Prior to becoming the marketing mind behind some of Bollywood’s biggest films, you worked in the banking industry. What lessons did you learn from your association with the finance world?
The finance world teaches you a lot like discipline, attention to detail, how to dot the Is and cross the Ts. Every detail mattered; it taught me how dedication and hard work can get any job done.
What motivated you to venture into the largely untapped (at least in India) business of film marketing by establishing your company Bottomline Media?
It was all by accident; never did I think that I would be running a media company that had a large part of its business in Bollywood. Having worked in the media sector in the US as a media banker, the understanding for the business and the whole interaction with studios intrigued me. When I moved back, it was serendipity, and an opportunity presented itself and Bottomline Media was born.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while setting up your company?
It is always a big challenge when you start something by your own. The main challenge I faced was to start a company in an industry where I did not have a film background. The other challenge was to break through the mindset of Indian and traditional Bollywood marketing putting forth marketing innovations that had never been witnessed before.
Do you feel the way a movie is marketed can play a vital role in the success or failure of a film?
Marketing is a catalyst to a movie. Creating awareness and opening the box office is how marketing helps the movie. At the end of the day, the script and way the movie is presented is what marks the success or failure of a film.
Having worked on an extensive list of films, is there any particular project that you especially enjoyed working on?
It has to be Ra.One. It was a case study in marketing in itself. Working with the Badshah of Bollywood and then creating marketing innovations that had never been done before was a pure thrill in itself. A worldwide campaign, first time Playstation game based on Bollywood and so much more. Every day we created a new avenue to market the film and just working with Shahrukh was a learning experience.
Bottomline Media is the first Indian company to be hired as marketing consultants for a Hollywood film (‘The Zero Theorem’). Do you think marketing strategies vary drastically with Bollywood and Hollywood films?
Yes, strategies do vary. Hollywood movies have the look book, the positioning of infilm, the storyboard of where the products will be placed, how they will be shot – everything is pre-determined. Deadlines are of key essence. Marketing strategy is put to play even before the film is shot to understand the positioning; different territories have different focuses. In all, a very interesting aspect one gets to learn on movies.
Being a successful entrepreneur at such a young age, do you have any advice for our readers who wish to venture into businesses of their own?
Dare to dream. If you desire it, work hard; persistence and determination will help you achieve it. It’s all about the journey.
Volume 2 Issue 11