Brahmāstra: A foundation and Opportunity for the Indian Film Industry
Brahmāstra, a film planned for over ten years and shot for over four years, was released on 9th September 2022. As per the expectations, the movie collected around Rs 43.3 crores in India and 75 crores (gross) globally on day 1; propelling Brahmāstra to surpass the opening day numbers of pre-pandemic hits like Bahubali-Conclusion,Tiger Zinda Hai, Sanju and Dhoom 3. In the coming days, the film is anticipated to cross the Rs 200 crore mark after collecting Rs 170 crore in India and more than Rs 300 crore globally during its first week of release. Despite mixed reviews, Brahmāstra holds a firm grip at the Box Office and will be the highest-grossing film post Pandemic.
India’s film, television, and OVS industries earn an integrated revenue of about INR 93k crores. India’s film industry, the world’s most extensive in total films produced and the second largest after Hollywood in global reach, has been on edge since the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Ernst and Young, India had around 9,527 screens, of which there were approximately 6,327 single screens and 3,200 multiplexes. In 2020, about 1,000 screens had stopped operations permanently.
It is estimated that the Indian film sector lost theatrical earnings of nearly 120 billion rupees in 2020-21. An industry that plays a critical role in supplementing the Economy and establishing soft power needs to breathe the fresh air to get its lungs back as before. Brahmāstra is a new age, visually attractive and crowd puller that might be a breath of fresh air for the Indian film Industry and Economy at large.
Media Franchise and IP:
We have grown up watching Pokemon, Mickey Mouse & Friends and other cartoons. Gen Z and a few in Gen Y would be fans of Marvel, DC, Starwars and other franchises/brands. The Global Value of Pokémon is $92.1 billion, Mickey Mouse & Friends is $70.5 billion, Star Wars is $65.6 billion, Harry Potter is $30.8 billion, Marvel Cinematic Universe is $29.1 billion, and Spider-Man is $27 billion. India still does not have robust cinematic IPs that can compete or even stand a chance against Global IPs. The West has numerous Indian references in their films, and if observed, one can link multiple Indian mythological inspirations in the Marvel and other superhero IPs. Brahmāstra is an opportunity in disguise for the Indian Film IP industry. Rooted in India and based on Indian epics, Brahmāstra can leverage the opportunity to construct a multi-million dollar potent Film Franchise and IPs. The Make in India push for toys, appealing graphic books, trendy accessories, smart apparel, interactive games, and innovative marketing can paddle Brahmāstra to new heights; this will significantly influence India’s IP creation and film merchandise.
Despite mixed reviews, most agree that Brahmāstra has scintillating visuals that mesmerise the audience. India’s VFX and post-production segment in 2020 was INR 2,850 Cr Industry; compared to 2019, it had contracted by 62% and 58%, respectively. The global value of the AVGC business is INR 19,31,800 Cr. However, India’s share is approximately 1% (INR 19,318 Cr). Brahmāstra has demonstrated India’s natural and exceptional talent in the VFX industry; the Indian VFX industry is not only the world’s leader (70-80% of VFX outsourcing is done in India) but also matches the cost optimisation.
India is the preferred destination for VFX outsourcing because—India has a High currency conversion ratio, Massive bandwidth of creative and technical skilled artists, Output Quality, Creative Education, Infrastructure and Support system. The rapid expansion of India’s VFX industry is shaped by the government’s financial incentives and more comprehensive education prospects, with institutes offering VFX and animation courses. The AVGC Sector employs roughly 1.5 million individuals across both formal and informal domains, contributing significantly to making India a global M&E services powerhouse. According to a report by BCG-CII, it is estimated that if India can grasp a 20-25% share of the worldwide VFX and Animation by 2025, it will be able to generate 1,50,000-2,40,000 jobs by 2025.
The Indian creative sector is estimated to provide direct work to 8.5 lakh individuals. If Indirect and Induced effects are forecasted, the creative sector can generate a gross output of INR 349k cr and employment of 26.6 lakh individuals. A Deloitte study estimates that the ‘creative industry could add INR 233k cr gross output and 11.1 lakh jobs over the next five years. It is estimated that around 500-600 individuals were directly involved in the making of Brahmāstra. If the creative industries follow a high growth trajectory, these estimations could be 40–50% higher.’
Movies are a great source of revenue or tax collection for the governments in India. For example, if a movie ticket is worth Rs. 85 then a 18% GST (Rs. 15) applied on it makes the gross price worth Rs. 100 that Individuals end up paying. These Rs. 15 multiplied by the number of tickets sold show us that box office hit movies are a great source of tax collection for the government. Brahmāstra has grossed around INR 214 cr after one week; this will approximately translate into 33 cr direct tax collection. With movies struggling post-pandemic, Brahmāstra has tax collections, indirectly supplementing the growth of our expanding Economy.
America is the leading exporter of Arms and Ammunition; however, Hollywood or Content is their second most prominent export, shaping multiple Global practices. America has exported their soft power through Hollywood. India is the leading exporter of Software and IT industry; India’s content is also software of a different kind. Brahmāstra can be the foundation for nurturing our IPs; if India can wear Marvel apparel and eat McDonald’s, why can’t we export our culture to the West?
The Grand and Brave Vision of Brahmāstra should be celebrated as it has bought the derailed (post-pandemic) industry back on track with a splendid effort. Movies like Brahmāstra not just boost the confidence but also paves the way for India to be a Global Soft power.
*The views/opinions expressed in the above article exclusively belong to the writer. Tatvita may have different opinions on the subject.*
Siddharth Roy is a 23-year-old Author and Community Enabler from India. He is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Whistling Woods International). He is currently pursuing his Certification from IIM Indore. He has worked as a Research Associate with a Member of Parliament (India), currently working with Zenworks Solutions Private Limited. He is a Blogger with the Times of India. Siddharth has worked with various Educational Institutes, Social Organisations, and Government organisations to promote Holistic Education and Activity-based learning. He has been conferred the 'National Youth Award' by the Government of India for contributing to the Student Community.