IIM-A offers elective on film industry

Meera Srinivasan

CHENNAI: Nearly 80 students in their second year of management studies at the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIM-A) will on Friday sit in a class that cannot easily be linked to a top-notch B-school as they have opted for the newly-introduced elective ‘Contemporary film industry – a business perspective.’

Kandaswamy Bharathan, executive director of the Chennai-based Kavithalayaa Productions, and Tejas Desai, statistics and operations research expert, will teach the subject.

Speaking on the elective, Mr. Bharathan, an alumnus of IIM-A, said: “The film industry is largely considered unorganised. This course will look at how management concepts can be applied in the film and entertainment industry for better results.”

The elective course will span 25 sessions.

Apart from guest lectures by eminent persons from the industry, the course will also include three case studies.

One of them will be a study of actor Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Muthu’, which was a runaway hit in Japan as the ‘Dancing Maharaja.’

“We will look at how branding plays a major role internationally. Also, Bollywood is a global brand today, and it is, perhaps, the right time to introduce such a course when film production is being corporatised.”

While there are institutions that approach the creative side of film-making through academics, this is one of the first B-schools to introduce a full-fledged specialisation in the area that seeks to explain the business of cinema and entertainment, he said.

“Balancing the arts and business of the arts is always a challenge,” Mr. Bharathan, also the son-in-law of veteran director K. Balachander, added.

Asked if the industry will be able to pay management graduates with this specialisation, as well as a finance or a marketing job, would, Mr. Bharathan said: “Why not! When actors can be paid so much, I’m sure management professionals in the industry will also be paid very well.”

The industry puts in a lot of time, energy and thought into the creative aspect of cinema. However, not so much attention is paid to the branding, packaging and marketing of films, he noted.

“The industry is now ripe enough to have professionals in that space. Such professionals will certainly do the industry a lot of good.”

“When I entered the film industry in the early nineties, after my nearly 15-year stint in the corporate sector, there were hardly any management graduates in the field of production. Manirathnam was one, but he chose the creative space. I am looking forward to more company now.”

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