Viacom18 Motion Pictures 'unconventional Indian cinema' journey

MUMBAI: Just five years old in the Indian film industry and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures has successfully changed the dimensions of tried and tested formulas. It has challenged the conventional norms of film making and produced a variety of movies for Indian audiences. Viacom18 Motion Pictures was started in 2010 with an aim to disrupt the tried and tested formulas, to challenge the norms and to ensure that content stood out to be the true winner. With movies like Tanu Weds Manu, Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur, OMG:Oh My God, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Queen, Mary Kom, Gabbar is Back and Margarita with a Straw, Viacom MP has proved that it has the ability to choose the right kind of script based on insights combined with instincts.

This multi-faceted studio backs rare concept based cinema that appeals to the masses, distributes and markets larger-than-life English films that become mega blockbusters in India and has even ventured into regional markets like Marathi, Bengali and South Indian languages. Viacom 18 Motion Pictures has over 100 awards in its kitty.

On completing five successful years of storytelling across 80 films, Viacom18 Media group CEO Sudhanshu Vats said, “Viacom18 Motion Pictures is an integral part of the value proposition of Viacom18 as a media network. Over the last 5 years we have built a distinctive identity for our movie studio that is built around our strong focus on stories. This 'content-first' approach is in synergy with our broadcast and digital business lines and together films, broadcast and digital complete the ecosystem of entertainment that Viacom18 offers its consumers.”

Elaborating further Vats revealed, “Today we have a library of films and lines of businesses that I feel proud of. With each new project we are increasingly integrating a scientific approach based on data mining and analysis, enabling us to incrementally maximize business value for the studio as a whole. We have some interesting projects lined up for the years ahead and I look forward to an exciting future.”

Viacom18 Motion Pictures COO Ajit Andhare said,“Viacom18 Motion Pictures has stood for a distinctive kind of cinema and consistent delivery best reflected not in one film or another but in the collective body of work built over these 5years. A conscious and calibrated business approach of focusing on innovation in films and rooting them in strong viable economics has been our hallmark."

“At the core of Viacom 18, the approach to film making is --  what can we do differently?  What can we do that is not conventional? That approach has been at the heart of a whole lot of things we do. The kind of film universe we have created, the kind of grammar we have created for film making and the kind of films we have stood for have started to occupy the centre stage in the Indian movie industry,” added Andhare.

Further, sharing insights on how Viacom monetizes and markets films, Andhare said, “As a studio we are not just a film making outfit, we are part of a larger media network. Besides box office, the second largest revenue comes from satellite and now the new emerging market is digital. There will be a natural synergy in the group that will make a lot sense. In the broadcasting revenue model where a lot of output will be captive consumed by both of our platforms, some of those things clearly help in monetization.”  

On marketing of the unconventional films, Andhare explained, “Traditional films are led by stars and it is the stars that are marketed, but if you take an unconventional film like Maajhi, it was marketed as an inspirational story. It is difficult to give a specific answer as to how we market films as it all depends on the kind of film we are working on and the content. For each film we have a different marketing strategy.”

“Viacom18 Motion Pictures has consistently stood out for its distinctive kind of cinema delivery, best reflected not in one film or another but in the collective body of work built over these 5 years. A conscious and calibrated business approach of focusing on innovation in films and rooting them in strong viable economics has been our hallmark,” Andhare added.

Before giving a green light to a story there are a few points that the studio keeps in mind in the initial stages he revealed.

“We look at two to three aspects. Firstly, it’s the script. We also have an advisory council which does not work for Viacom, but are independent directors, films enthusiasts, film journalists who share their views on the script and we get the sense from that. Besides that, we also have someone who technically looks after the script. The script is just one layer, apart from that there are performances and there are many parameters that are involved in the judgment,”   said Andhare.

Viacom18 Motion Pictures will relive its blockbusters through a weeklong festival between 11 June and 17 June 2016 that will showcase some of the most successful and loved films from its library. Launched in collaboration with Cinepolis, this festival will be a multi-city treat for movie lovers across Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore showcasing hits like Kahaani, Manjhi - The Mountain Man, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Queen and Gangs of Wasseypur I & II.

“We will continue to be unconventional in our films and conventional in our business approach that focuses on return on capital. As we complete five years we feel inspired from what we have achieved and are spurred on to play a central role in shaping Indian cinema in our journey ahead,” asserted Andhare in conclusion. 


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