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Tolly borrows Bolly blitz

Koi... Mil Gaya, Kal Ho Naa Ho, LoC, Khakee, Munnabhai MBBS… Warish. A Bengali feature film has joined the big league of Bollywood ventures promoted by Reliance Infocomm.

Warish marks the debut of telefilm-maker Kaushik Ganguly on the big screen and of Reliance Infocomm in this region’s film market, with pre-release hype to match.

The Rs 60-lakh feature on an adopted child — starring Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Debashree Roy and Churni Ganguly — premieres on Poila Baisakh and releases on Friday. But around seven million Reliance mobile users across the country already have the film’s trailer, video clips, songs, ring tones and wallpaper at their fingertips. The cellphone service provider will also be footing the bills for Warish’s outdoor publicity, with around 20 billboards coming up across the city, covering a 10,000-sq-ft area.

The unprecedented promotional pitch by a corporate biggie augurs well for Tollywood, feel industry insiders. By identifying the Bengal film industry as its “major thrust area in the regional sector”, Reliance Infocomm has stretched the path already paved over the past few years by films like Ek Je Achhe Konya, Sanjhbatir Rupkathara or Patalghar, which had “corporate links” in film-making, promotion or distribution.

“Tollywood offers the best of talents on a low-entry cost, which is good reason to invest in a Bengali film,” Arindam Chaudhuri, managing director, Planman Group, told Metro from Delhi.

The Delhi-based Rs 25-crore “multi-interest consultant group” had produced Sanjhbatir Rupkathara.

“Corporate participation is the only way out of the stagnancy in Tollywood. Creativity has to be sold, just like any other product, and a business-oriented approach will only increase the chances of returns,” explained Chaudhuri, poised to be back in Bengal with his second project, based on a Syed Mustafa Siraj story.

On Monday, Reliance Infocomm made it clear that it was here to stay in Tollywood. “Non-conventional media will become very important in promoting a product and we have realised the need to be associated with films. The promotional, which is mutually beneficial, will help Warish penetrate a customer base of around 70 lakh,” said marketing head Kaushik Roy.

Hinting that a steady flow of “discerning” films has kindled interest among private players, Priya Films-Sony Pictures distributor Arijit Dutta said Warish was chosen for its “up-to-the-mark” presentation, beside being a “clean emotional film” that people can relate to.

“Such branding increases the visibility of the film, as the PR exercise spans across the city,” added Dutta.

Tollywood leading lady Rituparna Sengupta, who turned producer with Aalo, felt corporate entry would bring about a “transparent and systematic” approach to film-making.

“This is very encouraging. The industry will benefit if private companies are keen on financing and promoting films,” she added.

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