Television

Catching the viewer in his den

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Selecting a subject that has all the shades of a typical Bollywood thriller. Producing a two-minute movie out of it. Releasing it in theatres across India. And also marketing the movie. We are not talking about some experimental filmmaker?s box office gamble. This is Zee Cinema?s film venture Paap Ka Anth, which the channel launched to promote the Zee Cinema brand.

Produced by Zee Cinema and conceptualised by FCB Ulka and Zee Cinema Marketing, Paap Ka Anth is directed by Rajesh Krishnan of Foot Candles. The movie was released on 22 October in approximately 70 theatres across India.

According to Zee Network assistant vice president marketing Prakash Ramchandani, the whole idea was to promote the movie channel brand through the medium of cinema itself. He says the film is not just a promo with all pretty faces in it.

"The effort was to portray the essence of Zee cinema in particular and Indian cinema in general through a work that would ultimately underline the strength of Zee Cinema," he says.

Paap Ka Anth opens with a scene where a young Champakali is having an argument with her teacher (Vijay Raaz). Then she is kidnapped by a dacoit, grows up in a world of crime, and returns to extract her revenge and finally becomes the patron of dance institute.

According to Zee Cinema, Zee Music business head Bharat Ranga, the challenge was to create a promo that matches the reputation of a ten-year-old brand. He says that is the reason why the channel went for a film which in a subtle manner conveys the message that Zee Cinema has been transforming the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary entertainment.

"The subtlety had to be taken care of," Ranga stresses.

FCB Ulka COO Nitin Karkare says the effort was to capture the essence of Zee Cinema. The message is conveyed in an entertaining manner. The language of cinema has been used to convey the message loud and clear.

For director Rajesh Krishnan, the movie was special because it gave him the creative freedom, which normally eludes him while making ad films. "I felt like I was working on a full-length feature film," he says.

Shot in Chennai where the locales resembled the locations of Sholay, the story line is inspired by the life of Phoolan Devi. The basic elements of action, song and dance, kids, father, love, revenge, which are being considered as must for any Bollywood entertainer, are employed in this movie in an attempt to create the Bollywood mood.

The novel idea of releasing the promo in theatres came from the thought that you will find the collective audience of a movie channel in cinema halls only. The innovative idea of creating a movie for promoting a movie channel was backed by this smart placing. Zee Cinema will be launching the movie in the channel shortly. Ramchandani said there was no move to show a longer version of this two-minute movie in the channel.

On the marketing front, Zee Cinema advertised the release of the movie in newspapers. The ad was placed along with the release-advertisements of other movies. Post-release, advertisements announcing the fine rating of the movie were placed in the papers. The channel is also planning to come out with a cartoon strip of Paap Ka Anth in Chacha Choudhary comics.

The channel had a smart plan on the release schedule of the movie also. Paap Ka Anth was released on the Dussehra day and now the Diwali festival season follows. Says Ramchandani, "We released it during Dussehra since a lot of other films were due for release that occasion. The film will be running in theatres the entire month of Diwali. We have released it targeting Diwali because a lot of big movies are releasing during Diwali and that will help us to capture a good audience."

Speaking on the response from the public, Ranga says, "We have received encouraging feedback from theatres on the viewers? response," He says the final picture is yet to emerge.

So how much the channel has invested on the film? Ranga is not forthcoming on the figures. "Big monies are spent. It is not just the production cost. The release, the distribution, everything that goes into the release of a normal movie had to be taken care of in this case also," is only what he could divulge.

Speaking on the channel?s plans to come out with more promotional campaigns, Ranga offers: Our efforts won?t end with just one commercial activity. There is so much on the pipeline. The idea is to communicate with the viewer directly. We will be doing it more often."

"There will be more surprises," Ramchandani promises.

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