Record sales for Lagaan DVDs; beats Sholay

MUMBAI: The Lagaan home video, which was released after six years of the movie being released theatrically, has created a record of sorts. The DVDs and VCDs, which were recently launched, have surpassed sales of 2.5 lakhs units (Lagaan and Chale Chalo combined); thus making it the highest selling DVD in India in terms of volume and value ahead of Sholay.

The DVD released by Excel Home Videos, couldn’t be launched earlier due to a clause in the contract with Sony. Aamir Khan Productions and Excel Home Videos launched the home video of the movie last month, which was attended by director Ashutosh Gowarikar, Gracy Singh, Javed Aktar and many of the cast members.

Lagaan entered the market with a record number of DVDs and VCDs, the total units being around 1,00,000 and 1,50,000 respectively.

Says Aamir Khan, “After signing the deal with Excel Home Videos, we personally addressed the trade (retailers and wholesalers) at a symposium to garner feedback on our products plans. We also organised a screening of Chale Chalo – the award winning documentary on the making of Lagaan. The overwhelming response and the assurances from the trade led us to seal our mega launch plans.”

The product lines for the launch had been planned, keeping in mind the mega release. A limited Special Anniversary Edition Three Disc DVD box set is the main highlight of the launch. The box with DVDs of Lagaan and Chale Chalo is packaged in a specially crafted wooden box with movie memorabilia like a special caricature of the Lagaan team created by artist Dhimant Vyas, an exclusive hand cut 35 mm cinemascope filmstrip from the actual movie print, rare collectible cards and a copper coin embedded in a card with a special message from Aamir Khan.

The limited edition box set is priced at Rs 1999 and first of its kind in India. There is also the regular DVD and VCD priced at Rs 399 and Rs 199 respectively. The DVD of Lagaan has extra features like 30 minutes of deleted scenes. The highlight is a peppy song called, “Re Bhaiyya Chhoote Lagaan,” which was not included in the theatrical release of the movie. The DVD is digitally mastered in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound making it only the second Hindi film (after Parineeta) on DVD to have this technology enhancing the overall visual and audio experience.

Marketing push was also given to the launch of the DVDs and VCDs with contests aimed at consumers, which would win them a dinner date with Aamir Khan, autographed bats from Lagaan Eleven, free Chale Chalo DVDs and books among others. A special blog site has also been created where fans could interact with Khan. The mainstay of the campaign was the indoor cricket match, which was held at a mall in Andheri where Aamir Khan and his team played a match against 11 lucky consumers. This in addition to the retail, print and television campaigns and the launch.

Excel Home Videos managing director M N Kapasi says, “In a market that has been witnessing a spate of price and quality erosion, Lagaan has stood ground in terms of quality and innovative product lines and price points to achieve this mark. Additionally, the marketing buzz and the staggering response from the trade and above all the personal commitment and relentless support from Aamir Khan have made this milestone possible.”