Posted by Arjun Sekhri on June 8, 2009 | 26 Comment

A little bit about yourself and what got you into UTV and the film business?

Grew up in Mumbai, got my B.Com from Sydenham college, went to Jamnalal Bajaj for my MBA, did a stint with Proctor and Gamble in Brand Management. Moved to Star TV at an interesting time when they were moving from a half Hindi, half English to a full Hindi channel. Worked in Kaun Banega Carorepati at that time, which was the show that really turned the fortunes of Star Plus. Moved to Hong Kong, then Dubai where I looked after the sales and marketing for Star, moved back to Hong Kong, looking after the marketing for Southeast Asia, including China, Taiwan, India. Around 2005 began talking with Ronnie of UTV, was looking to come back to India since I had been out of the country for five years, since I really wanted to be where the action is, also at that time UTV was setting up a central marketing division to look after the movies, television, the entire gamut. I figured that would be a great opportunity with UTV, also having done a summer training stint in UTV I really believed in the vision of UTV. So I figured it would be great to return to India with an organization such as this, came back in 2005 and since then have been with UTV, started off working as a central Marketing Head across the various divisions, moved to the Movies division where I was looking after the revenue as well as the marketing and two years ago came in this position of the CEO for Motion Pictures in UTV.

Having seen some of the earlier films of UTV, at least the one’s that released in the US, like Parineeta and Swades, one got that very positive perception that here was a company that was looking to build a brand for the long term, as opposed to the “let’s get that big hit right now,” approach?

For a new player to come into the market and create some sort of a mark, it was essential to pick the right products, projects and scripts, to ensure that the branding was right, of course with commercial considerations too. Hence it was a joint call between the pedigree of the filmmaker and the commercial aspect.

Long before foreign tie up’s became a norm, UTV had already made the leap of faith with Hollywood. Talk to us about the thought process that brought this about and also how are you coping with the current global economic meltdown?

Yes that is true that we were the first to get into Hollywood. We had a good relationship with Fox and Fox Searchlight and when it came to the Namesake, which was our first co production, Mira Nair and Ronnie Screwalla had a great personal equation and they had wanted to work together for a long time. When we learned that she was going to be making a film out of Namesake, which is a fabulous book, that’s something we went after from the get go before she approached the studio and then we sort of approached the studio together , that is Searchlight since they fitted the profile of the film, so really it started from the filmmaker as opposed to the studio. Once the relationship was established with Searchlight with films like The Namesake and I love My Wife, then in the case of Happening again, it was the relationship with the filmmaker, M. Night, that got the project going, we had wanted to work with him for a long time, went with him to the studios and that is how that project took off. So it has been a combination of the strong relationship we have with the studios and the strong relationship we have established with the filmmaker. At this time, though, we are really focusing on the local language slate, the Hindi language that is, of course while looking from time to time, with movies from the West.

As far as the global meltdown is concerned, sure, liquidity has been hit. In the last couple of the years of the industry, India was going through a bit of a bubble phase. The global meltdown as you are calling it, actually has resulted in things getting a little more sane now. The industry has been forced to get it’s act together, become more lean, bring down the costs and become more discerning about the number of movies that come out in the industry

What’s upcoming from UTV?

A whole lot of films, different genres, established directors, rank newcomers. The movies include, Kaminey, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Agyaat, Aage Se Right, Yahoo, Paan Singh Tomar, Hook Ya Crook, Season’s Greeting, What’s Your Raashee, Peter Gaya Kaam Se, Alibaba Aur 41 Chor, Film City, Shoebite, Delhi Belly, Arjun the Warrior Prince amongst others.

UTV Spotboy has been like a breadth of fresh air with movies like Aamir, which were more R o I driven as opposed to Gross Revenue, and they did commercially very well too. It was almost like a Fox Searchlight for the Indian cinema?

As far as the UTV Spotboy brand is concerned we have been considering it for a long time. We want to focus on movies that are on the cutting edge. Movies that might not have been screened in the past, but today you have an audience for them and therefore deserved to be made and also deserved to be marketed and distributed in the right manner, as well. In UTV Spotboy that really is the formula that we are working towards and with which we have found some success with, in the last year. To focus on new directors, new scripts, new ways of telling stories and also be able to promote those movies in such a way as to get a mass audience to come and watch them and therefore make it a commercially viable proposition.

In India we have had the studio model, with Mehboob, etc, then we went independent, now the studios seem to be back. What’s your take on where the future is headed, more studio, more independent, or somewhere in between?

I feel as far as production is concerned, you are always going to have independents out there. Studios will be into production, but will also depend on the creative individuals, who have a track record and a pulse of the audience and there are a lot of individual producers in that category, who I don’t think are going anywhere. As far as the distribution is concerned I do believe, there will be a consolidation that will happen, actually has already occurred. The larger distributors are going to be the one’s with the global releases and the bulk of the revenue is going to be coming out of them. Already you have Eros, Yashraj, Studio 18, UTV, and these four studios account for quite a large percentage of the revenue. So you will still have a lot of individual producers making movies, who will probably go to one of the larger distributors, to distribute their movies.

