MEERA SRINIVASAN

The interest that students of management have in the film industry, particularly in its business aspects, seems to be growing, if the trend at the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad is any indication. When the institute introduced an elective on ‘Contemporary film industry - a business perspective' in 2008, about 80 students enrolled for it. However, over 150 students have registered this year for the same elective, classes for which began recently.

The main faculty member for the elective, Kandaswamy Bharathan, executive director of the Chennai-based Kavithalayaa Productions, says there is a great demand for professionally qualified management graduates in the film industry and this course seeks to train interested candidates to play an active role in the business side of the entertainment industry.

“Today the world of entertainment is highly corporatised and that has created a need for professionals who understand how the industry works and can possibly make a difference with their expertise,” says Mr. Bharathan, who is also an alumnus of IIM-A. Besides taking the course, a few students opted for taking up internships in the entertainment industry. “In fact, Kavithalayaa recruited two students who are doing very well now,” he adds.

Aspects such as production management, technological environment of cinema, budgeting and financial control, marketing and branding in film industry and possible de-risking models are being covered in the elective. This year, more attention would be paid to case studies of promoting Indian films abroad. “I would share my experiences of promoting actor Rajinikanth-starrer Muthu abroad.”

In addition to that, the institute plans to invite renowned actors and producers in the industry who could share their perspectives with students. In a field as dynamic as the film industry, different perspectives and experiences are likely to give students a feel of how the industry works and what kind of skills would be required for a professional who aims to be part of it.

Mr. Bharathan says he is also trying to include experiences from other States and film industries to give students a comprehensive picture.