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Small screen, big impact

harshikaa udasi
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Director Abhinay Deo is making a 60-minute film, inspired by the brand philosophies of an FMCG major, for TV audiences

unconventional approachAbhinay Deo
unconventional approachAbhinay Deo

Abhinay Deo, fresh out of the popular TV show 24 starring Anil Kapoor, is yet again working on content for the telly tube. In conjunction with MTV India and FMCG conglomerate Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), the Delhi Belly director is one of the six filmmakers who are making 60-minute films, inspired by the brand philosophies of various HUL products, for the newly-launched MTV Films.

This exercise in branded content is being touted as the first ever on Indian television, and promises not to be an in-your-face marketing strategy. So, while Sunsilk, Ponds, TRESemme, Lakme and Close Up will ‘inspire’ the films, you will not have to contend with a product shot every minute or strategically placed logos throughout the movie. “There are general guidelines that we have been given, so you can be certain there will not be a product shot looming in every frame. In fact, my film is the finale, and will set the standard as far as story-telling and execution are concerned. It’s something never done in India before, though globally, BMW was the first to do it,” he says.

The filmmaker, who has worked for 20 years in the field of advertising, says that building a movie for branded content was right up his alley. “I just needed to expand the 30 seconds to 55 minutes! But, on a serious note, since I have worked with all three media — features, commercials and print — I found this format very interesting,” he says.

A spectacular experience

The success of 24 has buoyed his spirits and Abhinay says, “Shooting for 24 was a spectacular experience but what I particularly need to mention is the free hand I got in executing the show. I think television is expanding rapidly and audiences are being given more unique content. Mark my words, in the next two years the texture of Indian television is going to change dramatically.”

Shoojit Sircar, Anurag Basu, Rohan Sippy, Nikhil Advani and Anurag Kashyap are the rest of the directors working for MTV Films. The first film (Anurag Basu’s Real FM ) will be telecast on March 23 at 7 p.m., and there will be one film release a month.

harshikaa udasi


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