Bollywood is pulling out its best suits and expressions — not for any award ceremony (all the big ones are over, in case you don't follow such matters) but FICCI Frames, the three-day jamboree that is as close as B-Town gets to an annual convention.
Every year, around this time, the high priests of India's media industry converge at Mumbai's Renaissance Hotel to make gung-ho keynote speeches, throw around a lot of statistics, talk loftily of industry presence on the international scene and do some serious networking. Pretty much like most other conventions, really.
Except in this case, there are plenty of really big fish out there. Eminences from the world of television, radio and print make their appearances, and get seriously heard. Among the speakers this year are Ekta Kapoor, Barkha Dutt and Vikram Chandra of NDTV, Sunil Lulla of Times TV, and Puneet Goenka of Zee. Print will be represented by Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express Group and T.N. Ninan, Editor of the Business Standard.
But, as with so many ‘summits' and such events, it's the film folk who breeze in and out that get most of the flashbulbs and mileage. B-town's biggest daddy, Yash Chopra, one of the Hindi film industry's most successful directors and producers, is an annual fixture. So is the other, younger, man who's inching closer to him by the day: Karan Johar. Chopra remains his usual unassuming, no-frills self while Johar has his best corporate hat on at the event.
In addition, there are usually a couple of stars and directors who are the flavour of the season. No prizes for guessing that Vidya Balan will be delivering a speech this year.
Also scheduled to be in attendance are actor Kamal Haasan, directors Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Farah Khan.
There will also be impressive international attendance too: Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman, Motion Pictures Association of America; Hernan Lopez, President and CEO, Fox International Channels; and Mark Hollinger, President & CEO, Discovery Networks International, to name a few.
While there is much bonhomie and chatter in the hall and corridors, the real business at FICCI Frames is conducted in the hotel's suites and rooms. Most of the big names have a suite reserved and this is where closed-door meetings are conducted and deals are struck.
Lesser beings often try to latch on to someone higher up the food chain, and that is a strategy that can work well if you're savvy enough.
With an entry fee of Rs 12,500, networking at FICCI Frames doesn't come cheap for the less well-heeled. But if you work the turf smartly, it could be money well spent.
Bottomline: Gung-ho speeches, statistics, talks about industry presence on the international scene and some serious networking
FICCI Frames 2012, Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai March 14, 15 & 16, 2012