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Pranab Kapadia, Director at Moviegoers Entertainment Limited & Co-Producer at Hope Productions

Cinema on Big Screen Will Bounce Back

admin   July 20, 2021

Despite the pandemic hitting the entertainment industry hard, Pranab Kapadia, Director at Moviegoers Entertainment Limited & Co-Producer at Hope Productions is hopeful of its revival adding that F9, RRR, Bell Bottom, Suryavanshi are the films that will be enjoyed only on the big screen.

What made you venture into Moviegoers Entertainment? Especially after spending over a decade in Eros Entertainment?

It’s been an amazing, fruitful and immensely enriching 13 years for me at Eros. Over the years, Eros became home to me and my colleagues, my family. I started out with business head responsibilities for Europe & Africa but gradually assumed a wider role of President Distribution – International thanks to the trust and faith our then CEO Jyoti Deshpande reposed in me. Through the years, I also had the opportunity of working closely with our Chairman Kishore Lulla who is a pioneer and visionary of the India film industry. He, along with his brother, MD Sunil Lulla guided and empowered me. This gave me the confidence to deliver my best. I always wanted to set up something of my own. When Eros decided to focus on their OTT platform Eros Now, I thought it to be an opportune time for me to explore theatrical and other distribution opportunities through my company Moviegoers Entertainment Limited.

How has been this journey (especially during pandemic times)? There has been a lot of activity in Moviegoers Entertainment in recent times…

Life has changed for everybody since the pandemic, especially for all businesses in Hospitality and Entertainment sector. With cinemas closed and shootings stopped, there was no activity in theatrical distribution. But content was being consumed in a big way on OTT platforms. With the support of industry well-wishers, colleagues and friends, we secured exclusive representation rights to integrate Indian content partners on Super Aggregator Platform Screenhits – a game changing Media Tech company founded by the supremely talented Rose Hulse. ScreenHits TV is committed to provide consumers with a single sign-in and easy-to-use interface that combines their pre-existing streaming subscription services, videos and live channels thereby minimizing streaming fatigue by helping viewers discover and seamlessly watch content across leading streaming providers. We are also in the process of taking Screenhits into India and will soon be announcing a tie-up with leading industry media veterans as our joint venture partners.

You have seen the cinema much closer than many others… From the traditional theatrical distribution to streaming.

Yes. In 2004 with Mujhse Shaadi Karoge, I started my journey in overseas film distribution, while at Zee. I Subsequently moved to Adlabs in 2006 and Eros in 2008. In a span of 15+ years, I have overseen release of 170 films theatrically. Vivaah (2006 Rajshree Productions film starring Shahid Kapoor) was the first film to premiere day & date Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) same time as theatrical while I was at Adlabs. It was revolutionary and way ahead of its time. Today we hear of Trolls 2 doing the same and breaking records.

Indian films, mainstream, commercial movies have a global footprint. But it has not rocked in box office or as a ‘Bollywood’ genre. Do you think India still is a force to reckon with?

In early 2000s, if you walked into DVD stores like HMV or Virgin Records, you would find DVDs of Bollywood films in the ‘World Cinema’ section along with Korean, French, German language films. Over the last 20 years or so, ‘Bollywood’ has become mainstream everywhere. Go to any market, speak to any buyer, sample any terrestrial TV platform in any country, from LATAM to Russia, Bollywood has made its mark. Our films are being dubbed and subtitled in several languages because our content resonates with a global audience.

How much time will we take to come back to normal days for cinema (to enjoy in theatres)? How do you react to the success of F9: The Fast Saga in box office and does this feel good factor continue in the coming months?

To my mind, there was never any doubt about the survival of cinema. Any webinar with experts from media industry always said this. The argument was much the same when VCRs and DVD players came into every home, some critics were quick to write off cinemas. But upto March 2020, more than 50 per cent of a film’s revenue was derived from worldwide box office ticket sales. Yes, the pandemic has brought the shutters down for cinemas but it is temporary. In January 2021, Tamil film Master (starring Vijay) released and smashed records grossing over US$6mn in overseas. That infused the much needed confidence in producers that audiences eventually want to experience the right film on the big screen. F9, RRR, Bell Bottom, Suryavanshi etc are films that will be enjoyed only on the big screen.

