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Friday, December 8

The Future of Bollywood

That's a pretty grandiose post title...But have been wondering about it for some time. And my Q list grows longer...

What is the yield point of Amitabh Bachchan as a celeb endorser?

Is Karan Johar the new meta brand?

What's the genetic difference between pop-celebrity brands and big Bollywood stars?

How much of Bollywood is enough? Will it ever be enough?

How will the spheres of Bollywood and Hollywood interact in the near future?

At TBWA,had been part of a scenario planning workshop conducted by Gavin Heron, the Shanghai office head! The one in Bombay was centred around Bollywood. I remember we had asked interesting questions...In fact our group had come up with this interesting concept - hotfactory.com, a possible world where hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia and Ramgopal Verma met...

More questions...
Why is Bollywood experimentative?...Is this largely because the industry is/ was so unorganised with pots of hawala money and D Company funding...Therefore, with greater corporatisation, will Bollywood lose its edge, it's risk appetite...

Will Bollywood need account planners? What will the job title/ the role be? Are there existing jobs that we don't know? Can we create some - any ideas?

Will Percept Picturescope be the company to watch for?

Should one send his/ her CV to Dharma productions, e-mail SRK:-)

Will Farhan Akhtar/ Aditya Chopra continue to invent 'cool' and agencies continue to research them with awe, admiration and with time lag?

With the democratisation of creativity and technology will Bollywood still be controlled by a few Khans and Chopras?

Will the centre of Indian entertainment and content universe be still Bollywood in 10 years time?

I have been trying to put these Qs and few possible As together in a longer article...But till now there are more Qs than As...Hmmm:-(

12 comments:

Divya pratap said...

hey manish,

That's a great area of exploration. Some thoughts that I had. Bollywood cinema might turn into more universal stories vs. our strong fixation to our cultural plots. Largely driven by the greed of film makers to earn dollars around the world from even non-NRI audience. May be we see art cinema coming back and finding a global audience that makes it viable, and helps us have some respectable entries in Oscars

Manish said...

Nice thots Divya...Although I am not sure if we can excel in universal plots with the current pool of talent that we have...

yes art cinema seeking a global audience has very Long Tailesh probabilities...

meraj said...

amir khan productions has a team of 'filters'. these guys scan scripts and scripts before zeroing in on a particular one...these guys, use the parameters of quality and populairty (broadly). its a very account plannerish sort of a job.

and now(i believe), even yash raj films has a similar team.

the way i look at it, indian movies will ultimately have 3 separate (and its already happening)sorts:

- big, corporatised production houses like 'The Factory' or a 'Yash Raj with their limited arena within which they will kepp on experimenting till eternity

- fusion houses/film-makers like 'Nagesh Kunkunoor or 'mani ratnam movies' or a 'Deepa Mehta' trying to strike a balance between aesthetics/quality and popularity charts (and succesfully)

- stray, tribal fim-makers like ashvin kumar of 'The Little Terrorist' with their one camera and laptop edited films.

ultimately, us viewers will be the winners, getting more choice and quality.

cheers!

Manish said...

planner as a filter!!!...kya isi din ke liye tumhe padhya likhaya Hasan. LOL

nice slots...there might be another slot-
bollyholly fims - with Crossover themes, actors, technology, locations...

actually there might be many new concepts...

Pooja Nair said...

Very interesting subject to write an article on. Can trust you to write a holistic one covering all possible aspects.

Here are the thoughts that came up in my mind about some of the questions you raised.

Yield point of Amitabh Bachan. Now that is a million dollar question. He has what Mr. Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull would refer to as "Brand Mystique" which is much more than mere brand appeal.

In this country, we'll never have enough of Bollywood. Bollywood is an integral part and more importantly a reflection of India.

I think corporatisation will increase the risk apetite. Not only by the Khans and Chopras but by the Kukunoors and Gowarikars as well!

Thats where i feel planners will come in. To strategise how each film could be used to extract maximum revenues and how the film maker can leverage the desired impact/influence to the maximum.

However, Bollywood's intuitive understanding of the Indian audience beats most researchers/planners hollow.
Infact, planners look at films to understand consumers. With RDB, we understood the DNA of today's youth. yash chopra used his understanding of the indian male in his choice of female leads. It always worked! (They always possesed a certain vulnerableness - naughty, innocent, sweet, talkitive, family girl, looks best in a salwaar kameez or a saree.) Karan Johar and others constantly gives us insights into the Indian psyche.

Will Bollywood be the center of entertainment 10 years from now? I'd say yes. There will be other choices of entertainment but nothing can beat the brilliance of relishing a movie at a theatre!

