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Sony PIX taking pains to build an Indian identity

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UNLIKE THE OTHER BONDS: Daniel Craig as James Bond in `Casino Royale'. (AP Photo/EON Productions/PA)
UNLIKE THE OTHER BONDS: Daniel Craig as James Bond in `Casino Royale'. (AP Photo/EON Productions/PA)

Susan Muthalaly

Channel wants to localise its look and feel

CHENNAI: Although Sony PIX is busy in its role as official television partner for `Casino Royale', the new Bond movie that everyone is talking about, they are also gearing up to take on the competition.

In a telephone interview from Mumbai, Sundar Aaron, Business Head, Sony PIX, said that their key strategy to take on the more established English movie channels is to give the channel an `Indian feel'.

Promoting `Casino Royale'

Even with the `Casino Royale' promotions, Sony PIX will be airing a customised show for its viewers, in which Hindi actor Tara Sharma interviews the new Bond, Daniel Craig, and the rest of the cast.

"The film is a big release for Sony. So, as part of the big corporate initiative, we all just step up and do our bit. This includes promotional spots for the film and related competitions," he said.

Word is out that the new Bond film is unlike its predecessors in many ways. It is less sexed up, there are fewer gadgets, and the focus is on the story.

Mr. Aaron explained that this fit into the profile of the sort of movies they want for their channel.

He said that they wanted to draw an audience interested in a good story.

"Star Movies and HBO screen big, all-star cast, blockbuster movies. We focus on the story. Never mind if the film is unknown or a couple of decades old."

With films such as `Gladiator' or the `Lord of the Rings' trilogy, there had been so much hype that people will watch the film anyway, even a non-English speaking audience, said Mr. Aaron.

"We aren't shying away from the big budget films. If it is a good story, we'll pick it. Our movies are literally handpicked."

According to a survey for the channel, the Sony PIX audience is more likely to sit and watch an entire movie. "I'm not saying that everyone is going to like every movie that we air. But, if there is something distinctive, we'll pick it."

The channel airs for the Indian sub-continent.

They are taking pains to build an Indian identity through customised programmes. Not just the advertising. They want to localise the look and feel of the channel.

A step in this direction is the worldwide TV premier of `Being Cyrus', an Indian English film, on Sunday at 8 p.m. on Sony PIX.

It will be preceded by a curtain raiser, where the director, Homi Adjania, is interviewed, and behind-the-scenes clips shown.

"We will continue to give the viewers content that is in keeping with the Indian audience," said Mr. Aaron.

The next Indian film premiere will be Aparna Sen's `15 Park Avenue'.

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