With Besharam and Krrish, Bollywood steps up its merchandise mantra

Written by Anindita Sarkar | Updated: Oct 15 2013, 17:15pm hrs
BesharamRanbir Kapoor-starrer Besharam too did its bit by tying up with Indigo Nation.
Over the years, Bollywood has been making efforts to use the merchandising route to promote its films. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan did try his best to use merchandising efficiently to promote Ra.One to its potential viewers. He tied up with HomeShop18 to sell original movie merchandise through both its 24-hour home shopping channel and its website. Ekta Kapoors Ek Thi Daayan too experimented with the merchandising technique and released the Daayan comic series to tap into the hinterland markets of India. In fact, the producers also launched a pulp fiction novel with author Ved Prakash Sharma based on the given subject for better promotions. And more recently, Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Besharam too did its bit by tying up with Indigo Nationthe brand from Indus League Clothing to launch a trendy new collection to sport 24 looks of what Ranbir Kapoor wears in the movie.

Says Rachna Aggarwal, CEO, Indus League Clothing Ltd, The advantage of such tie-ups is that you get to associate your brand with the lead protagonist, launch a fresh collection of your product line based on what the icon uses in the movie and also use film visuals for brand advertising. All these help in joint promotions.

Nevertheless, Indian movie makers are yet to understand the revenue potential that merchandising can add to their box-office collections. According to director-producer Rakesh Roshan, movie merchandising in India is still quite limited to vests and caps wherein the move is more toward its use as a promotional tool than as a revenue generating stream. Therefore, to tap into its revenue-promise, Filmkraft Productionsfounded by Rakesh Roshan and maker of the Krrish franchise, has decided to launch as many as 150 distinctive merchandise from the Krrish 3 stable. The products will be available across 5000-plus chain stores, mom-and-pop stores and various e-commerce sites.

The official merchandise, in a deal facilitated by Mumbai based licensing firm Dream Theatre, includes a wide range of products across various categories. The prime attractions are the action figures of Krrish, Kaal and Kaya; kids apparel, school supplies, impulse toys such as frisbees and yo-yos, skates, ride-ons and publishing which includes activity and colouring books. Additionally, there are food products (candies, confectionery, noodles), home decor items and accessories such as pendants and cufflinks. Prices begin at R99 and go up to R3,499. The film also has consumer promotions with leading brands such as Kelloggs Chocos, Cadbury Bournvita and Del Monte. For the record, Krrish 3 is the latest chapter in the superhero franchise which is created by Rakesh Roshan, and stars Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi and Kangana Ranaut.

Jiggy George, CEO and founder, Dream Theatre, notes that within the Bollywood film industry, most of the movie merchandising comes as an after-thought. So a lot of what we see is the conversion of an existing line in retail.

This means that a retailer would take on a movie and then just change the private label into building a line. What one needs to understand when considering a licensing programme for a movie is that it has to begin at the scripting stage. Only then can one create a style guide so that there is uniformity between the product and the characters/products on screen, says George. The Krrish team has tied up with Farah Khan Ali to launch special jewellery products designed by Farah Khan Fine Jewellery.

And its not just Krrish. Yash Raj Films is in the process of establishing the Dhoom brand in the gaming space (mobile, online and console) and aims to release three to four games on mobile and console platforms in the next 12 months. Says Rohit Sobti, vice presidentlicensing and merchandising, Yash Raj Films, We are expecting a huge turnaround with the Dhoom 3 range of merchandise .

Navin Shah, co-founder Entertainment Media Communication Solutions Worldwide (EMC), feels that Bollywood has not explored the revenue potential of licensing and merchandising (L&M) deals adequately. People start looking at alternative revenue streams when times are tough. If you look at Bollywood for the past five years, it has been doing

very well which is why mediocrity is ruling now. Since there are no big challenges in making enough money, producers and filmmakers are not yet looking at L&M as a revenue generating option, he says.

But all said and done, players are betting more on film merchandising in India specially with the trend of Bollywood sequels coming to the fore. Licensing has a very short history, with the industrys highest growth phase occurring in the mid-90s. L&M is likely to grow more rapidly in emerging markets such as India when compared to the US and Europe due to increased influences from other markets within our culture, says Sobti. For the record, Bollywood movie merchandising market currently stands between R75-100 crore and has the potential to become a R500-crore industry in the next five years.