While more and more events like the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2004) are coming up to promote Hindi films to the global stage, these are also creating a platform for movie channels like Zee Cinema to explore business opportunities, Steven Fernandes reports from Goa – the venue of IFFI 2004.
This reporter visited the Zee Cinema stall to find out what the channel was doing at the Film Bazar at IFFI 2004. “We wish to be present and associated with any thing to do with Indian cinema as long it is on a large scale and impactful,” said Bharat Ranga, Business Head, Zee Cinema. Ranga shared that the channel wished to reach out to various constituents of the media and entertainment fraternity to help build brand equity for the channel and reinforce the fact that in terms of viewership and reach it was the biggest movie channel in the world. The channel’s presence at the event was part of an exercise to consolidate its association with various trade and industry organisations like CII, FICCI, HFDC and FFI.
Ranga and his team have attracted quite a number of delegates to the stall with their innovative channel promos that are continuously being looped at the stall. Their promo ‘Paap ka Anth’ is hyped as ‘the two-minute blockbuster’. It is a clever spoof that blends the clichés and ‘masala’ elements of various movies including ‘Sholay’ and ‘Bandit Queen’. Two other promos also play on stereotypical characters in Hindi cinema. The channel intends to reinforce their ‘M’ mantra of Movies…Masti…Magic at the Film Bazar.
Ranga also wished to convey to members of the film fraternity that the channel was also doing service to Hindi cinema by demonstrating to producers the potency of television. He reinforced his statement by mentioning films like ‘Om Jai Jagdish’ and ‘Tarzan’ which had a poor theatrical release but was hit on Zee Cinema, which used innovative packaging to attract greater number of eyeballs. He said it also underscored that there was more loyal audience at home as compared to theatrical audiences.
Though Zee Cinema is essentially a mainstream movie channel, Ranga indicated the channel’s plans to explore possibilities of picking up films from festivals and dubbing/subtitling them if they are acceptable to Indian sensibilities and mindsets. Asked about future initiatives, Ranga said that Zee Cinema would participate “wherever Indian cinema is celebrated”. He added, “We wish to be an integral part of these celebrations.” With the competition heating up Zee Cinema looks set to move aggressively to the top gear.
While events and on-air promotions are coming up with great support to the Hindi film industry, there seems to be many reasons for the industry to croon happy melodies.
IFFI 2004 opened to the tunes of Subhash Ghai’s soon-to-be released film 'Kisna – The Warrior Poet'. The audience was treated to a performance by the maestro AR Rahman, with a team of 60 musicians. The performance featured two songs from the film. Also performing live on the occasion will be famous danseuse Isha Shravani, who makes her debut opposite Vivek Oberoi in the same film.
How about the business prospect from the music? Steven Fernandes spoke to Shridhar Subramaniam of Sony Music for some answers. Subramaniam was of the opinion that Kisna was a blend of tremendous talent, Subhash Ghai’s prowess, Javed Akhtar’s lyrics, Ismail Durbar’s music, Isha’s dance and Vivek Oberoi’s acting – all that make it a winner. “This blend could be a factor in boosting sales of the music as well. The music has a global appeal, which should see it do well internationally,” he felt.
Given the current sluggishness in sales in the music industry, Subramaniam said that it was very important to appraise a film by weighing its various components and gauging its overall saleability.
Another cause for concern is that newer customer segments including kids and young adults are listening to a lot of music, which sadly has not translated into sale. The magic mantra of getting the customer to buy music seems to be eluding the film industry. Whether oodles of talent in all departments from direction to screenplay to of course, music composition can work the magic for Hindi film music remains to be seen.