Danny Boyle, director of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, while accepting the Oscar for Best Direction, made a special mention of Mumbai and Mumbaikars, who had “even dwarfed this little guy (pointing to his Golden Oscar trophy)”. It was a recognition of sorts of the India-effect at the 81st Academy Awards, held at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre on February 23.
For India, the Oscars were extra sweet as AR Rahman bagged two for Original Score and Song, and Resul Pookutty bagged one for Sound Mixing. Then, of course, there was Gulzar, who penned the lyrics for the winning song ‘Jai Ho’, which in all likelihood could take over the ubiquitous greeting of ‘Namaste’, at least for a while.
Amid all the celebratory frenzy, it makes sense to ask what impact would the glorification of a film made on India have on the Indian media industry, the international acclaim notwithstanding. exchange4media asked a few industry experts to find out more.
Mona Jain, India Head - Strategic Investments, India Media Exchange, believes that because of the film, new Indian talent would be welcomed and appreciated. “There will be enormous exposure for India in foreign territory. India was only associated with song and dance before the film happened, all of that has now changed drastically,” she added.
The Indian media industry will now closely have exchanges with their foreign counterparts, which would improve the content to a great degree. In fact, star appeal would increase and, of course, brand endorsements would take an interesting turn.
Manish Porwal, CEO, Percept Talent Management, said that the success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ would have a definite impact on the media landscape per se. He explained, “With all the action around the movie, the implications on the media space would be high. Unlike the earlier situation, when you were selling an Indian movie to just the Indian Diaspora in India and abroad, now there is a market for an Indian story even in the other international markets.” In terms of ad revenues, Porwal said, “The ad rates for the telecast of the movie would be high, and one reason for that is that one can expect good viewership for the movie.”
Adding on to that, R Gowthaman, Leader, Mindshare South Asia, talked about the advantages Sony Pix would have for being the first to telecast the film. He said, “The movie would be a tent-pole for the channel for sure, and it makes sense for them, or anyone else, to leverage it completely. They would definitely be selling at higher rates and making the most of the opportunity. At present, the movie has generated a high level of interest and many would like to watch it.”
The success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has played a significant role in opening doors for Indian Cinema to the Western markets. One can expect more Hollywood-Bollywood joint collaborations in future, and definitely a more aggressive and planned way of marketing Indian films abroad to a varied audience.
However, at the same time, the impact of this success is limited only to the big screen content. For traditional media, the impact would not be that huge.