By Onkar Nath:
It is certainly not common in Bollywood to find the merging of two great film production houses to create a world –class portfolio of content. It also happens in Hollywood where creativity rules instead of the family legacy. I welcome the move of Walt Disney in acquiring Lucasfilm. If you see the perspectives of both the production houses, both the houses have a vision for long term sustainable growth in the area of creativity. The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them. I quite liked Disney’s strategy of acquiring valuable intellectual property and monetizing it on a global scale.
In a statement by George Lucas, the Chairman of Lucasfilms said that it was now time to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. Nobody will deny the fact that Star Wars, one of the greatest films ever made totally belongs to George Lucas. He made this franchise out of his passion, vision and extraordinary storytelling ability but he now felt the need to pass on the legacy during his lifetime. He will of course be the creative consultant to Walt Disney on the next Star Wars movie. On the other hand, Walt Disney is absolutely fitted with the ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multi-platform distribution on a global basis. Walt Disney has also announced the release of Star Wars VII in 2015.
Walt Disney has already proven their acquisition strategy to be a successful move by acquiring Pixar and Marvel. It is very evident that the Marvel characters have flourished under Walt Disney’s management, at least as far as the summer blockbuster The Avengers is concerned. The acquisition of Pixar, Marvel and now Lucasfilm is going to complement the Disney brand that has had some wonderful family content in the pipeline for many years.
On a downside, I think the valuation of the Star Wars franchise is on the higher side. Another doubt I have in my mind is the ability of Walt Disney to create the same Star Wars franchise what George Lucas had made. For any film, the director is the captain who is supported by a team. George Lucas comes into the league of filmmakers with great vision and extraordinary talent. His ideas seemed to be boundless considering the characters from all over the universe in his film. The next director will have to match the passion and insight of George Lucas to make the next Star Wars movie.
A lesson is indeed to be learnt in this case and I would like the Bollywood production houses to learn from the way Hollywood works. If I see the biggest production houses of Bollywood in the 60s, 70s and the 80s, they are either gone or are slowly fading. The biggest example is the R.K Films. A studio which was started by Prithvi Raj Kapoor and flourished under the great showman Mr Raj Kapoor is not producing any films anymore. There are many other examples like Navketan films, MKD Films, B.R. Chopra films which are now no more in the limelight. I am afraid that after some years, some of the biggest production houses of today like Dharma productions, Yash Raj Films, Red Chillies Entertainment, etc. will be forgotten. As a film lover, I do not want to lose the charm that these great filmmakers and production houses left behind for us to see and would want my children to relish the same.