The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Analyse This, Elizabeth: Viewers’ choice
- Calcuttans opt for quality films over quantity, reveals HBO audience feedback

Calcutta knows its movies, loves talking about them and is picky about what is served. The city may not top the easy-to-come-by quantity list, but it is the leader as far as quality goes, says HBO.

“Feedback from viewers in the metros reveals that people in this city are very conscious about the quality of films shown,” said Shruti Bajpai, director, marketing, HBO South Asia. “They may watch action films too, but here, more than the other cities, they want award-winning, critically acclaimed titles,” added Bajpai.

For the Calcutta audience, crowd-pullers like Godzilla and The Mummy are essential, but not at the cost of the best of Hollywood. So while in October, The Matrix, Last Action Hero and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer will top ratings in all metros, chances are that Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth and Analyse This will strike the right chord in Calcutta.

Calcuttans are not far behind in the numbers game, either. With Mumbai and Delhi leading the viewership figures, it is a toss-up between Calcutta and Bangalore for third place. But TRPs are not the film channel’s lookout. “We are looking at viewing trends more than ratings. And Calcutta has consistently shown positive trends,” explained Bajpai, in town for the HBO Buzz shoot, a three-day roadshow to meet young viewers across the city.

The Buzz bus, out to capture “bites and personal nuances”, will be touring the city from Thursday to Saturday, starting at St Xavier’s and Rani Birla College, before touching hotspots like Park Street, Tantra, Winning Streak, Bhawanipur college, Science City, Pantaloons and MusicWorld. The crew will mix fun with film funda, covering viewing preferences and HBO.

“The HBO Buzz in Calcutta promises to be exciting, as Calcuttans are passionate about films and know their stuff,” said Bajpai. “For example, they are the most aware about Oscar-winning films.” Some of the Buzz interviews will be stitched into spots to be broadcast on the movie channel. “We want to dispel the belief that HBO is a distant channel sitting somewhere in Hollywood. We are here, in your city,” stressed Bajpai.

The channel wars will be scorching the city streets this weekend, with AXN’s Who Dares Wins-brigade, led by ex-Aussie cricketer Mike Whitney, rolling in even as the HBO bus trundles out. Whitney will, on Sunday and Monday, test just how daring Calcuttans can be, for the desi version of the reality show.

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