Sunday, January 07, 2007


Movies have always intrigued me as a medium of entertainment. I am one of those who lose themselves in the movie and leave the analysis part to when the movie is actually completed. I also believe that any movie can be watched once, because what a individual takes from a movie purely depends on his tastes and moods. You could hate a movie that you watch and watch it after some time and end up loving it. The art of movie making is to understand the offering to the movie watcher. Is the product an art, is it a medium of escape (you can call it entertainment) or is it a transformational product that is trying to bring about a change in the audience by giving a message. You never know which aspect might lead to a commercial success. Movies evolved from theatre and hence the evolution of theatre is a key aspect that shapes the way we look at movies. In India the idea of theatre was primary roadside shows that used mythological stories as a base to bring out the abilities and the message if that was intended. Through the era of economic degradation our movies provided the chance for the average man to transport himself into a magical world where anything was possible. That is, cinema was a pure source of entertainment. Therefore hero worship, rags to riches, good over evil were all underlying themes. You did have geniuses who combined entertainment with very poignant story telling, so that their art was showcased too. But, segments of the country have moved on and in an era where we all are judged by how good we are, this segment of the audience has come to demand a certain amount of quality for the money they spend. Since, this group is economically quite important, movies have improved in technical quality while still maintaining that sense of the impossible. (Foreign locales, sculpted bodies, heroes fighting with 50 goons etc). There are also movies that cater to the still evolved audience through stereotypes, your sentimental family stories and the crass comedies. But such segmentation is what is clearly needed as a clear marketing mechanism. So, you have multiplex movies, rural movies, family movies etc. Where does this leave the art of movie making? That falls in the lap of a single individual, the director. He is the person who chooses the amount of detail that is required in a movie, the kind of acting required, the way the story is treated and transforming a story to a product. So what is a hit formula? Simple, there cannot be one, because the products are different. You can just hope that the you make a movie which has an intent, a single product or a multiple product (art and entertainment, art and message etc). The success is increased by using an actor/actress who is seen as aspiration, having hummable songs (yes, this is our own unique Indian trait, we need octave kind of music which makes us ‘jhoom’) and good technical quality. The result finally rests with the market and how they classify your product. The good thing about movies in this era is that with revenue streams being available you can also de-risk your product. That is your best strategy.

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