The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Take home the movies in a carry-bag

Mumbai, June 19: You need not go to a cinema in the neighbourhood to soak up MPKDH. You can pick up MPKDH clothes off the shop shelves, wake up to your cellphone trilling to MPKDH tunes, cuddle up with an MPKDH soft toy, play an MPKDH computer game and jangle your car keys dangling from an MPKDH keychain.

MPKDH' That’s Bollywood lingo for Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon, the Hrithik Roshan-Kareena Kapoor-Abhishek Bachchan caper rolling out today.

The abbreviated name game is hardly original but not the way the movie is being marketed.

Rajshri Productions — the wholesome-entertainment-for-the-family factory — has bowed to the MTV Generation by going all-out to promote film merchandise, possibly the biggest such effort in Bollywood.

Every part of the movie will be on sale, targeted at its expected young audience. Keeping them in mind, Rajshri has moved away from family themes and to foreign pastures.

“Being an indoor director, I have always had my set of kitchens, temples etc. This time I took the bold step of trying the outdoors. We chose New Zealand and Mauritius,” says Sooraj Barjatiya, director of MPKDH, explaining the sleek, processed look of his film that attracts the younger crowd.

“We have had to change with the times. MPKDH is a love story for the youth,” says a Rajshri spokesperson. “The family doesn’t go to watch movies any more, the young people do. The market is youth-driven.”

The production house expects the merchandise to boost the film’s revenue.

“There will be a worldwide tieup with Nokia and one with Yahoo! India to use the film’s properties,” the spokesperson said. “Nokia will use the music of the film for its ringtones and the images for sending MMS or SMS. Yahoo will use our ringtones, too,” Barjatiya said.

There will be an elaborate tieup with Pantaloons, too. The retail chain will sell all the clothes — a tad toned down — worn by Kareena, Hrithik and Abhishek. “The collections will be called ‘Sanjana’s Closet’ (Kareena’s character) and ‘Prem’s Attire’ (both Hrithik and Abhishek are called Prem in the film),” said S. Agarwal of Pantaloons.

He added that the collection will be extensive, with 10-12 tops and four to five designs of ethnic wear in Sanjana’s Closet alone in different colours and styles.

Shirts, kurtas, jeans and drawstring pants will be in the men’s section, again in multiple styles and colours.

There will be a CD-ROM released with computerised versions of games played in the film. There will be Hallmark cards. There will be soft toys — based on the digitally created parrot and the half-digital dog — on the shelves of Pantaloons.

This seems to be the culmination of a trend started in India by Lagaan, when film merchandising really took off, targeted at Generation Minus, the kids.

“We approached Aamir Khan Productions with the idea of the merchandise last year,” said Vikas Phadnis of Egmont Imagination, an MNC that merchandises, among other toys, foreign film characters like those from The Jungle Book.

“We launched the Lagaan comic book, board game, mask book, colouring books, jumbo colouring books. The comic book did extremely well. Priced at Rs 50, they sold 1.5 lakh copies,” says Phadnis. The other products did well, too.

After Lagaan, Egmont got many requests from film producers, “but we were choosy”.

Egmont picked Badhaai ho Badhaai, an Anil Kapoor starrer, and sold inflatable chairs and hit-me balloons based on the character of a fat man played by Kapoor, and Shaheed, the Sunny Deol-made Bhagat Singh movie, for which they came up with a quiz book.

The films didn’t do well, but the merchandise didn’t do too badly, said Phadnis, for their appeal is not based only on the film, though that is the major draw.

Agarwal of Pantaloons said 50,000 units of Tutu, a soft toy used in Hrithik-starrer Na Tum Jano Na Hum, were sold.

Their latest offering is Jajantaram Mamantaran colouring books, mystic pencil books and magic painting books.

Among other films running at the theatres, Bhoot, which has become the hit of the year, has also come up with a rag doll.

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