Economics of Hindi ‘Languaged’ Movies

KGF Chapter 2 is a Kannada movie dubbed in Hindi and all south Indian languages. Speaking about the success of this movie, another Kannada actor unconnected with this movie, said – Hindi is “no longer” a national language. This is ignorant talk, coming from someone associated with the movie industry. They should know better.

The debate then got erroneously enmeshed in the constitutional status of Hindi. The debate should be – what happens if any regional language movies are dubbed in Hindi?

Movies are a function of revenue. And revenue is a function of distribution – the larger the spread the more the collection. The data on the movie has been extracted from (here)

KGF 2 was released on 14th April 2022, Thursday, in Kannada (ka), Hindi (Hi), Malayalam (Mal), Tamil (Ta) and Telugu (Te).

The chart below shows the percentage of daily earnings for one week – Hindi vis-à-vis Kannada. Out of the total money earned, Hindi earns 50% of the revenue daily.

% earnings in Hindi vis-à-vis Kannada

The chart below shows – Percentage of daily earnings from the Rest of India and Kannada. Also, after three days, collections from the south show precipitous drop.

Rest of India does not mean only Hindi, still one can consider “Hindi followers” as major.

“Hindi followers” means – people whose mother tongue is not Hindi, yet given two theatres, one running Hindi and another running “south language” movie, they will choose Hindi. For example, Bengali and Marathi speakers may choose Hindi.

One can equally extrapolate these earnings to overseas markets also. “Hindi followers” dominate the Indian Diaspora. So, if the movie is purported to earn over Rs. 1000 crores worldwide, one can estimate the earnings to be from Hindi dubbing.

KGF 2 took Rs. 100 crores to make. No movie financier will budget this amount on a regional language movie with no prospect of it being released in Hindi also.

A dubbing controversy happened in 2016, with the movie -Dhoni. Some “sena” objected to the movie’s dubbing in Hindi, fearing that this could become a trend and might affect the Marathi movie economy. (here)

With the sort of provocations coming from the south movie industry and deliberate denigration of Hindi, the day is not far when some “sena” will arise in the north and stop the south dubbing in Hindi.

Better sense should prevail and money should be put where it’s due. Hindi might not be our National Language but it’s a language of money, Indian movie-wise, whether acknowledged or unacknowledged.

The travesty is; that south actors who speak with one eye on regional politics and make fractious statements, will one day might become Chief Minister of that State.

Social Media

There is a saying;

Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people.

There is another saying;
Curiosity is ill manners in another’s house.

The parent company Meta – home of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp – have exploited, “curiosities of small minds” to pry into people’s lives. They are worth half-trillion dollars.

Curiosity is a good thing, an essential human tool to “kill” mysteries and get solutions for humanity. But, unfortunately, there are few people who get opportunity to use “curiosity” purposefully. Many are left curiously watching other’s lives.

The human tool – curiosity – needs a medium to operate. Like, if you are curious about heavenly bodies, you need telescope. Germs – microscope. When paper was invented it gave rise to knowledge thru books.

Curiosity->stars->telescope, curiosity->germs->microscope, curiosity->knowledge->books.

The last one, books, needs contents to be created for it. Books as medium fulfills many curious interests. Experts create contents for books and with time, this evolves and becomes varied and complex.

Again, with the coming of radio, cinema, TV, the medium gave birth to content creators who fulfill the needs of the listeners/viewers. Societies evolved to ever more complex technologies and contents.

Come computers and evolution was fast-tracked. Mr. Moore said in 1965 – computers gonna speed-up double and its cost halved, every two years. Similarly, contents for computers, the experts and the users, all evolved into a new species – in a way, from what humans were half a century back.

So, we can say, down the history, curiosities in the mediums helped the medium to evolve.

Now we are at a stage, where we apply our curiosities to feed the social media. Can we imagine what is the next step in this evolution?

Taking only one instance; over the years, curiosities in space have led to improvements in telescopes. Recently a powerful telescope of enormous size was sent to space. It’s a commentary on evolution – not only on the makers but also of its users.

There is also value in reading, movies, music, art, architecture, design, or writing – expressing plain simple thoughts and trying to analyse things in more pages than a paragraph. Evolution of the human mind, so to say.

What is the next step for users on Facebook?
Why are the users forwarding, liking, sharing, trash?
What will they hope to achieve after a few years of trash-pushing?
How many pictures will anyone put on Instagram before realising that a picture is an art form and should have some taste and aesthetics?

Social media has dumbed down individuals to a “No Evolution State.”

In gaming, perhaps, one can foresee evolutions, that tomorrow’s computer and online gaming will be better than todays – more complex strategies and scenarios. Besides these, what else can one expect from any social media? Will rehashing contents bring evolution or a dumb breed? Who do we think we will grow up to?

Will spewing venom on the time-line cause all the venom to dry up?

Or have we reached a stasis, social-media-wise?

Over time, the instruments we hold will get ever more powerful. But can we claim the same for our minds, when all it does is scroll?