top of page

Shah Rukh Khan: In the digital era, power will not remain in hands of big production houses

Shah Rukh Khan at the Economic Times Global Business Summit (BCCL/Ranjit Kumar)

He wants to belong to the future of cinema as much as he has belonged to it for the last 26 years. He believes that dramatic changes will take place in filmmaking, in the way audiences are entertained. And though he feels that stars like him are a dying breed – in his own words, "woh toh nahi milega", in the future – he also believes that the digital platform of cinema will churn out bigger stars, albeit without the longevity.

At the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2018, Shah Rukh Khanspoke about the digital push in Bollywood. Highlighting the fact that India is one of the greatest untapped markets in digital consumerism, he said, "The dynamics of selling a film, of attracting viewers to it and even of critiquing it are going to change drastically."

However, the actor said that ideas and storytelling will remain intrinsic to filmmaking. "Ideas ensnare emotions. Emotions can create or destroy civilizations. So we have to sell the right ideas," said SRK.

The audience at the business summit 'Our movies have to become shorter' Digitisation of content, according to SRK, is the biggest change that the entertainment world has seen in the recent past. Talking about how it will affect films, particularly Bollywood films, in future, the actor said, "There will be a radical movement away from the content itself. Movies are going to be shorter. They will be without intervals." So, will song and dance be a thing of past in Bollywood? "We can retain our songs and dances, it's our USP. But films have to be tighter. People do not have time, and investment of time is the biggest investment one makes today. So we need to adapt to that," said SRK. 'Cinema halls won’t shut down, but they will become more exclusive and expensive' Just like content, the actor believes that movie viewing itself will change, thanks to the advent of technology – be it in terms of smartphones and tablets on which one consumes cinema or the digital platforms that churn out exclusive content. "There will be no need for appointment with cinema. Cinema will be at will, you can watch it whenever you want to watch, wherever you want to watch. However, I don't think cinema halls will close down. But it will be much more exclusive and much more expensive, it will be like Broadway theatre." 'Power will no longer be in the hands of a few production companies' Shah Rukh believes that a democratic process will evolve, because of digitisation of content, that will ensure that big production houses no longer call the shots. The actor explained, "Due to the easy flow of ideas in digital world, power will not be restricted in the hands of me or other big production houses. There will be a more democratic process via which you will understand the demand that's there for a kind of cinema. The audience will straightaway give feedback, as it is already happening in the digital film platforms." He added, "Instead of stories based on physical geographical boundaries, they are going to be based more on social, psychological geography. This will be so as everyone will be available to exchange ideas on the digital world."

'For an actor, the platform is not important' So can we expect SRK to do a film for the digital platform? "Why not? Platform is not important for acting. For a true blue actor, which I believe I am, you just need a stage. I have done TV, theatre…I have risen from there. They were not just stepping stones. So the platform does not take away from the importance of acting," said SRK, while replying to a question at the event.

Personalising the movie-viewing experience According to SRK, we are looking at a future where a movie buff can change the course of a film's narrative, depending on his personal interest. "There is going to be a big change in the viewer and how he watches a film. Soon, a movie is going to become interactive. You can change the ending. You can change the characters. For instance, you are watching the same film with your children, but each of you can change the storyline. All this will add value to entertainment," he explained.