Updated: 09:50 PM
MUMBAI: In the age of instant noodles and even instant sex, why should entertainers from the world of music, television and films wait for as long as a year or even six months for their 15 seconds of fame? It was this thought that led to the conceptualization of the ‘Life OK Now Awards’, a partnership between Star Plus’ sister channel, Life OK, and BIG Productions.
Billed as the country’s first instant awards celebrating excellence in the field of film, television and music, they will be held every month, with the first edition scheduled for 31 May and film star Akshay Kumar roped in as its face. According to Life OK general manager Ajit Thakur, “In the events space, we went ahead and did the Screen Awards, which we are quite happy about, but we always thought of them as a product that we got and took to the next level. By contrast, this initiative is our own innovation.”
Further explaining the thought behind the awards, Thakur said, “It’s not that Bollywood releases movies only three or four times a year. It’s the same like television; we keep launching shows every now and then and the same goes for music. So this is where the whole insight came from that if there is so much excellent work happening week after week and month after month, why should the celebration, rewards and coming together happen only once or twice a year? That was the basic premise on which we worked with Big Productions and turned the whole thing on its head.”
The ‘Life OK Now Awards’ have been conceptualized by Life OK and will be produced by Big Productions along with 92.7 BIG FM as radio partner.
Thakur recalled that when RBNL CEO Tarun Katial and he met a month ago to discuss something interesting, they never imagined that 30 days of thinking would get such a WOW reaction from the industry. With Life OK planning to get at least six sponsors for the awards and huge amounts of money required every month, are clients ready for this? “We have been pitching it only for the last 15 days because the earlier 15 days went into finalizing the idea. We have four-five powered by and associate sponsors. We are in the middle of locking the main sponsor,” said Thakur.
The channel has got wild stone as it's powered by sponsor. Though Life OK officials chose to remain tight lipped about financial details of the show, an industry source revealed that the channel is expecting close to anywhere between Rs 80,000 to Rs 100,000 per 10 seconds slot.
The ‘Now’ awards encompass film, music and TV, and are not restricted to television alone. “It is not a television award show at all. It is primarily a Bollywood show and will happen every month unless we feel that there is a particular month in the year where there are not enough film releases. We may skip say July while during Diwali, we may do something much better depending on the scale of releases,” said Thakur.
This month's shoot will be shot on 21 May at Reliance Studio and will telecast on 31 May at 8 pm. Significantly, these awards will see no involvement of the jury save for short-listing movies. Even the Life OK shows that will be chosen will be purely on the basis of ratings. While seven categories will remain constant from month to month, Life OK plans to introduce newer categories every month, depending on the film releases during that month. For the first edition of the awards, voting will go live from 15 May.
There will be categories like best actor (male and female), best movie, best picturised song and Life OK hero of the month and many more. Each subsequent edition of the awards will have a different face. “It is a great platform for these actors to promote their movies. Otherwise, they only get to promote their films on reality shows. This way, every month, they will have a platform to promote their films and even the music,” said Big Productions business head Rajesh Chadha.
Speaking of movies nominated for the ‘Now’ awards, would ‘B’ and ‘C’ grade films qualify? “Television is a mass platform. We also want to promote experimental content. I don’t categorize films as ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade but each film which has got noticed by the audience will be taken into consideration. Remember, small films need all such platforms as compared to big films in terms of budget,” said Thakur.
Wouldn’t there be a saturation point with so many awards flooding the market? “Depends on how you see it. If you look at celebration of good content, talking, showcasing, presenting good content and interacting with your favorite stars; I don’t think there is any problem then. Look at the content on your channel and look at the content on your online platform, look at the content in the extension of the newspapers, every day, there is content around Bollywood, television and music,” said Thakur. “I don’t think there will be saturation. Today, supplements are growing thicker by the day because people want to know about things. For me, if there is so much content and so much curiosity and so much engagement with respect to entertainment, then why would you postpone the celebration, rewards and recognition? Many people work hard to make one film and by January next year, with 500 films, the smaller films get lost. I don’t think there is any saturation.”
Regarding the association with BIG FM, Thakur said, “I think the 45 stations are great to take the message across. They are our only media coverage; we have not roped in any other media partner.”
Are the ‘Now’ awards just an experiment? “We don’t give up easily on something which we are quite excited about. We are not going to give up on the experiment for sure. But I also think it is not going to be an overnight success, so we have to be different in every way. It will take time for us to build it but we will be on it,” said Thakur. “Both the industry feedback and advertisers’ feedback has been excellent. People have come and told us they want to sponsor from July to October.”
Starting with the first edition, every installment will be shot around the middle of the month and telecast over the last weekend of the month. Viewers can avail exclusive content by giving a missed call on 1800 270 8701 or downloading the Life OK Now Awards app from the Android Store or Google Play or by logging into www.lifeok.com/NowAwards.