You continue to distribute films in theatres… Is your confidence in theatrical revenue intact?

Yes. For the right type of film, both customer experience and revenue that one can derive from cinemas will be unmatched by other platforms.

What stays and what will change in the movie industry?

With audiences now getting exposed to different types of content, readily available on their fingertips on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, the demand for good quality content is ever increasing and this means our creative talent will have to work very hard to keep our viewers engaged. Different scripts and subjects which were once considered taboo or non-mainstream are finding financial backers and leading actors to play characters. That is a big change.

Our storytelling and narratives have changed. The whole world is our audience now.

One of your commitments in Moviegoers Entertainment is to become a co-producer with R Balki and Gauri Shinde’s Hope Productions. What are the projects being worked on and anything to share? And why Balki-Gauri Shinde?

I am honoured and delighted to collaborate with India’s finest, most talented, creative powerhouse duo of Gauri Shinde & R Balki. Their unique style of storytelling, creating entertaining content and commercial success out of subjects that are considered taboo, is remarkable. After successfully producing award winning feature films and commercials, collecting several accolades at prestigious film festivals around the world, their production company Hope Productions is now at the cusp of growth and I am excited to lead this as a co-producer. We are working on four films. Two bound scripts are ready. We will be finalising the cast for them and making an official announcement soon. In coming months, we will be making further announcements in terms of projects and our plans going forward.

One of the most interesting services rendered by Moviegoers is on monetisation of film content beyond streaming. What are the avenues open to a producer for new revenue opportunities?

There is a huge area of opportunity for monetising ‘non-theatrical’ rights of catalogue content owned by studios or individual producers. This does not impair deals already done with regard to TV, Digital, Music or Theatrical Rights. (Potential) Outlets include Hospitals, Hotels, Universities, Shopping-Malls, Religious Places etc. Revenues can be trickling but it all adds up. We are currently representing a catalogue of over 1000 films and adding more titles.

Finally, London is your home. How is it to work out of the UK after it has left European Union?  

(It) Absolutely made no difference to our business. But at a macro level, there has been a shortage of trained staff for certain jobs because they have returned home either due to Brexit or Covid. Nonetheless, UK always offers great opportunities to the working-class communities and I have no doubt life will return to normal very soon.


Countdown Starts For Commercial Carnival

admin   August 31, 2019

Here are some of the Indian commercial and mainstream films getting ready for release in the next three months

Dream Girl directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa

DREAM GIRL

Dream Girl is a Hindi romantic comedy drama film starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Nushrat Bharucha. The film is directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa and is co-produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor under their banner Balaji Motion Pictures

War directed by Siddharth Anand

WAR

War is a Hindi action thriller film directed by Siddharth Anand and starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff in lead roles, with Vaani Kapoor portraying the female lead and Ashutosh Rana, Anupriya Goenka, and Dipannita Sharma appearing in supporting roles. Produced by Aditya Chopra under his banner Yash Raj Films, the film follows a man who and his guru have a face-off when they get pitted against each other.

The Zoya Factor directed by Abhishek Sharma

THE ZOYA FACTOR

The Zoya Factor is a Hindi romantic drama film, starring Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan. It is directed by Abhishek Sharma and produced by Pooja Shetty Deora. The film is a light adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel The Zoya Factor, and follows the story of a girl, Zoya Solanki, who becomes a lucky charm for the Indian Cricket team during the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

RRR director S S Rajamouli

RRR

After the big success of Baahubali series, director S S Rajamouli is busy with RRR, which has Ramcharan and NTR Junior in lead roles. The film produced by DVV Entertainment is reportedly being made on an estimated budget of Rs 300 crore. Music is by M M Keeravani, cinematography by K K Senthil Kumar and editing by A Sreekar Prasad.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy directed by Surender Reddy

SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is a Telugu historical war film directed by Surender Reddy and produced by Ram Charan, starring the latter’s father and megastar Chiranjeevi in the lead. The story is based on the life of freedom fighter Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Sudeep, Vijay Sethupathi, Jagapati Babu, Nayanthara, Tamannaah, and Brahmaji in key roles.

