B.A.G. Films managing director Anurradha Prasad


How has the year been for B.A.G. Films so far?


The year has been great so far for B.A.G. because we are launching two films on 6 October – Zindaggi Rocks and Mannat. I don’t think many people have done that.


 


A few months back we also tied up with the Korean animation company SieunDesign. Our animation studio is coming up in Delhi and we have already started working on an international project. Animation, as you know is a long drawn project and takes time to take its final shape. By March 2007 the studio should be in place.


 


India thankfully has started producing a whole lot of animators but that doesn’t mean that they are at par with the Koreans in terms of creative output. The Indian animation industry is hardly a five year old industry and I’m sure that in another two – three years it will be a completely different ball game altogether.


 


Apart from that, our 10 radio stations are coming up. We are launching our northern belt in December this year under the brand name of Radio Dhamaal.


 


We will start by launching in towns like Karnaal, Hisaar, Patiyala and Simla. Radio Dhamaal will then be launched in western, central and eastern Indian towns. In Madhya Pradesh we will launch in Jabalpur. Then we have Ranchi and Muzzafarpur in Jharkhand; post which we will launch in the sugar belt of Ahmednagar, Dhule and Jalgaon.


 


Radio’s staple diet is music so our programming is not very different per se. The RJ’s are being trained at our own institute (ISOMES). I am also hoping for news programmes to be allowed on radio stations by the time we launch.


 


What prompted you to venture into movies now?


I think this is the best period for the Indian film industry. The overseas revenues have started looking up, which is not only boosting the Indian film industry but it is also ensuring that brand India further penetrates into the Indian disapora around the world.


 


This in turn will help us as distributors, film makers and producers by providing us with more territories. Look at Hollywood today, it has 360 territories across the world and we have only nine. This will help boost revenues for the industry leading to growth and therefore good content will be produced.


 


Moreover, India is young and therefore with the multiplexes culture coming in, youngsters want to experiment with good cinema, which may not necessarily have a huge star cast or the popular song and dance routine. All these factors together contributed in creating a platform for us.


 


Apart from that we are a content company and that is our USP. We have always believed that as a content company, we should be able to handle all kinds of content on all kinds of platforms. Films were the one area that we hadn’t tapped until now.


 


We have had a presence on television and mobile and now we are also foraying into radio, so why should we leave films behind?


 


When we went public, we had promised our investors that we would remain a content company and would handle content on platforms.


 


Two of your movies release simultaneously on 6 October – one Hindi and the other Punjabi. What are the other genres or languages that you are looking at exploring in the films’ space?


In terms of language, at present we are not looking at experimenting too much after Mannat. But that’s not saying that we won’t be looking at it in the future. Venturing into films was a conscious decision so I have to maintain a certain level by ensuring that the films are done well at low cost with grand look and result.


 


Once we have made a conscious decision to get into this, we can’t back out.


 


Have you set any targets to make a certain number of films in a year?


I don’t work on any kind of targets because then that puts additional pressure. Hence we have not set any targets for producing x number of films in a particular year. Sometimes we might end up producing three-four films in a year or maybe just one — if it is a big project.


 


Filmmaking is about detailing and hence it requires that much more time and attention unlike television where one has the scope to change every now and then.


 


What is the kind of investment that you are looking at pumping in each year in films?


I haven’t kept any fixed budgets aside for making films because it depends from film to film. If it is a big budget film, then I may even go in for co-productions if I feel that B.A.G. should not take the entire risk keeping in mind investors’ interest. I have no qualms in doing joint productions.


 


Doing good content is what is most important and I have no issues to share the benefits with minded people.


 


Have you identified your next film?


We are already working on two scripts. One of them is totally ready with a bound script. It will be directed by Saurabh Narang, who also directed B.A.G Films’ first reality show – Haqeeqat.


 


With how many prints are you releasing Zindaggi Rocks and Mannat in India and the overseas?


For Zindaggi Rocks we have about 100 prints between Delhi and Mumbai. Add to that another 150 prints for the other Indian territories. In the overseas we will be releasing about 30 prints in the UK, the US, Dubai, France and Canada.


 


As far as Mannat is concerned, we will release 35 prints in the overseas markets of the UK, the US and Canada. In India, the film will be released in Punjab with 10 prints.


 


Have you sold the satellite rights of Zindaggi Rocks?


The satellite rights have been sold to Star and the DTH rights are with Tata-Sky.


 


Apart from that I have sold the in-flight entertainment rights are with Eros International. The music and home video rights are with T-Series.


 


With these ancillary rights, I have recovered 50 per cent of the cost for the movie, which has been made on a budget of Rs 60 million (Rs 6 crores).


 


Now that you have ventured into film, will you be looking at a bigger setup in Mumbai?


We have a fairly large setup in Mumbai as far as television is concerned. Our film division here comprises 25 people and we will be expanding over a period of time.


 


Has there been any change in the stock price of your company?


It has not done any better or worse with my foray into films. My investors know that it will remain rock solid.

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