A bad year doesn't dent stature of superstars: Abundantia's Vikram Malhotra

By Ravi Bansal New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Producer Vikram Malhotra of Abundantia Entertainment believes one under-performing year cannot weaken the dominance of superstars in the Hindi film industry.In 2018, films headlined by three Khans -- "Zero" of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman's "Race 3" and Aamir Khan-starrer "Thugs of Hindostan" -- did not do well at the box office, whereas small-budget movies like "Badhaai Ho", "Raazi" and "Stree" did exceptionally well.The producer says while the audiences want high-quality stories, they are also equally interested in watching a star-driven film."The stars, which we are talking about, have been stars for a quarter of a century or more in some cases and have continued to be relevant for the audience across generations. They have delivered countless number of hits and so one under-performing film or one bad year does not dent them in any manner," Malhotra told PTI in an interview.The producer, who has frequently collaborated with one of Bollywood's most bankable actors Akshay Kumar, believes that "the marriage between the stories and the stars that headline them" now needs to be perfect. "You can't take a bad story and headline with a star and make it a hit. Similarly, you can't stake a good story and feel it can't work because it does not have a big star toplining it."Malhotra and his banner are again working with Akshay for a new Amazon Prime Video series, "The End". They previously came together for "Baby", "Airlift" and "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha". The producer says their relationship with the "Kesari" star is one of "professional and personal respect, trust and understanding"."We look for the same synergy and sensibilities in our story. Akshay is an individual whom I deeply respect, not only because for his craft but also for the work ethics that he possesses. "He has the desire to do something different and constantly innovate with the kind of stories that he produces and is a part of. I think it is a testimony to this relationship that something as ambitious as 'The End' has come to fruition," Malhotra adds.The banner has also acquired the rights to develop a Bollywood remake of Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley-starrer musical "Begin Again".Malhotra says the only right way to go about remaking a story is by acquiring the official rights from the original makers. "It's not a norm, it's law. You better take legal clearances, permissions and rights to recreate somebody else's intellectual property... The awareness about this matter has become greater because of the advent of social media. "I think people who are not taking rights and therefore, illegally reproducing or remaking content based on intellectual property rights owned by other, they will be called out faster because people today are not in a mood to let such things go. To that effect, I think that's a good development towards a cleaner industry," he says. PTI RB RDSRDS