With the entire world coming to a halt due to the pandemic and with people remaining in their homes the requirement for fulfilling the entertainment quotient was at an all time high. To cater to this rising need the OTT platforms took a center stage, to know more about how this affects the entertainment industry and more, Riyaan Shaikh conducted an exclusive interview with Piiyush Singh, Co founder & Chief Operating Officer at Vistas Media Capital.
Vistas Media Capital (VMC) is a Singapore based Media Investment entity, investing into multiple media related businesses, companies and assets in the Capital Markets (Stocks, Bonds & Options) and Private Equity space. One of their portfolio companies, Golden Ratio Films, we have a strong focus on content creation, marketing and distribution across Feature Films, Documentaries, Web Series and Short Films, across different budgets in India & Hollywood.
The conversation orbited around their recently release movie Bhonsle, the way in which the content creation industry is headed, the decreasing no of footfalls in multiplexes, VMC relation with veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee and more.
- Bhonsle’s first look was launched at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and on the 26th of June it was released for audiences in India, how has the entire journey been?
It has been a gratifying experience right from the very beginning. Bhonsle was always a film which was expected to have a journey different from our other mainstream films and as expected, it traveled to major festivals around the world. And of course, the responses received were truly overwhelming.
- Audiences today are warming up to all kind of content,but mainstream cinema still dominates the industry. So then does backing unconventional movies become challenging?
This is a good time for Indie films to flourish. Digital medium has opened a new revenue stream, and this has widened the reach – Piiyush Singh
Frankly speaking, I think this is a good time for Indie films to flourish. Digital medium has opened a new revenue stream, and this has widened the reach. Earlier, there was no revenue model for this kind of cinema. This has been encouraging mass audiences and the eco-system is evolving for content-based cinema.
- Bhonsle has garnered a lot of international acclaim how do you think the Indian audience are going to react to the movie?
The Indian audience has shown great interest towards international films and this has evolved immensely since the introduction of new age media. They have always been exposed to the significant content quality of cinema worldwide. So, I think and believe that the Indian audience will react positively to the film and we have been witnessing that.
- This is the second time now that Vistas Media Capital, Manoj Bajpayee, Devashish Makhija’s have collaborated together, what makes this triad so unbreakable?
I’d say just one word ‘Passion’. Passion for good and content driven cinema. Cinema as a medium of expression rather than cinema as a medium of entertainment.
- The movie addresses some key issues like migrant abuse and the way they are treated, and the release coincides with one of the worst migrant crisis we as a country are facing, Do you think this would impact how people view the movie?
We received an overwhelming response on social media loaded with praises.Since decades, migration or migrant crisis has been an old and global phenomenon. So, Bhonsle, was already very contemporary in that manner. Recent crisis has just bought the issue to the forefront.
- What do you think are the key takeaways for the people from the movie?
Besides the socio-political-economical awakening, the biggest thing one should understand is the importance of compassion towards fellow human beings.
This is the only binding and uniting force, which will fill the division among the society and the nation. In this way,I think people will understand through this movie.
- From a head constable in Taandav to a retiring member of the police force the characters of Vistas Media Capital has evolved with time, how has Vistas Media Capital as a Production house evolved from then to now?
Life is an on-going process of realization. And, we realized that there is a huge gap between creativity and finance. VMC is trying to bridge this gap by supporting content driven cinema with a viable business proposition.
- As a producer what is your stance on the pause of the content creation process due to the pandemic and the way the industry as a whole has been dealing with it?
I think, it’s a blessing in disguise for the content producers because before the lockdown, due to surge in the demand for content creation, the whole procedure was rushed; and in doing so, there wasn’t enough time to develop scripts or create content for films.
This break has given everyone much needed time to think and concentrate on scripts and I’m sure we will see good results with meaningful content – Piiyush Singh
This would drastically affect the quality outcome. This break has given everyone much needed time to think and concentrate on scripts and I’m sure we will see good results with meaningful content.
- Theaters were already suffering decreasing footfalls and now with the lockdown in place how do you think this is going to affect theater once everything returns to normal?
The answer lies hidden in the question. Due to huge distribution and marketing costs, only big budget films were able to get a theatrical release. The number of theaters in India is already less in comparison to the other parts of the world. Ticket prices are very high.
This is definitely a crucial and a difficult time for theaters. Audiences already have shifted their preferences to digital mediums over theaters and with the lockdown, it has quickened this process.
It’s high time that the film industry and the government, state as well as federal, take concrete measures and reforms, to support the growth of theaters in coming times.
- A large part of the urban audience is consuming content through OTT platforms how does this affect the production house and the revenues backing projects for this platform?
I guess when we conceptualize a project, we need to be mindful of the platform we are making use of as that will define how the project has to be designed and packaged.
Also, the monetization models are different for different mediums. All these factors have to be kept in mind from the very beginning.
- OTT platforms offer a lot of opportunities for creativity to let loose how does it affect the business side of it.
I think it is a great thing if it is practiced responsibly.