The dynamic 37 year old Siddharth Roy Kapur, Disney UTV Studios Managing Director has changed Bollywood film making and marketing. He has blazed a new trail in the way films are marketed, as proved by the recent blockbuster Rowdy Rathore.
Siddharth Roy Kapur and Disney UTV are betting big on Kollywood. Their Kalakalappu @ Masala Cafe is the second biggest hit in the first half of 2012. Last week Kapur was in Chennai for the ‘first look’ launch of Mugamoodi.
In an exclusive interview to Sreedhar Pillai, Siddharth Roy Kapur talks about the way UTV markets films and future moves in Kollywood.
UTV’s Kalakalappu has been declared a hit by the trade. You have made a mark in Kollywood ?
Yes it has been an interesting 12 months in the Tamil film industry. We have been overwhelmed by the welcome. Our films have worked well with the audiences like Deivathirumagal, Vettai and now Kalakalappu our biggest hit in the last one year.
What attracted you to south?
After we established in the Hindi film world Disney UTV as a global player had to come to south, one of the biggest production centres in the world in four regional languages- Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Disney UTV wants to be a pan Indian player in the business of cinema.
Today in Bollywood a large number of blockbusters who are part of the Rs 100 Crore club are based on south Indian movies, including your latest Rowdy Rathore. How did this happen?
Some of the most original stories and mass commercial cinema ideas come from south Indian directors. They are able to spin out interesting subjects in a commercial manner, which works big time with mass audiences. Please note in the late 70’s & 80’s too mass commercial south movies remade in Hindi had worked at the North Indian box-office.
The trend is nothing new, but in the late 90’s and till recently south Indian mass movies was not remade and was looked down upon as too crass. Please comment.
I agree that there was a shift to NRI stories and soft romances with the advent of multiplexes. However today’s multiplex audiences loved a Paan Singh Thomar and a Rowdy Rathore. The audiences taste have not changed it has only broadened. Let us take a look at the first half of 2012 (Jan to June) and list films which have worked at the box-office. They are Kahaani, Housefull 2, Vicky Donor, Paan Singh Tomar and Rowdy Rathore. In short people want to be entertained. The line between art and commercial cinema has blurred.
In Tamil you are going for mass masala like Kalakalappu@ Masala Cafe. Why?
Don’t forget we backed a film like Deivathirumagal which got a lot of acclaim and awards. At the same time we are happy with the success of Sundar C’s Masala Cafe as it met with wider success across all sections of audiences. The Disney UTV team here in Chennai is doing a good job by selecting the right movies.
Why have you taken a super hero film like Mugamoodi and what are its chances of working at the box-office?
I saw some rushes of Mugamoodi. Mysskin has made it efficiently with Indian sensibilities. As a policy we always back the creative instinct of our directors. As far as Mugamoodi is concerned we are betting on the genre of the movie. The biggest Hollywood hit this summer in south India has been Disney UTV’s Avengers.
How is Thaandavam shaping out?
Vijay has an interesting subject and with a big star like Vikram at the helm hehas completed the film in record time.
What are the criteria for choosing a film that you produce?
First and foremost the script and next our team has to be convinced that the director has the ability to deliver what is there in the script. Later we look at the star, budget and project viability.
In Kollywood people are amazed at UTV‘s marketing skills and the way you promote your films.
(Smiles) We always believe that our films have to be different. In 2006 from the big budget Rang De Basanti to the small budget Khosla Ka Ghosla we were the pioneers in marketing and promotions. I remember for Khosla Ka Ghosla, we spent more money on promotions than the budget of the film! Today in Hollywood they spent more on promotions of a film than its budget, as it has a global reach. Indian films and especially Tamil have a smaller market but we do our best. I would say Kalakalappu worked big time at the box-office due to our aggressive promotions and Sundar C’s entertainment content.
What is the most important marketing strategy that you follow to make a film a hit?
It has to be made within the budget and promotions have to sync with release date and if it is a star driven film it has to be a wide release. One of the most crucial factors that determine the box-office success of a film is its release date. At UTV we work backwards from release date as far as our production is concerned. Today we have locked internally the release date of all our films. We have Mugamoodi coming up on August 31, on September 28 we are looking at Thaandavam and January 15, 2013 we have Settai. In Malayalam we have Happy Husbands in Goa on September 21. All promotional activity and audio release of these films have been internally worked out.
Don’t you feel that there should be a gap of more than a month between your film releases?
In Bollywood our films are coming almost every week in August and September. We have a big film like Akshay Kumar’s Joker on August 31, two weeks later on September 14 we have Ranbir Kapoor’s Barfi and a week later on September 21 we have slotted Kareena Kapoor’s Heroine. Each film is in a different genre and has its own reach. Similarly I’m sure our Tamil films will be successful.
What next for Disney UTV in south?
We have major plans which will be unveiled shortly in all south Indian languages. We are betting big on south.