New Delhi (UNI): Going in for a limited release of a film in today's times when it is usual for almost all big banners to flood cinema halls with prints of their films may not seem like a sound distribution strategy.
However, Rajshri Productions, the makers of such blockbusters as Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun have gone for a limited release in case of their latest cinematic production Vivaah, starring Bollywood teenage heartthrob Shahid Kapur and the pretty Amrita Rao in the lead roles.
Going against the current trend of flooding the theatres with one's films to reap maximum returns within a short period of time - while Kunal Kohli's 'Fanaa' was released with over 750 prints, Rakesh Roshan's Krrish, Karan johar's Kabhi Alvida na Kehna and Sajid Nadiadwala's Jaan-e-Mann were released with over 1000 prints' - the Rajshris have released Vivaah with just 200 prints across the countries while just 100 prints of the film are being released worldwide.
The strategy is reminiscent of Rajshri's earlier blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, which was released with just two prints in its opening week.
Explaining the strategy of going in for a limited release of Vivaah, Rajjat Barjatya, son of the filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya and the managing director of Rajshri Media, the digital media and entertainment arm of the Rajshri group said,''like Hum Aapke hain Kaun, Vivaah too is a film seeped into Indian culture and traditions. It is a film that charts the journey of a boy and girl from their engagement till marriage, a courtship period that is unique to India.
It's an interesting phase in life of every Indian boy and girl.
We felt that a film like Vivaah had a potential to spread by word and mouth. Hence the limited release.'' He said the film, which dealt with how a simple engagement ceremony creates an indelible bond between a boy and a girl in that everything that you like, dislike, do, speak - everything centres around that person and vice versa, was a perfect embodiment of Indian culture in today's times.
''I am sure that over a period of time, it will touch a chord with the cinegoers the way Hum Aapke Hain kaun did, ''Rajjat said.
He said the number of prints of the film would be increased once it picked up in popularity.
Touted as a heart-warming tale of unconditional love, Vivaah deals with the courtship period of Poonam (Amrita Rao), a middle class girl who lives in the small town of Madhupur with her uncle (Aloknath) and aunt (Seema Biswas), and Prem, son of a Delhi-based businessman (Anupam Kher).
Poonam's parents passed away when she was very young and since then her uncle has been looking after her. However, her aunt has never liked her. Poonam grows up into a graceful and beautiful young woman and touches the heart of matchmaker Bhagatji (Manoj Joshi) with her simplicity and warmth.
Bhagatji is so impressed with Poonam that he takes her marriage proposal for Prem (Shahid Kapur), son of a Delhi-based businessman Harishchandra (Anupam Kher). Prem, a soft-spoken boy rooted to the ground, is hesitant about getting married so early. However, respecting his father's wishes, he agrees to meet Poonam.
What follows is a meeting arranged by the two families and this formal meeting turns into an engagement. Prem and Poonam get engaged and it is decided that they will tie the knot after six months.
The six months become the most beautiful and romantic period of their lives. Coming from different sensibilities, both want their relationship to be very "right" for each other.
It is notable that a limited release strategy helped Hum Aapke Hain Kaun turn out to be one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters of all times. With 'Vivaah', the filmmakers are hoping to achieve a similar result.
Even as it releases in cinema halls across the country and the world today, Sooraj Barjatya's Vivah will also become the first Indian film to premiere on the internet.
In an unprecedented move, the Rajshri Group will make the eagerly awaited movie available online simultaneously on the day and time of its theatrical release.
'' Beginning tomorrow, at 1200 hours, Vivah will be available on the internet in both streaming and download versions, at a cost of 9.99 US Dollars per download,''Rajjat A Barjatya, son of filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya and the managing director of Rajshri Media, the digital and entertainment arm of the Rajshri Group told mediapersons here.
However, wrapped around the downloaded file will be a unique DRM software which prevents the film from being copied on a DVD or a VCD, a measure designed to prevent piracy of the film.
The release of Vivah on the Internet is part of an initiative to launch Rajshri.com, a website from where net surfers can stream and download hundreds of full length feature films including blockbusters like Phir Hera Pheri, Hera Pheri, Amar Akbar Anthony, Ek Duje Ke liye, Love In Tokyo, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and many move.
Also available on the net will be film and non-film music videos, concerts, humour clips, short films and documentaries licensed from the most respected individuals and organisations in their fields.
''Vivah will be the first Indian film to premiere on the Internet.
Conceptually, it is the first initiative of its kind not only in India but also in the world,''Rajjat said.
Released on the Internet will be three versions of Vivah - the Hindi theatrical version, the Hindi theatrical version with English subtitles and its Telugu version, 'Parinayam', which is being released in theatres across Hyderabad.
Consumers will be offered options to stream the movie on their Personal computers (PC) or download the movie with a limited 72-hour license. Consumers can further choose to stream either high or low bandwidth versions of the movie, depending on the speed of their broadband connectivity.
''Vivah's premiere on the Internet marks the beginning of a new era in film distribution in Bollywood. It is a giant step in the field of digital entertainment in India which promises to put the power of what you watch, when you watch and which device on which you watch it in the hands of the consumer rather than the broadcaster. The initiative enables a consumer to watch a movie at a time and date of his convenience by just clicking the mouse,''Rajjat said.
''Broadband, or digital media as it is commonly called, is rapidly making inroads into the homes and lives of Internet users Worldwide, predominantly in the developed economies. No longer restricted to text and graphics, broadband opens up a hitherto unexplored and unimaginable universe of multimedia, video content, interactive in nature, which a user can access and pay for from his PC at a time of his/her choice on demand,''he added.
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