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Filmy Fundas from Bollywood's Big Daddies

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The session on The New frontiers for Film chaired by Amit Khanna, had eminent film makers Subhash Ghai, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, G Venkatesharwan (GV Films), and Abhik Mitra (Saregama),

Rajesh Bhatia (Ripples Entertainment) and Senthil Kumar (Real Image) .

Mukta Arts chairman Subhash Ghai talked about the emrgence of production houses. He said that right since 1930, with the emergence of cinema in India, film studios such as Prabhat Studios, Bombay Talkies took the lead and produced cost-effective quality movies. He gave examples of the Big Five in Hollywood- Paramount, MGM, Fox, RKO and Warner - which dominated film production and distribution in America. He felt that Indian producers should emulate the Hollywood principles of major studios corporatising and streamlining the process of filmaking.

Film Maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra spoke at length on marketing Indian movies abroad. In his inimitable informal style, he said that it's time for Indian Cinema to look beyond the conventional domestic territories and make products for global audiences.

He said that the uniqueness of Indian films with musical songs should be positioned well and marketed rather than hidden and looked as a drawback.

He ended with a confident positive note that "let's show the world what this part of the planet can really do.'"

He was followed by Saregama managing director Abhik Mitra who spoke on the way forward for the Indian music industry.

The Indian market through the second largest in volume teams, is positioned 14th/15th in value terms.There is a global market for Indian Music which should be tapped. "All that is needed is proper branding," he said.

Though 2001 was the worst in the history of the music industry, he felt that the worst was behind it. The Indian music market in 2001-2002 is Rs 1,100 crores (Rs 11,000 million) roughly, he said.

In future, he expected consolidation to take place and expressed the need for film producers and music companies to work closly together.

G.V. Films managing director G.Venkateshwaran expressed his views on developing alternative sources of revenue. He felt that films should be used surrogately to promote consumer products. He also gave many ideas that industry can tap as alternate sources of revenue.

Real Images director Senthil Kumar spoke on the digitalisation of cinema. He gave a presentation on the benifits of going digital. While the initial costs for the equipment are high, the production costs significally reduce as "digi-prints" cost 10 per cent of the cost of a traditional film.

Ripples Entertainment's Rajesh Bhatia highlighted the fact that if films are well marketed, success can't be far behind.

Khanna stressed on the fact that cinema is all about storytelling. He said that cinema is on the cusp of the next big change. He hilariously said that films in India are sold on a territorial basis which is not based on geographically-defined boundaries as we know today but in pre-independence terms with the regions being CP-CI (Central Provinces of Central India), Nizam, Saurashtra etc.

All in all, the session generated a lot of participation and interest thanks to the presence of luminaries such as Ghai, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Amit Khanna.

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