`Bhaggmati' aims to cash in on animation


NEW DELHI: It's finally here. India's first live action and animated 2D film, Bhaggmati, The Queen of Fortunes, is here and will make its debut on Friday (26 August) in cinema halls across the country hoping to cash in on its technological and romantic appeal.

Zee Telefilms, which has produced the Rs. 50 million heady cocktail of romance and animation, is leaving no stones unturned to market the animation product as it feels there's definitely audiences for such a fare in India and overseas.


"Amidst the gore and mush being heaped upon people these days, we feel Bhaggmati will certainly appeal to audiences cutting across age groups as it's like a breath of fresh air," said Essel Group (parent entity of Zee Tele) vice-president Ashish Kaul, who's also in charge of marketing and distribution of the film.

Kaul's optimism stems from the fact that Bhaggmati is the first Indian celluloid product that would have real life people interacting with animated characters as an evergreen love story is told.

For starters, Zee Telefilms is releasing 50 prints across the country with an eye on the multiplexes and the type of audiences that frequent such places.

"We are trying to make sure that the sampling by people is correct as even a small glitch in a cinema hall will diminish the technological marvel of the film," Kaul said, adding that unlike animation done in the West generally, Bhaggmati's animation work has been done the classical way --- manually and painstakingly --- over seven million hand-drawn frames.

Talks are on with some international players, including Eros International, to distribute the film overseas. The home video and DVD rights for the overseas market are likely to be given to Venus.


Zee is releasing the film in countries like France, Russia and the UK. The effort is to get audiences from places where the Indian art and culture are popular.

"I cannot disclose the details right now, but we are on the verge of closing the international distribution deal, which will open the world market for the film," Kaul said.

Back home, the DVDs for home screening would be released after a month of the theatrical debut by Shemaroo in all probability.

The film has been directed by former defence personnel, Major Ashok Kaul. The cast includes Milind Soman, Tabu, Hema Malini besides a host of animated characters.

Tabu plays the role of a student of archaeology who visits Golconda fort to undertake research on the lives of Qutab Quli Shah and Bhaggmati. In course of her stay there, she meets Milind Soman, who is a descendent of the Qutab Shahi dynasty.

"Her interpretation of the findings about the lives of these characters find their expression through animation", explains Kaul.

Apart from Zee channels that would be used for promotional activities, a tie-up has been done with GO Fm radio in Mumbai. Of course, the outdoor route too has been taken in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, in addition to various contests being run where prizes could be won by sending SMS to the universal access number of Zee Telefilms.

The promotional budget for the film has been pegged at around Rs. 10 million.

Bhaggmati is a legendary love story between prince Mohd. Quili Qutub Shah and the beautiful Bhaggmati. History says that the fourth Qutb Shahi ruler built the city of Hyderabad at the behest of his lady love.

This film is of two hours and 40 minutes duration with about half of it in animation.

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