While topnotch film-makers directing telefilms is nothing new, directing films for a music channel definitely is. MTV, one of the leading music channels has tied up with Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), to make six films that highlight their brand values and philosophies. Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Rohan Sippy, Nikhil Advani and Abhinay Deo are the noted film-makers set to make a 45-minute film each, which will be shown on MTV every month.
Talking about this initiative, Aditya Swamy, EVP and Business Head, MTV India, elaborates, “With so many channels, and brands around, one has to take risks to keep the brand alive. MTV Films is a platform reaches out to young people, but I think what’s exciting for me is that no two films are actually talking about the same aspect of young people’s lives.”
These film-makers will be highlighting the core values of different brands under HUL. For instance, Anurag Basu’s film deals with Sunsilk, Rohan Sippy’s film highlights the philosophies of Tresemme, and the product given to Abhinay Deo is Lakme. Hemant Bakshi, executive director, home and personal care, Hindustan Unilever Ltd explains the process behind shortlisting the products, “Our brands stand for much more than what the functional attributes of the brand may be. So we decided to choose brands, like Sunsilk which have a larger purpose and philosophy that we wanted to talk about for this initiative.”
MTV Films takes off on March 23 with a film by Anurag Basu, which is centred around three girls. Talking of the experience, the Barfi! director says, “When we work on a film, we first write the script and then decide everything else, here, it’s the other way round. First we were given the brand’s philosophy, the script was woven around it. Consumers are intelligent these days, so it’s important to come up with innovative ways to market a product.” When asked to elaborate on his film, he said, “I will not reveal much, but it’s about three girls who run a radio show on their own for a day. I would actually give all the credit to Akarsh Khurana, who is more of a director on this film than I am, and who’s also done the casting for it.”
Abhinay Deo found the project as creatively liberating. “I’ve been doing a lot of television commercials, so I was happy to be offered this because now I get 45 minutes to do something which I did in 45 seconds. We’re still working on the script of my film, because mine is the last one. It will be interesting to see how we take the philosophy of Lakme forward. We’re not really endorsing the brand, but making the viewers connect to the brand emotionally, by encorporating its values in an entertaining film,” he says, adding that this one time the film-makers are not bound by the presssures of stars or the box-office. “It’s pure creativity,” he adds.
Rohan Sippy’s film, which is yet to be shot, signifies glamour and confidence. The director saw the project as an opportunity to bond with other directors. “The project is another way to know how powerful television is, it is an evolution in a fun way. Moreover, since all these brands are women-centric, the films will also have women playing pivotal roles. For me, it’s also been a lot of fun to share some time with Anurag, Abhinay and other directors on this,” says the Bluffmaster director.
Samvidhaan to be pitched to other channels
Rajya Sabha TV also plans to document few other important chapters of history
Samvidhaan, the ten episode series based on the making of the Constitution of India and co-produced by Rajya Sabha TV and Shyam Benegal’s Sahyadri Films premiered on Rajya Sabha TV on March 2. The buzz is that the makers of the series now plan to pitch it to other channels for telecast. “Samvindhan may be aired on other channels as well. We’ll be talking to other channels to work on a distribution pattern,” says Gurdeep Singh Sappal, CEO and Executive Editor, Rajya Sabha TV. Moreover, he also revealed that Rajya Sabha TV will now be made a compulsory channel, to reach out to more people.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha TV plans to create more content. “We have plans to document many more chapters of history. Because I think it’s our basic mandate to make people aware about it,” adds Sappal.