Entertainment Industry"s multi talented personality, successful Distributor and owner of distribution and marketing company Entity One, 'Girish Wankhede" interacts with www.marathidhamaal.com and speaks about his journey and lot more.
Q. From an Engineering Intern to a successful Distributor you have travelled a long way, tell us about your journey?
Girish Wankhede: My journey has been very interesting till date. It has been fruitful and fulfilling. After completing my engineering degree, I came to Mumbai for my first job as an intern in Godrej selling their then newly-launched Printers. But for a boy from Nagpur, who always grew on Bollywood films, was excited to come to Mumbai and work in Entertainment Industry. So that was my only focus. After working for 3 months there, somebody told me to meet people in the Industry, later I started working in Production. This was the ultimate kick start of my journey, I worked with Vimal Kumar, Saawan Kumar Tak when they were making films like Rajaji and Suno Sasurjee. So, I worked with them and started understanding this field, and this is when I made up my mind to work in this Industry and specialise in Public Relation. I met people, I met journalists and eventually started my career as a Public Relation Executive with a PR agency. I learned the way how people everywhere learn around and the first corporate job that I handled was with Ultra Video where I joined as a Public Relation Officer. During those days, there was no internet so I used to go personally to every office to hand over the Press Release Notes. It was a great struggle but I loved what I did as I always had the passion and interest to write about films. While I worked in Ultra Video, I was promoting their Home Video titles and was also the part of distribution and marketing of the theatrical release of English flick 'AIRBUD". This is when I realized that there was a lot of excitement and curiosity regarding multiplexes the new medium of cinema. I too decided to join in and was absorbed by Cinemax as Asst Manager-Public Relations in July 2005.
At that time the 1st big Multiplex of Cinemax was just coming up in Versova and I was handed over the part of its launch as I came from a background of PR & Marketing. As they felt that I was the right person to project the concept of Cinemax multiplex to the audiences.
So finally I joined Cinemax in 2005 and the 1st released film was 'Salaam Namaste". And from there on I started my multiplex-journey. At that time my innovative suggestions were accepted and so we hosted series of first look launches, Music releases, customer engagement schemes, Special screenings, Premieres and started inviting the star cast to Cinemax for meet and greet session with the audiences. In fact Aum Media helped me a lot, they used to do media buying in all the multiplexes and used to influence the producers to do event at our locations. I travelled across the country with celebs for city tours and was soon promoted as the Head of the Division. Public Relations eventually helped me with the name and fame, by gradually becoming the National Marketing Head for Cinemax.
Q. You were referred as Cinemax's 'secret weapon' and also the busiest man. What do you have to say about it?
Girish Wankhede: During my tenure in multiplexes I have seen Marathi producers being exploited by several distributors and marketers. I hosted 5 Marathi film festivals during my tenure in 7 cities across Maharashtra, during the prime time and pricing the tickets in just Rs70-80 and motivated them by several facilitations. The other reason was to use the expertise in marketing and public relations to support independent cinema. Being independent will give me more liberty to indulge in my inclinations like film festivals, writing columns, and hosting workshops. I always tried to mend a bridge between the producers to release their films in the multiplexes and supported regional cinemas. The main problem with multiplexes is that earlier on it could accommodate only Big Time filmmakers and not small time filmmakers. But I slowly changed that concept of accommodating Big Time filmmakers, besides giving way to a new initiative of Release Partner. That apart I also gave more visibility to the regional especially Marathi films by giving them a proper outlet of showcasing them in our 40-50 screens and help them in releasing their film. So I was the Release Partner for Marathi movies including 'Touring Talkies" by Trupti Bhoir and 'Adgula Madgula". Later Cinemax and PVR merged and eventually I was handling both as National Marketing Head. I had a very busy career then and I had no time to look into anything else. And so I decided to go for PVR distribution, I headed for PVR Pictures which was distributing at least 50-60 films in a year. Meanwhile I was also felicitated by various awards including Best Public Relation Officer of the Country, Best PR by Media, Best PR person in Entertainment, Best Marketing Man of the Multiplexes and others. And I always feel that Distribution is something where a man should work in because it complements everything, like you make a film but have a good ROI i.e. Return Of Investments only if the showcase is good and for distribution – Marketing, Public Relation just compliments, the actual game is distribution, so it is as important as making a film. You make a film, but making it reach to the actual audience and making money out of it, is the final outcome of what somebody has done. And this all aspects have always excited me to do something better every time with distribution and starting my own.
Q. How did the idea of 'Entity One" come about?
Girsh Wankhede: I wanted Marathi producers to be more updated and aware of the releases and marketing syndrome. So 'Entity One" became the aggregator for PVR Pictures to release Marathi films across Maharashtra. 'Entity One" is in fact the platform of various enterprising experts to work towards a common goal of marketing and respectfully releasing the film. I started it on 25th May, 2015 with my first film 'Gour Hari Dastaan" and in these five months I did several films.
Q. You have already released five Marathi films under 'Entity One" in a short span of time. How did you manage to do so?
Girish Wankhede: As I said I did several films including five Marathi films like Siddhant, Panhala, Slambook, Than Than Gopal and Janiva along with two Hindi films Gor Hari Dastaan and Love Exchange. Then in November, I decided to come out into production and put distribution on an auto mode and to create annual properties which were the main motive of organising 'Entity One". So the whole idea of me coming out was to create an elaborated distribution network where my company will distribute films along with marketing, public relation and the ground activation of media buying, everything taking place under one roof.
Q. What are your future projects?
Girish Wankhede: Right now, I am working for a film 'Do Lafzon Ki Kahani" starring Randeep Hooda and Kajal Agarwal, it is a Deepak Tijori film and Entity One will be releasing it as a marketing and distribution consultancy. Other than that, around January end I will be announcing 2 films which I will be producing, one Marathi and one Hindi. So for now my whole idea is to concentrate on producing good films.
Q. Recently, you were felicitated by Adhericha Raja Mandal for your valuable contribution in the Industry. Tell us about it?
Girish Wankhede: (Laughs) the story behind it was, when there were disputes going on between the multiplexes and Marathi film producer, during that time a Marathi movie"s morning show was cancelled in a multiplex which led to protest by a Political party against the multiplex. During this protest, luckily I was present there and was only one who could speak and understand Marathi. So I requested the protestors to stay calm and asked the multiplex officials about the problem and later explained them that the real reason to cancel the show was due to some technical issues occurred during the screening. As a representative of the multiplex I promised them from now on no show will be cancelled and assured them that we love Marathi films and will host Marathi film festival. Later when I hosted my very first Marathi film festival I invited all the protestors who were present during the protest. Almost 5 year later when they saw me hosting film festivals every year, they were surprised and congratulated me for my work and dedication and decided to felicitate me. But I feel this not something big because the field in which we are working needs more dedication, hard work, sincerity and honesty and I feel this is very less and I have to work hard to achieve more.