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Bollywood to be a part of global animation phenomena

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Post Bollywood to be a part of global animation phenomena - October 4th, 2008




It does come as a surprise to hear Indian character names like Charlie Anna resonate through the iconic Walt Disney headquarters in Burbank, California. Or to hear a loud guffaw when what one would imagine is typical ‘Mumbaiiya’ lingo spoken with a heavy South Indian accent say, “Tension Not, I Yam the Boss.”

But then Bollywood is the name of the game in the hushed portals of big Hollywood studios since the last few years. Each holds a long-term view and every possible research report is being done. In a nutshell, all the mind-boggling figures and research point out that the only way to ensure an Indian eyeball is to get him to the movies, if not to a game of cricket.

But, mind you, Indian movies for Hollywood, through all these years, are still at the low end of the revenue pie, even with all the languages they are now dubbed in. This, paradoxically, is also the reason why they have headed to Indian shores - some with JVs, some with tie-ups - trying to see if they can tap the right local talent and nurture it to grow as a good, sustainable entertainment business in India.

Let’s Start From the Beginning

Walt Disney began telling stories nearly a century ago. And over the years his company has kept his legacy alive by adding to that cache. Some stories have become iconic, some have not; but most always get recall as Disney Films. And that is the difference, says Andy Bird, president, Walt Disney International.

“Ninety per cent of what we make is made in Burbank and exported. The way we saw the world evolving, we saw that technology was advancing and changing the very way consumers were taking in entertainment, markets were evolving and fast. We observed that Bollywood captures as much as 97% of the market.

Yet what we definitely did not want to do was to come to India and flood the markets with our logo slapped onto products and movies. We wanted Disney to get an emotional connect with India,” explains Bird, as he sits in his boardroom in Burbank, with a panaromic view of the city spread out behind him.

So began the journey: from snapping up the Hungama channel to get local content, from UTV to picking up stake in the same company, to inking a three-animation film deal with Yashraj Films (YRF), a foray into international distribution with Aamir Khan’s Tare Zameen Par, to finally going solo with their own four live action films.

Bird’s dream is long term - as much as a decade or even more. “Even 10-15 years down the line if an Indian family says ‘lets go and see a Disney film’, we should have achieved what we set out to,” says Bird.

That is what Bob Iger, chairman of the $36 billion conglomerate, succinctly says is the Disney Difference. A philosophy which has been the driving force of the Disney company since he took over from Michael Eisner in 2006.

A Very Good Place to Start.

In the beginning was Mickey Mouse and he still rules the roost in terms of brand, recall and revenue - worth billions. Creating brands and franchisees is also the Disney forte, says Bird And, from animation to more recent live action and even TV, Disney has been doing just that. Yet animation and India is something that not even Hollywood's best offering has been able to hit the jackpot with.

So then, why Roadside Romeo?

Maybe at a fraction of the budget of Pixar’s films...maybe the biggest animation investment from an Indian movie point of view. Yet, taking risks is what the movies are all about. And Bird knows it.

“Yes, it is a risk. But the world loves animation. So why not India? We do have a tough job ahead of us, it’s a great story. Yashraj Films know their movies. The Indian context is there, there are some great musical numbers and, technically, it is a great product,” says Bird. He is not harbouring great expectations, but is sure that the Indian market will deliver. Patience is the key - something which he has in abundance. “It is a marathon, not a sprint. We want to be here for decades,” adds Bird.

When You Read, You Begin With.

A B C...said Julie Andrews in Sound of Music. Disney has begun animation right from A for India. The few attempts made so far have not been anywhere compared to the YRF-Disney attempt. And they are willing to wait till the alphabets are read out fully. An industry estimate of Rs 25-30 crore is not cheap. And the plan is (said to be) to go with a full print run, like any other big blockbuster movie.

There are, like Iger’s philosophy, many factors where one can spot the Disney Difference. Right from the merchandise - which contributes as much as 12-15% to the overall Disney revenue pie internationally - is also important here and has been planned eight months before Roadside Romeo’s release.

For the first time, this had followed a style guide like their international counterparts and has involved director Jugal Hansraj from the concept stage.

“It’s not about slapping the logo or the film name all over...it is about extending the experience, bringing the story to life and to make products whose appeal goes beyond the movie. So whether it is Charlie Anna’s lines, which we believe will catch on like ‘I Yam the Boss’, or a high-end range of jewellery with Romeo-Laila romance, there is an attempt to build a story beyond the story,” says Roshini Bakshi, regional director, Disney Consumer Products, (Emerging Markets, Asia).

When You Sing, You Begin With Do Re Mi....

And whether Bird and Mahesh Samat, managing director, Walt Disney India, will be singing after Romeo (Saif Ali Khan) and Laila (Kareena Kapoor) romance on the rooftops of Mumbai and Charlie Anna (Javed Jaaferi) tries his hand at playing Don will be an audience call.

“Creativity, technology and international growth were the three focus areas for us. As for content, there is no local or global content, there is just good content. And with figures like 3.6 bn movie admissions, a box-office looking to read $7 bn in five years, 350 million kids in the 14 year age group which is bigger than the US population, 300 million mobile users growing at 8 m per month, India is a story which has to happen,” concludes Samat.
So let the magic begin.


SOURCE : ECONOMIC TIMES
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Re: Bollywood to be a part of global animation phenomena
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Re: Bollywood to be a part of global animation phenomena - October 5th, 2008

Hey

THANKS for the new information you posted here..

It was interesting.

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