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Bollywood embraced technology in 2011

Technology was the buzzword in Bollywood. From social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to Youtube to VFX, filmmakers merged new platforms and showbiz to make and market their products - with roaring success.

business Updated: Dec 19, 2011 15:26 IST

Technology was the buzzword in Bollywood. From social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to Youtube to VFX, filmmakers merged new platforms and showbiz to make and market their products - with roaring success.

The Hindi film industry used technology like never before for continuous film promotion, to raise funds, to find artists and to connect with the audiences for suggestions and ideas.

Consumed by the technological boom, filmmakers like Prakash Jha, Mahesh Bhatt, Shirish Kunder and big stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan used social networking sites to connect with their audiences and impart information.

The FICCI-KPMG 2011 report pointed out that VFX and post-production segments grew 42 percent and 17 percent respectively in the total of the Rs.23.6-billion ($450 million) worth industry for 2011.

If big names like Shah Rukh Khan, Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar launched the first look of their respective films RA.One, The Dirty Picture and Agneepath on Twitter, Mahesh Bhatt used the platform to finalise the poster for Murder 2.

Filmmaker Onir went a step further and used Facebook to invited people to raise funds for his film I Am"and received an overwhelming response. Around 400 people from 46 cities across the world participated and he raised nearly Rs.10 million.

Later Onir released the trailer of the film on Youtube.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has witnessed the industry's growth from the 1970s till now, had once said: "The interaction with the audience through social networking mediums has helped...I think it is a wonderful vehicle to tell people that 'I made this film for you. Now can you guide me where I am going wrong before I actually put it out in theatres'. I think it is quite masterly to involve the's democratically correct!"

A regular blogger, Big B is tech savvy and often discusses his film projects, tidbits about his life on his blog and he even tweets. In fact, he announced his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai's pregnancy on Twitter, and later the birth of his granddaughter.

For others, using Twitter or Facebook for clarification or refuting rumours was a regular thing.

Bollywood's King Khan used every available technological support for king-sized promotion and branding of his superhero movie RA.One.

SRK, who reportedly spent over Rs.150 crore on RA.One as a producer, set aside a separate marketing budget for online promotions. He collaborated with Google Plus and Sony for a full cycle game called Ra.One - The Game. It was available on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 format.

He also customised RA.One"channel on YouTube, which was the first-of-its kind initiative in the country and saw the songs release, theatrical promos along with videos of the film's making, events and uncut footage going online.

Marriage between gaming and films is an opportunity to raise revenues worldwide, said King Khan.

"Apart from just the bright factor, the creative factor and the marketing factor - I think the main marriage is going to be that we are going to have another source of revenue very soon for our they can get bigger and better," said the actor-producer who did tie-ups worth Rs.52 crore.

"...I feel Indian films can take this second step -- to get video games arranged for their respective films. I am sure youngsters all around would be proud of this development," he added.

His forthcoming film Don 2 - The King Is Back will have a game titled Don - The Social Mobsters Game, which will be launched on Facebook and is being developed by Mango Games. He is regularly tweeting about the film's promotion and keeps his fans updated.

Actor-filmmaker Sanjay Suri, who featured in I AM, feels the landscape of releasing and watching trailers has changed.

"One can reach a wider audience through such platforms," he said.

The reach of Youtube was evident when southern star Dhanush's song Kolaveri Di went viral on the internet and made him popular across the globe.

But there is a flip side to it, says Anurag Kashyap, director of films likes Black Friday, Dev D and Gulaal.

"Youth is my biggest audience but the biggest problem is they are a non-paying audience. They are the ones who download films but don't believe in spending," he said.

Technology was used and abused. For instance, songs like Haal e dil, a song from Amitabh Bachchan's film Bbuddah...Hoga Tera Baap and Chammak Challo from RA.One were leaked online much before their official music launch.

First Published: Dec 17, 2011 16:56 IST