Sunday, December 18, 2011

Simbu Tries To Remake

No no, I am not referring to Osthe, the Dabang remake. Simbu is trying a new brand image for himself.

But before that you must know that I do not like him despite the fact that there is nothing personal. I am purely prejudiced.

Back in late 90s and early 2000s, Internet and Email were still uncommon. After creating many email ids with different service providers, I zeroed in on an address that became my identity. My email id used to be "gunduganesh" @ whatever. Gundu here meaning fat which is to indicate that I am quite a healthy person. The email id did become popular. At many a times, people at office and other places did start referring to me as Gundu. Now they were not rude just that they did like the id so much. Despite the fact that I never took offence, it did irk me now and then.

Naru, who is sort of a guru to me, at one time suggested that I should change my email id. He said that while it was good for someone to laugh at himself, it would certainly be bad for my image as I grew up in life. But it took me couple of years from then to actually change my email id. And then slowly my association with the word Gundu also declined. Though there are still very close friends who would refer to me by that name.

The bottom line is that it may be quite easy to create a brand equity for yourself through the easiest possible leverages but it is more difficult to change once your brand equity is established.

Simbu became Simbu because as a child artist his father decided to use it instead of Silambarasan. And he did manage to get popularity with that name. Also, as he was young and did imitate Super Star, he became Little Super Star.

With age, you realize that what is an advantage at a certain point may not necessarily be so at a different period. So, Simbu needs a different identity now at a stage when the competition is much for "mature and serious".

So with Osthe, Simbu has also undertaken a marketing campaign to change his brand name from Simbu to STR and from Little Super Star to Young Super Star. So you can take part in quizzes, "get used" to the name that Simbu wants to be recognized as and win movie tickets to his remake movie.

Would be interesting to see how long before we get used to Simbu's new name and title. There certainly is a lesson for others to look ahead and decide now. Easy, as Simbu has realized, is not always the best! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kolaveri Di: Innovation in Tamil Cinema

Tamil Film industry, just sometime back, was dominated by a family and their media groups. Almost every other movie was either nephew's or elder son's son or the younger one's. As the regime changed, that seemed to have changed.

Thankfully, I am not writing about politics in the industry. In that regime, the marketing of movies was high decibel campaigns in the TV and FM channels belonging to the family. Everything seemed to be just the same.

In that sense, Kolaveri Di is an innovation in movie marketing. Of course, it is a good product if not great. The music is catchy, the lyrics are easy to understand. It is not a Tamil song, just Tamil in thought. Of course, some may say that there is hardly anything in the song, but maybe that is the reason why it is so successful.

Mani could re-learn about segmenting the market. Despite the fact that the channel chosen by the Kolaveri team was Internet, it certainly was first aimed for Tamilians. The sales team includes Super Star's daughter &  son-in-law, and Kamal Hasan's daughter, faces that every Tamilian recognizes and adores. The song has successfully managed to cross the chasm of cultural barrier and has become a phenomenon.

As a Tamilian, it does feel proud that the song is a national favorite. And, of course, we might in the coming days, see more innovations in film marketing as Kolaveri Di has set a new benchmark in promoting movies. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Imitable and Inimitables

The other day a friend and I were having a conversation about actors and their style. He said that he liked Gemini Ganesan. For those who don't know, Gemini Ganesan was a romantic hero, both in reel and real.

I was a bit taken aback.

Now usually in Tamil Nadu if someone is asked who was their favorite actor, the reply is usually one of the top two in that generation. Say in my dad's generation one would have said either MGR or Shivaji. In my generation, it was either Kamal or Rajini. Then maybe it was Vijay or Ajith. Of course now, there is plenty to chose from. There are so many heroes that we may have to segment and then decide the top stars in each category. Now that makes a topic for another post.

I quizzed my friend why he liked the Kadhal Mannan.

He said that Gemini is probably one of those few stars who cannot be imitated. He wasn't an acting genius, but did manage to become the character. Have you come across anyone who can mimic him? I haven't.

Am not saying that Gemini excelled in method acting. In my opinion, he didn't have any exceptional skills and he also never tried different roles. But then Rajini and MGR are no different. Gemini, as my friend put it, fitted into the characters he portrayed. His movies revolved around the story and not on the character.

I have from that day onwards started appreciating Gemini. He is a rare breed, inimitable. In an industry where personal brand has become far more important than the characters, Gemini was like the clay that could be molded to suit the requirements.

In the present day, I think Jeeva and Dhanush are probably more Gemini than the other actors. The former more than the latter. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Easan of our times

If this was just another revenge movie, we could have just written it off. It has nothing spectacular. In fact, the revenge part itself comes quite late in the movie.

But then this is M Sasikumar's movie.

The movie is different. It mirrors the current times. Politics, Crime, Business, Youth...The nexus between these elements. The movie provides a snapshot of the happenings. I felt I was reading newspaper. The movie starts with an "accident" scene, reminiscence of Stephanie Aduwo incident. There are many more which may remind you of an incident or the other.

It may appear that the movie meanders aimlessly but then as I said it is a portrayal of our times. I did like the the movie, though not for its main plot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Adjustment Bureau, Freewill

Was it a romance movie? Was it a thriller? Or was it a sci-fi?

Actually, Adjustment Bureau is a very intelligent movie. If you think about it, the movie delves into the issues that everyone faces. Should one take life as it comes or follow one's passion.

Matt Damon acts as a young politician on the verge of making it big when he falls in love with Emily Blunt, a dancer. And then there are these suited men with hats who represent the bureau. The men strive to ensure that these two don't get to meet each other.

When Matt Damon accidentally discovers the bureau, he is informed that the bureau is working to ensure that he has a successful political career and that his marriage with Emily Blunt would compromise their careers. After that the movie is about the struggle between the heart and the head.

If I gave you an impression that this is a very heavy film, no it is not. Watch it, the movie will entertain you. 

Tanu Weds Manu, Perfect Couples

I don't watch much of Hindi movies. I am quite prejudiced, you could say. I do think that most of the Hindi cinema is very shallow. South Indian movies are far better. Well if you think I am biased, please be informed that even American diplomats feel so.

Last week was the first time when we used the Showcase feature in Tata Sky to order Tanu Weds Manu.

The movie is about an educated and sophisticated NRI who falls in love with the girl that he visits as part of his bride hunting tour in India. But the girl is already in love with someone else. The rest of the story is the twists and turns in these two characters' life. Of course, finally these two do get married.

Now does this sound like a typical Shah Rukh Khan movie where the man goes after someone else's girl? It is not. Well but it is certainly a Mills and Boon type.

Madhavan has a yummy role. Subtle and understated. But is is Kangana Ranaut who really steals the show as a rebellious girl from small town. Very spontaneous and lovable but at the same time very irritating, Kangana impresses. But it is not entirely a lead pair's movie. The friends and relatives play an important role. I especially like 'Puppy' character, played by Deepak Dobriyal.

Tanu Weds Manu is a very clean entertainer.