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Song, dance and award

Yusuf Begg | December 19, 2003

News and entertainment content provider, Pritish Nandy Communications, has won the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Asia Pacific) Technology Fast 500 award. The Fast 500 is part of a programme that recognises fast-growing technology companies. PNC is the only media company from India to bag the award.

Says Pritish Nandy, founder and chairman of PNC: "The award will build our credibility and attract business. It's an honour to be ranked among the fastest growing companies in the region." Nandy is hopeful that Chameli (starring Rahul Bose and Kareena Kapoor) will replicate the success of Jhankaar Beats.

Chameli is set for release in a couple of weeks time. "We're waiting for LoC to hit the screens first and then release our film. With a multi-starrer like LoC there is sure to be cannibalisation of viewers if we release it at the same time," he informs.

Nandy goes on to add that the Fast 500 award only reiterates what his company believes in -- that one should become more customer-centric and know what they want. "There is no need to be defensive about the type of films we in the industry produce. We make good song and dance films and should stick to it," he says.

PNC's formula is to make films that are set in urban locales with urban sensibilities. "I don't think we would like to do pan-Indian films. The days of Mother India or Sholay are gone," he says and goes on to add that there will be multi-starrers and big budget in future and a number of them might be hits at the box office. "But these big banner films will be exceptions."

The mantra to PNC's success has been knowledge of its target audience and giving them films that would appeal across all age groups.

Technology has been the greatest driver in the entertainment business and though no accurate figures are available, Nandy believes that the Bombay film industry is worth roughly Rs 13,000 crore (Rs 130 billion).

"On an average Bollywood produces 900-plus films a year and there are annually 360 crore (3.6 billion) viewers going to theatres to watch films. "The job is to increase this figure," he says. Though he doesn't have any sure shot recipe for a hit, he says technically well-made films stand a chance to make money.

In fact Nandy is so confident of Indian film industry's technological skills that he says it is possible to produce a Hollywood film at 80 per cent of its cost.

The major hurdles in the growth of the Mumbai film industry, according to him, are skewed tax slabs ("entertainment tax should be slashed to 15 per cent"), quality of theatres in the country and piracy ("it's a parallel industry and worth as much as the legit one").

PNC, which was set up in 1993, did a turnover of Rs 41 crore (Rs 410 million) in 2002-03. The company's targeting business worth Rs 45 crore (Rs 450 million) by March, 2004. Besides Chameli, PNC is set to release Hazaroon Khwaishe Aisi, sometime in February.

Under production are Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam, a film by Meghna Gulzar and another by debutante director Anirban. Nandy doesn't see his company venturing into producing music in the near future. "We'd like to stick to our core competency, that is making films," he says.

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