Percept aims for world cinema from India

New Delhi : Having made critically acclaimed films like “Kanchivaram”, production house Percept Picture Company (PPC) is aiming high – offering Indian cinema with global appeal.

“We want to create world cinema out of India. We tried ‘Firaaq’ and ‘Kanchivaram’ as a very amateur step and succeeded. Now we will create a commercial film for the world in an Indian language and target the global consumer,” said Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of PPC.

The studio also has 15 movies lined up, of which nine are ready to hit the screen.

“While ‘Firaaq’ has won 14 awards, ‘Kanchivaram’ has won the National Award for the best film and for us as a film studio, it doesn’t get bigger. We are terribly excited,” Singh told IANS in an interview.

Asked about the studio’s choice of making a regional film like “Kanchivaram”, which is in Tamil, Singh said: “It’s about picking the right subject that appeals to more people.

“Hollywood makes its scripts with global sensibilities and we make it with local sensibilities. But ‘Kanchivaram’ deals with a father-daughter relationship and the plot itself is universal.”

Most of PPC’s line-up of 15 movies are commercial. “We’ve got nine negatives ready for release. One or two are under production and among the remaining, four will go into production in 2010. We’ve got films lined up till April and every month we will have a new product,” said Singh.

“We have got an inventory of nearly Rs.200 crore (Rs.2 billion) to be released. We hope we succeed because if we don’t, we will not shut down but will definitely go slow,” he added.

Some of the forthcoming movies include “Jail”, “24X7 Raftaar”, “Yeh Hosla”, “Raat Gayi Baat Gayi?”, “Bum Bum Bole”, “Grrrr” and “8”.

Singh admitted that bringing the movies on board during an economic slowdown has not been easy.

“We’ve lost 50 percent of our revenue, courtesy recession. Our product was Rs.500 crore (Rs.5 billion), it has now become Rs.200 crore (Rs.2 billion). Overnight our digital, satellite, music…all (income) gone, so it’s only theatrical now,” he said.

“And for that you get only one-third share, which means for the investment to recover, a movie should do three-times the business, which is next to impossible. We have also fallen short of syndication.”

Singh added that unlike other studios, PPC doesn’t believe in rushing its content.

“We do things nice and steady, but we do it very calculatedly. We released ‘Jannat’ at IPL (Indian Premier League) time, ‘Malaamal Weekly’ during exams, and ‘Hanuman’ in the middle of Muharram.

“We believe in right date, right time, right price and kind of thinking. We are not in a rush to release our films. Every Friday, six-eight films are releasing and becoming flops…we are not into that hara-kiri,” said Singh.

He pointed out that umbrella content packaging – where the same content caters to different audiences – is now passe.

“In India, the consumer is fragmented. There are different economic class groups and there are different social groups. We have to cater to all of them in a customised manner and price it accordingly. There cannot be one content for everybody…that stage is over now,” he explained.

Highlighting PPC’s strategy, Singh said: “At the end of the day, the agenda for PPC is clean, good and healthy content with value for money. We believe in creativity and content. We feel that somewhere down the line, the consumer wants a good story told well at the right price and we are running a marathon.”

PPC also plans to release Priyadarshan’s “Kanchivaram” in select theatres across the country by October-end.

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