Post RX100, lyricist and music composer Chaitanya Bharadwaj has wowed audiences with his work in Guna 369, Manmadhudu 2, SR Kalyana Mandapam and Mahasamudram. His next numbers are from Vinaro Bhagyam Vishnu Katha, Sudheer Babu-Harsha Vardhan film Mama Maschindra and another Sudheer Babu starrer Harom Hara. There is Anand Devarkonda film Gam Gam Ganesha as well. In a chat with Y.Sunita Chowdhary of Klapboardpost.com, the lyricist says there is a risk of private investors coming in the form of distribution apps, digital service providers to directly promote the musician. If the content is not being promoted by producers properly, investments will be provided by outsiders alienating the technicians from the producers and production. In this scenario, every artiste or technician has a right to protect his interest and Chaitanya Bharadwaj addresses the concern facing the technicians and people behind the camera as OTT threatens to take over theatres.
Q) Why do you think it is getting increasingly difficult to draw the audience to the theatres?
A) For a movie, the pre release elements should always be conveyed strongly and the target audience will come to the theatre. The elements i.e the trailer or teaser should be registered on peoples and alongside, the technicians should be given importance, their work too should be projected. This should be done so as to reach the particular segment of the people the producer is aiming at. The director and producer always have clarity and they want to reach out to the people. They know who will throng the theatres in the first few days and also what is that they are looking for to relate in a film. It is not necessary that all films should work, it might connect or not connect but the attempt is definitely there. In the perspective of the music director or the lyricist, be it the composition colour or musical instruments, it should be justified till the film at least.
Q) When people are turning so selective, why are our producers still buying remake rights?
A) I agree that only a few films are successful at the box office this year. There is a need for powerful imagination from story writers, directors or the creative team to whip up a larger than life story. On the other hand, the OTT has dubbing related content made available which means remakes are not necessary. If producers are still going for remake movies, I strongly believe that it is a process being handled in a safe perspective. Every region has a particular mindset, the story need not always work everywhere. It is important that the authentic vibe and the commercial element has to be carried forward. When you take Telugu cinema content to an African family, they will not get connected. For a regional audience, the mood and nativity etc all matters. We should promote all this perfectly. Having said that, as far as Telugu States are concerned, there are so many stories connected to our roots waiting to be told to the people. Like Kantara, we too can show diverse stories that reflect well with the people.
Q) Isn’t there very little work for technicians?
A) True, there is definitely no work like before. For a film to work, there should be freshness; If a director wants to try a film differently, the composer too should take the same approach as the director. That the mainstream composer might deliver the new perspective is not guaranteed. The composer should have the skill and justification and the director should have the talent to extract stuff from the composer. Instead of repeating the composer for a second film immediately, there should be an observation to make sure if he has the skill set or not or else, the director should try a new talent. A brand is confined to a song or that film only, there is no guarantee that he will repeat the magic. The director should take the bold step, he shouldn’t be in a safe zone and he must look for a different technician to churn variety. The problem these days is that there is a lack of knowledge in music, because of this, exposure and understanding of music is going down. If the song works out in an audience, one should give a better composition. For that, the director should take a risk and give something new and look at a new revenue model. A new color should be exposed in the next film and we shouldn’t be wasting time by not exploring.
Q) Marketing a film is a challenge.
A) Whenever we deliver content and a director wants to show an emotion, a producer should push it forward. If we push a class movie content for a mass, it doesn’t work. Every day there is so much content available on Youtube but how much time can I or you spend time on it? Post Covid, everyone is busy, they might to a maximum see 100 reels on instagram in a day and the bare minimum is watching 15 videos on Youtube. The audience will think of entertainment only when they have time. When they see Youtube intermittently, they will not see our content until and unless it is in the top 10 or 20 trending list. In the half hour they see these videos and only if it remains on their mind..it can be labelled as one step close to success. The producer should take steps to market the content and also it is important that people believe in this content. For instance, How can you push an accident victim to listen to a nice AR Rehman song? He can’t appreciate it when he is in pain, so the timing of showing it also matters.
Q)Are our artistes and technicians still in a comfort zone?
A)There is opportunity for new and also established heros like never before in the Telugu film industry. Usually our mindset is that if a new hero attempts a not so regular genre, the calculations like the target audience, the nature of content…all this discussion begins. It is sad and a wrong thing for the audience to have a fixed image, imagination and expectations from an artist. The artist should be in a space and also have the liberty to experiment, try new roles and should be testing his skill sets and should push his limits. The audience should just go to the theatre without expectations and with an open mind. If this happens, people will not get bored and trash a film down. Watching diverse and fresh stories, they will begin to appreciate the creativity in the artist or the technician. The producers should promote such films and should not worry about return on investment. They should aggressively market the content and give importance to the music and teasers at the pre release events. If the producer creates a new experience for the audience, they will enjoy the attempt and likewise the audience will embrace different kinds of cinema. This will give rise to new talents in the form of technicians and artistes and also the tier one heroes will also get the confidence to experiment watching the people enjoying the content. New age cinema is the need of the hour.