Siddhartha M Jain, the man in the news for introducing new-age marketing, in conversation with Shabdita Shrivastav
You introduced the concept of announcing 11 films at one go. What was your motto behind exhibiting a bouquet of films?
The philosophy of iRock is that we create what we develop. We have not formally introduced iRock to the industry but since Box Office India is a Business to Business (B2B) magazine, I thought this was the best way to introduce ourselves. Like, most people didn’t know that we made and created Ragini MMS.
We have around 30 concepts, of which 11 are ready to release within the next 6 to 12 months. They will provide the industry with an idea of the kind of films and variations in our concepts, ideas and genres. We have fun concepts and youthful ideas ranging from a Rs 1 crore to a Rs 50 crore film.
Are you trying to introduce a new type of filmmaking?
I am trying to introduce new genres and also more youthful and fun films. I am trying to bring about a small change but,again, it’s all about making fun films. You have to be the change agent.
Your upcoming films look similar to what we watch in the West.
I am not here to adapt but to make movies. I am inspired by their genres, but my stories are all original. You can say Bloody Veer is inspired by a vampire film. So the genre is vampire but the story is not like the Twilight series. It is my own Indian style story. I think these genres are very youthful and they have worked in the West. The audience for these films is typically between 16 and 35 years.
These kinds of films don’t click with the audience all the time. Aren’t you taking a huge risk?
I think it’s fine. Different types of films appeal to different types of people.
That’s why you market different films in a different way. Like 3 Idiots was very different from Delhi Belly but both still had an audience and they still made money. Even Ragini MMS was very different from other love stories. I think the youth is very open to experimenting.
For them, it’s fun. They like variety. They would love Bloody Veer, Disco Valley or Jaa Chudail Jaa or even a cool chick-flick like Size Zero. Kinky Aur Pinky is again a different story and it has elements of new creativity and madness.
I thought our ideas might be too radical and too edgy but I have received a fantastic response, even from the film studios that have been in the industry longer than we have.
Since you co-produced Ragini MMS with Balaji Motion Pictures, why didn’t you choose them as a platform to announce your films?
As I said, we are new and I wanted to introduce iRock formally to the industry. It’s like whether you go to war with one gun at a time or with an army, five tanks and machine guns, there is a difference. We believe in making a slate of films because you need to scale up. We have tied up with various studios too. Honestly, I don’t know if the right thing is to introduce our slate or tie up with different studios.
Do you think you will set a trend with your style of working?
I am hoping we will be able to at least start a new kind of thinking. Change is important and the audience changes really fast, so you should keep pace with the changing audience and give them something new every year with every film.
Some of the movies you have announced are minus a director. Isn’t that strange?
We have directors attached to our films. Some have been short listed and we are talking to others. I wanted to start marketing a slate right from the announcement. So in the next few weeks, we will announce the directors, then the actors. It’s new-age marketing. Most people market a film from the mahurat. But I thought we should take it a little further and start with a B2B marketing and then go the B2C (Business to Consumer) way. It’s a newer side of marketing and experimenting. People become curious about the director, and that will be our next announcement. Then we will reveal the actors, the studio partners and soon. There will be a constant flow of news from our side.
Has anyone shown interest in your projects?
During the first week, I was flooded with SMSes and calls. Nobody knew this was coming. So I got a terrific response from directors, actors, studios and financers. I did not want a simple unveiling.
Is it true that Shekhar Kapur has shown a keen interest in your films?
He is on board with us as a producer for one or two films. There are many more people who will work with us but I cannot name them yet as we are still negotiating the details. In fact, the week I showcased 11 movies in Box Office India, it sort of coincided with the FICCI Frames and everybody there was talking about our slate, including a lot of people outside the industry. So I got a pretty cool response.
Is Manmohan Shetty still part of iRock Media?
He has a small equity stake in iRock. He does not invest in films. When I started the company four years ago, he gave me the first round of seed capital for it. He is like a shareholder. But I run the company single-handedly.