|Devdas: Masochism in its
||Road to perdition: Another
coming of age of motion picture
were released on July 12, are based on novels famous in their own
right, are set at least 70 years into the past, and boast enough
star-power to do a major constellation proud, but the similarities
stop there. Devdas, based on Sarat Chandra's Bengali tragedy and
starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, and Jackie
Shroff is a kaleidoscopic tear-jerker that should at once cater
to the Indian audience's growing bias towards form (as long as it
involves an acceptable plot, and Devdas has one).
Road to Perdition is based on Max Allan Collins'
best-seller (it was a graphic novel illustrated by Richard Piers-Rayner,
and published by dc Comics), features Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer
Jason Leigh, and Jude Law and is essentially the story of a hitman
and his son trying to escape the Mafia. That provides for enough
of the father-son bonding sequences popular with American audiences.
Both releases, then, should find favour with their respective audiences.
We are, repeat after us, what we watch.
Not For The Boys
Cruisers have captured warm-blooded male's imagination
since Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper set the roads afire in Easy
Rider. Here are two and some stats to help you decide.
Price: Rs 49,000
Engine Type: 4 cylinder
Transmission Type: 4 speed
Tank Capacity: 13.5 litres
Price: Rs 87,000
Engine Type: 4 stroke
Transmission Type: 5 speed
Tank Capacity: 14 litres
Jamming The Airways
Before the year ends, there will be
some 30 FM stations on air in India. Is there room enough for all?
glut that satellite television suffers from is all set to be repeated
in the case of fm radio stations. Already 10 private fm channels
in six cities are vying for listeners, and 20 more will hit the
airwaves in the next couple of months. The question is just how
different are these going to be from one another? Not much.
All, yes all, of them play (or will) a mix
of Hindi and English music, target on-the-move 18 to 35-year-olds,
with similar prime drive-time. But differentiation is an absolute
must to grab not just audience, but also advertisers.
''We want to be the Star Plus of radio,'' says
Sumantra Dutta, Chief Operating Officer, Radio Division, Star India,
emphasising the mass positioning that its Radio City is gunning
for in Bangalore, Lucknow, and Mumbai. But so are most other stations
like Radio Mirchi (a Times Group brand) and Red fm (from the India
Today Group, which publishes BT).
''Yes, right now all stations sound alike,
but there are latent radio listeners, and their specific needs will
drive differentiation over time between stations,'' says the chief
operating officer of a recently-launched Mumbai-based fm station,
which claims to target audience not based on language, but mood
shifts through the day and week.
Currently, a bare 1 per cent of the total Rs
8,600-crore advertising spend comes to radio, and most of the advertisers
are big companies.
Unless the stations are able to attract retail
advertisers-typically the bread and butter of fm the world over-the
share may not grow. Worse, some fm licences have cost Rs 150 crore
apiece, with a 15 per cent escalation clause every year for the
next 10. If the stations don't hit upon smart ideas soon enough,
you might just find them playing the blues.
Boredom and better prospects elsewhere are forcing
venture capitalists to explore alternative careers.
|Neeraj Bhargava (top) and Luis Miranda: outward-
thrill is gone. And veecees are moving on. You know the score: Walden's
Sudhir Sethi joined Infotech Enterprises (Walden funded it) as head
of sales; HSBC Private Equity's Vivek Kalra hopped aboard amp India,
and eVentures partner Neeraj Bhargava signed on to World Network
The latest to move on is the flamboyant Bharat
Kewalramani-that's right, the same Kewalramani who had a yacht anchored
off the coast of Mumbai (just outside the Taj at Apollo Bunder in
case you want to know). Kewalramani will continue to be on the board
of Chase Capital Partners but the buzz is, he'll no longer play
an active role in the fund.
Also outward bound is Luis Miranda, a partner
at Chrysalis. The company has shifted base to Delhi, one of its
founding partners Raj Kondur has left, and the fund is also reported
to be moving to a more sustainable (read: staid) private-equity
Expect more movements in the angel industry
says R. Suresh, the Chief Executive Officer of head-hunting firm
Stanton Chase. ''These are high quality professionals managing old
investments; they are getting very bored in the absence of new investments.''
Well, they're managing to effect soft landings.
PS: Former Bombay Dyeing CEO Adhiraj Sarin-he
could not be reached for comment on the subject-is said to be joining
the Murugappa Group's TI Cycles as chief executive in place of V.A.
Raghu who retires soon.