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3-D cinema makes a comeback, peddling Rangeela, Chocos

Rina Chandran


The main characters in the film Chota Jadugar

MUMBAI, March 14

IT is the summer of sequels in Bollywood, too: opening on April 11 is Chota Jadugar, the sequel to the first 3D film, Chota Chetan, made in 1984.

The fantasy film, which stars the child actor from Devdas and the dog from American Beauty, has a tie-up with Acron Rangeela, a Pidilite brand from the makers of Fevicol, and Kellogg's Chocos, for a marketing deal estimated at about Rs 75 lakh. The Navodaya Film production is being distributed by Shringar Films, and will have a nationwide release on 70 screens initially, in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. The film is titled Magic, Magic in the Southern languages.

"There is a whole new audience that has not seen a 3D film, so our main target will be children up to 12 years," said Mr N. Muthuram, Head - International Films, Shringar Films. "Because there are so many logistical issues with a 3D film, we will only open in the main centres of the major territories first." An initial order of 10 lakh 3D spectacles has been placed, he added. The entire marketing budget for the film is about Rs 1 crore, and includes print ads, TV spots, online (on indiatimes.com), collaterals in theatres, posters, danglers and give-aways for kids. Acron Rangeela will have special posters in retail outlets, and is launching a product called Rangeela Chota Jadugar 3D pack, with tattoos and a contest form. The company, which is associating with a film for the first time, is also repackaging its wax crayons as Chota Jadugar Acron, and will have product counters in theatres.

"There is a brand fit, as not only is it a product for kids, but kids also create magic with colours," Mr Muthuram said, adding that this is Shringar's largest brand supported release. Kellogg has been associated with some Hollywood features in the past, and views Chota Jadugar as a means to increase visibility for Chocos among its target audience of children, Mr Muthuram said. Promos for the brand and the film will be on Cartoon Network. Navodaya and Shringar are also talking to a couple of other brands; all promotional activities will kick off later this month, he added.

"It is about marrying the science of media with proper valuation of entertainment and film properties, and exploring opportunities such as in-film placements, merchandising and promotional opportunities," he said. Chota Chetan won the President's Gold Medal in the year it was made, and also rang up around Rs 60 crore at the box office; the film was re-released with additional footage and digital sound in 1997, and made a neat Rs 50 crore then, according to Shringar Films, which has distributed potboilers such as Rangeela and Oscar-nominee Lagaan, besides niche films such as Hyderabad Blues and Mr. & Mrs. Iyer, and foreign films such as Life is Beautiful. It also has interests in multiplexes, including Fame Adlabs in Mumbai, and would like to distribute more children's films, Mr Muthuram said.

"There is a big market for children's films, but no one's making them," he said. "Kids are only exposed to general entertainment films, and there is also no excitement being created through merchandising." Perhaps Chota Jadugar will change that: the film was shot mostly in and around Manhattan over a period of 70 days, and stars 8-year-old Suraj Balajee, singer/actor S.P. Balasubramaniam and Barkley the dog. "It's going to really rock," Mr Muthuram predicted. "The dog is going to be the trump card - films with animals have never failed."

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