Dabangg 3 directed by Prabhu Deva

DABANGG 3

Dabangg 3 is a Hindi action film directed by Prabhu Deva, and produced by Salman Khan and Arbaaz Khan under their respective banners of Salman Khan Films and Arbaaz Khan Productions] The film is a sequel to the 2012 film Dabangg 2 and the third installment of Dabangg film series. The film features Salman Khan[3], Sonakshi Sinha, Arbaaz Khan and Mahie Gill reprising their roles from the previous film, while Sudeep plays the antagonist.

Darbar directed by A R Murugadoss

DARBAR

For the first time, superstar Rajinikanth and ace director A R Murugadoss have joined forces for Darbar, produced by Lyca. A police story set in Mumbai, the film has Nayanthara, Yogi Babu and Nivetha Thomas among others in key roles. Music for the flick is by Anirudh Ravichander.

Bigil directed by Atlee

BIGIL

After Theri and Mersal, Vijay and director Atlee have come together once again for Bigil. The sports-based Tamil thriller, as it is tipped to be, is being bankrolled by AGS Entertainment. Nayanthara is the leading lady of the flick, which will have musical score by Oscar-Grammy winner A R Rahman.

Laal Kaptaan directed by Navdeep Singh

LAAL KAPTAAN

Laal Kaptaan is a Hindi epic action drama film written and directed by Navdeep Singh. The film is produced by Eros International and Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions. Starring Saif Ali Khan, it revolves around two warring brothers out for revenge.

Indian 2 directed by Shankar

INDIAN 2

Indian 2 is a sequel to the 1996 super hit Tamil film Indian from the same Kamal Haasan-Shankar combo. The second part boats of a huge star cast including, Kajal Aggarwal, Siddharth, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Rakul Preet, Aishwarya Rajesh etc. The film is being bankrolled by Lyca.


India Shines in Toronto Film Festival 2018 Picks

admin   July 25, 2018

BY Saibal Chatterjee

India watchers have much to look forward to among the first slate of titles that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced on Tuesday (July 24). Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan, a romantic drama featuring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu, will be accorded a Gala world premiere, while Nandita Das’ Manto, which premiered in the Un certain regard section in Cannes earlier in the year, is in the Special Presentations lineup of 30 titles.

Nandita Das’ Manto

North America’s premier film festival (September 6 to 16) will also host the world premieres of three films with an India connect — British director Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest, Australian Anthony Maras’s first feature Hotel Mumbai and French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest

Confederation of Indian Industry is taking a high level media and entertainment industry delegation to TIFF from 8-10 September 2018, led by Mr Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd. CII has taken space at the market to promote cinemas of India, film locales and services. A breakfast session with global producers is slated for September 10.

Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya

This is the second year running that Kashyap makes the trip to Toronto. He was in TIFF last year with Mukkabaaz. Manmarziyan, jointly produced by Phantom Films, Eros International and Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions, centres on “a spirited girl” who “finds herself caught in a complicated love triangle while burdened with societal and familial pressures”. Manto, Das’ second directorial outing, Manto, an Indo-French co-production that brings to the screen the final tumultuous years of the legendary Urdu writer’s life, earned critical acclaim in Cannes in May.

Anthony Maras’s Hotel Mumbai

Both the Wedding Guest, which “follows a mysterious British Muslim man” who travels across Pakistan and India, and Hotel Mumbai, centred on the 2008 terror attack on Taj Mahal Hotel, feature Dev Patel in a stellar role. The two films will screen in TIFF’s Special Presentations section.

Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan

Maya, also in Special Presentations, is about a French war correspondent who returns from Syria and travels to India in order to recover from the trauma. The cast of the film has India newbie Aarshi Banerjee alongside Roman Kolinka and Cedric Kahn. Maya has been line produced by Mumbai-based La Fabrique Films.