26 Responses
sir i have a project with manoj bajpayi. he likes my script. i m associate of anubhav sinha. sir plese look my project. kulla kanjan January 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm
Hi Sir How are you? sir im try to find a animated movie name "Arjun the Warrior Prince" in 2009. but im unable to find on net. please help me where i get this CD, DVD or Blue ray. please mail me if you wanna help me Parminder Jeet Singh November 1, 2011 at 1:02 am
Dear Arjun, Please send me Siddharth Roy Kapur's contact including postal address, phone number and email id. I am Ex-Principal K.V.S. New Delhi, Story Writer and Screen Play / Dialogue Writer in English and Hindi.for my book THE MESSIAH Ishwardayal Mishra November 19, 2011 at 6:43 am
hi sir.......awesome.........            this is suraj, i wrkd with utv as a office boy in my teen age and after i left this job for my further studies.. now i completed my bsc..4rm mumbai university,             and i start with my new career, i wrote many of script in different love story,,, me 9664309398 suraj jadhav November 23, 2011 at 9:44 am
Dear Sir Being a short film maker i have been making short and documentary films since last 25 yaers for various govt.dept.i have developed a story for making a realistick feature film in hindi language having sufficient commercial ingredients within a 60lakh budget.Would you like to produce the film ? Kindly contact me cell no-09437515741. Regards K.P.Acharya K.P.ACHARYA December 19, 2011 at 12:41 am
dear sir i want to meet you regarding movie project. thanks  salim dyer December 27, 2011 at 7:55 am
hi sir, contact me sanjay January 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm
send fone nomber rajesh jha February 1, 2012 at 1:32 am
what's your age sir sam789 February 8, 2012 at 8:28 am
please give me a answere sam789 February 15, 2012 at 8:32 am
i read u r article.the words u sad For a new player to come into the market and create some sort of a mark, it was essential to pick the right products, projects and scripts, to ensure that the branding was right, of course with commercial considerations. i think the picture u did in telugu give u a bad results.if we plan we can do a icture which gives a success as well as commercial success.                 thank you   k.d chowdary March 8, 2012 at 9:18 am
i read u r article.the words u sad r a new player to come into the market and create some sort of a mark, it was essential to pick the right products, projects and scripts, to ensure that the branding was right, of course with commercial considerations. i think the picture u did in telugu give u a bad results.if we plan we can do a icture which gives a success as well as commercial success.                 thank you   k.d chowdary March 8, 2012 at 9:21 am
sir i want to have your postal address and email id for contact you.  Priya March 8, 2012 at 9:35 am
sir, i read the above written comments , i dont know u have replied to them or not, but still would like to inform u that that i have a script n would like to direct it too. genre fits in to utv spotboy production. dont know how to contact u. manytimes came to ur chakala off, unfortunately couldnt bcos ur off staff  replied aise to bahot aate hai. am not a beggar, i came with sript regarding work, anyways i just need u to listen the sript once. i know after all its business, if u do find potential in it then u will go ahead and am confident of my story.@ bhavin wadia(9820415680) thanks  bhavin wadia March 27, 2012 at 7:15 am
i have a silent Romantic Comedy Script & i want to meet u if possible... Akram khan (Malegaon ka super man fame) February 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm
hello sir ,my self suraj chaurasia .i am from patna,i am a good actor.goodlooking.i want a chance for proov about me... contact detail-9386980342 thank you sir. suraj chaurasia February 9, 2013 at 10:20 am
Sir,I will be greatful if could give me one chance to work for UTV in any Division. Ramesh Vichare March 6, 2013 at 4:15 am
Sir, i want your association our projects like "Monica oh my darling" "Suicide" "Family Frame" (comedy) "Divorce Party" we treat every project without loosing any entertain values because people see  the movies to entertain theirselves,So it is our duty to serve them best qulaty entertainment... all the tittles are copyright with Star Studios R.Sunami March 8, 2013 at 10:22 am
dear sir i want to meet you regarding movie project. thank.will be greatful if could give me one chance to work for UTV in any Division. plzzzzzzzzzzz sir deepika sinha May 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm
A 12 year old story, still fresh. written by me.. call on 7811967567... Siddharth Sharma Sharma May 26, 2013 at 10:46 am
Hello sir ,  This is anwar kamal from exodus productions we are in the field of television media since 14 years we have produced & marketed TeluguTv serials for Doordarshan & Various G E C Tv channels in Andhra pradesh , in the process of producing & marketing the serials we have come across various many people from industry who  are now willing to work with us for a TELUGU film , in this regard we are looking for an opportunity from your end , will be glad if you give an appointment for a meeting with you, will come to Mumbai & give you a presentation in this regard. looking for a revertal Thanking you kamal   s. anwar kamal June 3, 2013 at 1:57 am
Dear sir,myself soumitri akash i am from cuttack,odisha.i have a story of love that is a real incidence.i want to develop a film in that story,so i inform to you.if you help me then i will grateful to you.pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee sir kindly help me  Soumitri Akash June 19, 2013 at 4:12 am
Hello Siddharth, I live in Vancouver, Canada, and am wondering why a movie like "Ship of Theseus" has been released here. Are there plans of releasing it here? Why, if not, and when, if the answer is yes. The reviews  this world, . Kush Regards           Kush Jhingan August 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm
dear sir my self mayank pansarey i am from jabalpur i want to meet you in movie project.thank will be greatfull if could me one chance to work plz sir  mayank pansarey August 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm
sir my scrept is ready so plz send me mail to my mail id. only one chance. mayank pansarey August 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm
hi Sir/madam my name is anurag and i m from varanasi and i m a thiyetr artist and i m working in thiyetr as an actor from last 4 year and i m also work in some movie and sawadhan india as Lead artist but i want to do work wid u.u r mai IDEAL konw one day we'll me but may be after some time but we'll meet but if u want then u can change my life i want a chance to work wid u i promise i'll never disopoint you tnx hav a nice time and futur anurag parasr October 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm
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