varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

Creating new markets

| 5 Comments

Most Malayalam film producers are not Internet savy. When movie piracy happens and illegal copies are available in Bit Torrent sites, they are clueless and don’t know what to do. While they go after video shops in Kerala which sell pirated copies, there is nothing they can do to prevent Internet downloads.

Hollywood too has grappled with this problem and the solution they came up was to release the movies on DVD as soon as possible, the theory being that people would pay to watch movies with all the visual and sound effects on the original medium than the one available on a camera print. Then to give more value to the home viewer, they add extras like deleted scenes, interviews with the writers and actors, bloopers, as well as behind the scenes clips. Some movies even have alternate endings which adds value to the DVD.

Mohanlal’s Keerthichakra and the Tamil version Aran came to theaters around the same time. Aran is available on DVD, while Keerthichakra is not. The producers are forgetting one aspect that most Malayalees don’t live in Kerala (Of course, we are exaggerating, but you get the point) and they are as crazy about Malayalam movies as people who live in the state. By the timely release of DVDs, some revenues can be obtained from this market. Commonsense dictates that the black market exists because there is an excessive demand which is not met by supply. While Hollywood has progressed to an era of instant downloads, we should evolve from swinging from the branches to walking on the ground.

In a previous article we advocated releasing the DVDs with subtitles in various languages to tap into an even wider audience. Along with that the packaging of the DVDs should be done in the most attractive way to get the consumer to buy them, rather than rent them. If you look at the DVDs of Dhoom 2 or Fanaa, you will find glossy pictures from the movie inside the box along with an extra DVD with additional features. Imagine, if the producer of Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha released the movie in a box, with a booklet with a story synopsis in various languages, glossy pictures, an audio CD with lyrics and a discount coupon for the script of the movie, how well it would sell.

Malayalees exist all around the world, thanks to the globalization of labor. Exploiting the forces of globalization of the market, Malayalam movie makers can reach a wider audience.

5 Comments

  1. Well said. In delhi, DVDs some malayalam movies are already in market. Most of them are mohanlal hits and it costs around 35 Rs. I was little sceptical about it, because of this low price. Anyway the print had amazing quality. I hope more of this kind comes to market.

  2. Well written.! Yes creating such new markets is a very important thing, at least for Malayalam Cinema. Technology has not reached out to Malayalam Cinema as much as we would like to see.

    But apart from that let me just digress here a bit, you talked about how most malayalees live outside kerala, which is true.! Considering that I wonder why Malayalam Cinema has to still stick to it`s kerala roots.? There have been occasional movie about dons, in mumbai( like Abhimanyu) or Delhi( New Delhi), or even Kashmir, like( Keerthichakra), but all these were about people like Gangsters, or Police Officers or Army Men. It would be nice to see a story of a common man, say( like Mohanlal in Thanmantra), set in places like Chennai, or even Mumbai, where there can be some light shed upon their normal lives, their identity crisis, a movie based upon how they perceive Kerala, Malayalam..

    For example one classic movie, by Padmarajan which showed such malayalees visiting their Tharavadu for their summer vacation(Thingalazhcha nalla Dhivasam). More such movies which not only target Non resident keralites, but also talk about them, would be surely well received.

    With Best Regards,
    Srijith.

  3. Now that you have mentioned it, I should say that it is entirely a fact, that most Malayalam film makers are yet to realise the potentials of the internet when it comes to pre-release promotion.

    Come to think of it, even a director like Shyamaprasad hasnt thought of coming up with a website for his upcoming release Ore Kadal!

    Or is it that I somehow missed it?

  4. Is there a good place online to find/buy Malayalam movies? I have been looking for Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, but haven’t been able to find it.

  5. Adji,

    If you’re in the U.S., try SuryaUSA.com, or 1800imall.com. There is a new site where you can watch malayalam movies online legally, called 2dmovie.com. However, I don’t remember seeing Vadakkan Veeragatha anywhere. Maebag.com has a large collection of VCDs and DVDs, but I don’t know if they’ll ship outside of India. Moserbaer.com has a lot of movies now, but they don’t ship outside of India. You might want to also try some of the free download sites. Just google “free malayalam movies” or “malayalam movie download”. There are a whole bunch of sites like that.

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