would cost less, and it could help in having a return on a film in a much faster manner. This is the guiding principle for Prakash Jha. By constructing these multiplexes, he can ensure in all the multiplexes owned by him, he would be able to sell large number of his films or films made by his associates and create a win-win situation for everybody.

The initiative that Prakash Jha has taken for his home state needs to be followed by his other contemporaries and if it happens then entertainment could give service sector a new life in all the less developed states and could synergise the economy in turn. So those who hail from other small states like Danny from Sikkim, Ashutosh Rana from M.P., all our Punjabi and Haryanvi brethren etc., should take a leaf out of Prakash Jha's initiative and insulate them to an extent from the uncertainty of the business of cinema making by venturing into construction of cinema halls and multiplexes. If they have their own multiplexes in their own states, they can also mitigate the worry of dealing with the distributors. This is new diversion, but its path is laden with glory, as if service sector starts functioning in a optimum manner in the states whose lack of it forces people to migrate, it could also put a check on migration to an extent in an indirect manner as well.