New York-based company Dakshaa, might just change the face of how films are promoted in the future. Its CEO, Naveen Varadarajan, tells us more
Promoting films, especially in the South, is a herculean task. Unlike Bollywood which boasts of huge marketing budgets,promotion of South Indian films is yet to take off in a big way. Celebrities still follow the traditional approach of giving interviews to the media and appearing in prominent events just ahead of a film’s release. The advent of Internet has caught the attention of the film fraternity and with people spending a lot more time surfing the Internet these days, it makes all the more sense to explore this medium for film promotions as well.
Dakshaa, a New York-based company, is one of the several firms which is betting big on this new trend. Naveen Varadarajan and his friend Keerthi founded the company in Manhattan, New York in June 2011 and already they have opened branches in Los Angeles and Chennai within a year. “I graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in Information Systems and Management. Then I went on to do my Masters in Cinematography at the New York Film Academy. After cinematography, I took a step further and went onto learn 3D Cinematography at the Sony 3D Technology Center. This, I think, changed my life,” Naveen Varadarajan recalls. He worked as a trainee AD for Hellraiser : Revelations and went on to shoot few shots and the climax song for Pawan Kalyan’s Teen Maar last year. After a brief lull, he came up with a few ideas and thus Dakshaa was born. “We started with developing Celebrity Apps for the singer Chinmayi, who became the first Indian musician to have an app on all iOS devices, and the international model, Hilary Rhoda. The App-Eco-system was a big success and orders started pouring in. Then we designed and developed a full scape App- Ecosystem for the entertainment industry,” Naveen goes onto say.
So what exactly does an App eco-system include? “The App-Ecosystem is an end to end management for any movie, celebrity or any digital entertainment product. For a new movie launch, we create buzz for it, by creating apps for it on all mobile devices. We keep the fans well informed by providing them news, engage them via Facebook, Twitter and other social media by mentioning trivia and conducting quizzes about the movie. We sell the movie’s music through the app and provide exclusive video content about the movie. Advanced features include group chat between cast/crew and the fans, live audio and video conferences through the app, etc.”
Dakshaa has already tied up with
quite a few celebrities in Tamil film industry such as Chinmayi, Madhan Karky, M Sasikumar and Ameer. The film industry isn’t exactly known for being tech savvy. How tough was it to sell your idea? “Most of the people aren’t tech savvy and they have no idea what an app is all about. But when they know about the app and its pros and cons, Celebrities are very excited and thrilled. It has never been a herculean task to convince a celebrity especially with a lot of fan base now using the Mobile Ecosystem,” Naveen confesses. He and his friend Keerthi, who’s the CTO and co-founder of Dakshaa, are working on another idea which they have named Multiapplex. Naveen is extremely tight- lipped about this idea but reveals that it’s going to revolutionise the film industry. He’s quite confident that Dakshaa will reach out to a wider audience in the near future. “The film industry in the south have always been paving the way for newer technologies for a long time now. Technicians down south are the first to embrace new technology,” he says.
Apart from managing the business at Dakshaa, he’s working at the Universal Studios for the $1 billion The Bourne Franchise. He attends classes at the UCLA in the evening and during the nights he spends his time working on his ideas at the Entertainment Technology lab. On weekends, he dons the hat of a cinematographer. “I love Multi tasking. Juggling between films and technology is something that I love. Filmmaking is my life and entertainment and technology are my passions,” he says signing off.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.