They might be new in the movie business, but have a strong brand to back them up. Times Group’s film subsidiary company Mirchi Movies has just stepped into the busy Bollywood market but has already taken off with big plans.
And it’s not only the Hindi cinema beat that it’s are targeting. The company also has its eyes set on the southern arena, to do films ranging from Tamil to Malayalam.
In conversation with Businessofcinema.com, Mirchi Movies COO Munish Purii reveals the company’s immediate plans and talks about competition from tough players.
Mirchi Movies started out with Being Cyrus all the way in 2005. But you have been lying low for a very long time. What took so much time in setting up the system?
Being Cyrus was our first pilot project, which materialized two years ago. We were the producers and played a key role in its marketing. It was indeed important for us. However, our full-fledged company Mirchi Movies Ltd was established 10 months ago.
We finished Being Cyrus in 2006. Post that, we have been chalking out plans for our production house, testing which genres we want to touch upon. Since then we have been doing what it takes to build the pipeline. We have about 15 to 18 films planned for the next two years.
We have developed quite a few films as part of our slate and hired a number of people to work on these projects. After our Tamil film, we have reading a Hindi and Malyalam film.
In the last two years the filmed entertainment scenario has changed radically with the likes of Eros, UTV, Reliance and Studio18 stepping up. Has that impacted Mirchi Movies’s plans?
Every company lists its own strategies. Similarly, our objectives are well-defined. We want to create good content cinema that would be family entertaining to a large extent.
The other players are indulging in too many avenues and we feel happy about it. At the end of the day, our industry is growing. Our initial plan is strong enough, we are venturing into Hindi as well as regional cinema.
Was Mirchi Movies created with the intention of doing niche cinema, or is it going to be aggressive mainstream?
Not really niche. Whichever films we have on floors right now are very commercial and massy. We would like to focus on mainstream cinema.
What kind of films will we see budget wise?
Most of our films will be around seven to 15 crores. Two of our upcoming films will have bigger budgets. We will take some time to announce these.
How much does Times Groups’ goodwill benefit and compliment Mirchi Movies?
We are extremely happy that Mirchi Movies is a part of Times Group, which is the largest media house in the country. It has definitely benefited us in many ways. Each of our film is packaged well and brought up as a baby.
Out of the entire lot of Times’ subsidiaries Mirchi Movies has probably been least active. Why?
Times Music and Radio Mirchi have been around for a long time now. Mirchi Movies is just a year old. For us, the chapter has just begun.
Will Times groups’ other subsidiaries compliment Mirchi Movies? How?
We will cross-pollinate as much as possible. However, it totally depends upon individual projects. It’s not necessary that if we have a project we will persuade Junglee (Times Group’s new music label) to come on board. If they feel our project fits in their bracket, they will tie up with us. But we will try and work together as much as we can.
Mirchi Movies announced a film Mujhe Zinda Karo with Karol Bagh, what is the status with that?
A fleet of films will be releasing before Mujhe Zinda Karo.
Why did Mirchi Movies venture into the Southern market?
It’s a good market. Most of the Indian films’ ideas come out of the southern market. There is good potential for us to exploit the area. Both the Hindi and Southern cinema is equally important.
Do you feel that market is better than the Hindi film industry since Mirchi Movies is investing 50% of the principal sum?
Up to 50 per cent of our corpus will be invested in the south market. We have Manjadikuru (Malayalam) and Vellithera, a Tamil comedy movie which will hit the screens soon.
With companies like UTV, Studio 18, Moser Baer and Reliance also venturing southwards, how will Movie Mirchi make a dent in that market? What actor and producers have been signed?
Every player has their own strengths and each of their strengths contribute to the industry’s growth. Mirchi Movies plans to attract newer talent, directors as well as actors. We want to work with the best stars in India and we are quite excited about being here.
Do you plan to remake your own southern films in Hindi?
Well, there are strong chances. Like there is cross-pollination between subsidiaries of the same company, similarly, it can happen with the Hindi and South market.