Specially with multiplexes cropping up in every possible corner - doing everything possible to enhance the movie going experience! 100% reclining seats, blankets to keep warm, merchandise, video games....

Every year 1000's of talented men and women flock to Mumbai nurturing dreams of making it big in Bollywood. Most take more than 10 years to realise their dreams! As long as their dreams remain alive, Bollywood will remain alive!

Manish said...

thanks pooja...planners like Meraj can also write song lyrics and scripts...Strategy without the juice sucks...okay forgive me...had a long day with 2 long pitches...and no help:-)

keep writing...any interesting articles on the dna of Bollywood? Harshal, Ram, Pooja, Meraj..

Anybody bought the book on Manmohan Desai which is lying at Crossword...

Any US university web-site hoarding gyan on Bollywood...pass links ...

ram said...

Unlike other industry vertical where there is mechanism for supply of skilled manpower and leadership, Cinema is at the end a directors medium. Whether it is Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy to Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mera to Mrinal Sen to Ray to Shyam Benegal to Mani ratnam to today Rakesh Mehra, Farhan Akhtar. Finest movies are remembered for the directors.

Now to become one of the directors above, one cant just go and hire them from engineering colleges, have training programs for them etc etc. There is not yet a conveyor belt for the film industry. So even though the hardware infrastructure is being built, the focus is yet to move towards the story tellers, technicians, directors.

And somehow it is difficult to create 100 mani ratnam's like one creates 100 infosys project managers. To become a fine film maker, it requires a sensitivity, an interest in aesthetics, music, visuals and so many more sublimnal quotients. Finally beyond all this one needs the ability to either do or partner with someone to get the movie done..

And unlike other industries, there is the glamour world, testosterone, seduction which is not there when you are a project manager in Infosys or Telco.

So my point is that along with the investments in physical infrastructure, institutional frameworks need to emerge to create the content creators. Not too much happening there yet

Manish said...

ram - brilliant point! maybe you need more visionaries like shekhar kapoor...who i feel recognises the tremendous potential in nurturing the soft power of India( Bollywood being one of them)...

will you partner me in writing this article on 'Crystal Gazing Bollywood'. Maybe we shud have a chat with Shyam Babu one of these days...BTW, Are you in touch with Piya(Benegal)?

pooja nair said...

Strategy without the juice is not fun I agree.

All planners ought to be creative. (if thats what you mean by juice)

Just that writing scripts and lyrics is treading into the space of another discipline. You can't drag that into the job profile of "strategic planning". (my opinion)

But its only natural for good planners to have a natural knack for creative expression which acts as a bonus :)

Apart from nurturing good content creators it is necessary to help them reach the right audience and get their dues. Today, a lot of good talent gets hidden under those that can afford heavy promotional activity.

Thats where I say, planners could become a necessity. he/she may need to contribute during development of the script to planning out publicity among the desired audience and also strategising methods to recover costs and making profits.

The objective of cinema could vary from creative expression (gajagamini) to creating a stir among the audience (RDB, Yuva, Bombay) to plain entertainment (jodi #1, KKHH), to telling a story (lagaan, massoom, dor).

A planner could understand these objectives with the director/ script writer and provide informed inputs on how to acheive them - at every stage of the making of the film and beyond!

Be it in terms of development of characters or setting to writing or overseeing the lyrics/scripts to the regular marketing strategies.

I think thats juicy! :)

Manish said...

once upon a time TV and internet were separate worlds...
once upon a time camera and phone were different...
once upon a time ATL and BTL were different
once upon a time art and copy were done separately
once bollywood and TV were different
once upon a time news and entertainment was different...

i agree what u said can be juicy for Type A planner...But there cud be/ are Type B planner ??

why should all planners be alike...
who makes the rules?
who decides the boundaries of a discipline...
In Bollywood Farhan Akhtar dons the caps of planner, writer, producer, GOD!

why shouldn't there be more iqbal( ogilvy bangalore planner) who is a creative planner...

Having said this u made some very relevant points on Bollywood... cheers ...keep writing!

bali hai said...

enjoyed reading your blog. went through most of it.
love the planners pov on hindi cinema.
on reading nair's comments: the job of understanding the audience reaction is a strange mumbo jumbo brought as knowledge by distributors, exhibitors and producers. a lot of it is still not supported by figures (no guesses why...the biz is done in cash)
for a business that sways masses it still doesn't have industry status. hmmm but now we digress...

Manish said...

thanks Bali...its great to reach out to people beyond advertsing!

checked your blog. loved 'to be a writer. you need'. there is such a lyricism to your writing!

and yes subscribed to your feed.
had gone to a Javed Akhtar lecture yesterday. On Indian Cinema and its role in a Secular India. There were many nuggets which I plan to blog about!