Ritam Bhatnagar, is the Founder of Freeway Film Company, an integrated film entertainment company. Ritam’s first film, ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’, has been a game-changer for the urban Gujarati film industry. The film has set a milestone for being the first Gujarati film to release in multiplexes and running houseful for ten weeks. Ritam was distributor of the film along with the Executive Producer and instrumental in taking Gujarati films to multiplexes. He was recently selected by World Economic Forum as “Global Shaper”.
Don’t be Skeptical About Entering Nascent Markets
There is always a market gap which you identify at the beginning. The bigger the gap, the higher the probability that your product/service will go right.
Every nascent market usually has a big demand and supply gap, which is created by emphasize of majority of market players over a certain section, thereby totally ignoring the other section of market. It was same for us. We were entering the defined market of 'Gujarati Films', but almost all production houses were making films for rural audience. We recognized the gap for the urban audience. All we did was create a right product to fill that gap.
A good film comes as a result of lot of planning that goes behind every action. A film is very much like a startup company. It has a small core team with different or no experiences, but a lot of limitation in terms of resources, be it human resource, financial or knowledge. The best way to move ahead is to plan each action with highest efficiency so that more can be extracted from limited resources.
Also it is important to have a good core team who can envision the goals of a producer and put proper efforts to achieve them. When everyone in a film is working with similar mission, it makes a greater difference in your effectiveness, and this also reflects on the product.
It was the most difficult part, more than arranging for finances. People need to believe you and your idea before they join you. When you are attempting something new, it becomes extremely difficult to convince them.
"When we used to approach people to act in a Gujarati film, it used to become tedious task to get their appointment. And even if they got convinced with the script, they always had a 'Suspicion' over our conviction that an urban Gujarati film will work. It was a bigger task to inject our vision into each one of them." says the producer.
Unlike popular belief, films are less speculation and more planning. Though the end-result depends hugely on customers, but that is the case with every business model. The speculation in a film is very much calculated and hence both the extremes are well known. The trick is to best prepare for both the extremes.
Any business has hugely varying outcomes, but the level of speculation can be brought down to least with proper planning and forecasting.
Never Lose Hope
It is very disheartening when you are attempting to reach out to a Group of audience which no-one has attempted before or no one has been successful in previous attempts. There is lot of discouragement which you often face.
What matters then is the strength of your core team and their belief in creation. If you and your co-founders/management team believe that your attempt is trying to fill a market gap which no one else has done, you will probably won't leave half way until you taste the results.
We have had been hearing constant nagging and lot of discouraging words from people for more than a year and sometimes it really put us down, but we waited for the release before taking these words to ear. And on the day of release of film, it all ended. Since then it has all been praises from the same people. What worked - we WAITED!