Last year around the same time when I was sitting down and penning down my thoughts on the recap of MAM’s 1st year, everything looked so nostalgic. The nostalgia still remains 2 years into the journey, but there’s also the eagerness to move forward and to branch out into frontiers not yet fully explored. The past one year has seen a lot of excitement in the form of various things we did and there have been a lot of learning’s as well. Leading the editorial team I have always felt that the space in which we operate in is vast and that every player including ourselves needs to find their own niche area to be carved out. Having said that it’s good to know that our core thought of wanting to focus more on small/indie films and regional cinema seems to be paying off, slowly but surely.
Make no mistake we all love the big mainstream films too (at least some of them 🙂 ) and have a lot of fun debating them, but we prefer to do it off the main site as we don’t want the focus of MAM to get diluted. In the 1st year of our existence we were continuously evolving so there were frequent changes to the layout design and even the logo was constantly getting improved upon. While change for the better is always the mantra that we follow it is also imperative to accept that we seem to have settled down a bit in the current platform and now do not anymore look at mere cosmetic enhancements. Yes that stage is more or less a thing of the past now. What excites us is that in our current interface while we do maintain a specific home page layout we have the wherewithal to mix and match the offerings based on current updates. So if we are covering the Mumbai Film Festival or promoting a certain movie then there would be prominent space for the same displayed, till the activity is completed.
Speaking of the Mumbai Film Festival it was indeed a heartening 1 week of covering the event last year. A joint effort which included at least 7-8 dedicated people, it was fun to reach the venue by 10 A.M- watch 4-5 films, have a quick beer session where we would discuss the day’s films, head back home & write the day’s coverage, crash to bed and still make it to the venue by 10 A.M the next day 🙂 . If done by just an individual the coverage would have neither have been so elaborate, nor so much fun. Curiously couple of our movie reviews last year fetched us unexpected mileage, something that we had not in the least expected. Souvik Gupta’s review or rather a personal ‘outburst’ over Talaash invited a lot of response, both positive and negative. Some of the people who got offended with the post somehow did not even bother to notice couple of actually positive reviews of the film. This made us realize that no matter how objective you try to be, people will still choose to see/read what they wish to 🙂 . The other review in question is Anand Rajaraman’s review of Gautham Menon’s Tamil film- Neethane En Ponvasantham.
One always needs to play to one’s strengths and so when we have the privilege of having authors based overseas it is but natural to sometimes take advantage of the same and put up early reviews of films as generally Indian films tend to release at least a day before, especially in the Gulf Countries. For some strange reason NEP released 2 days ahead of the Indian release i.e Wednesday in Muscat, Oman where Anand lives currently and hence we had the review up on the same night. Being a Gautham Menon- Ilaiyaraaja film and with popular actors in it, obviously we knew we would get a lot of hits because we were the 1st to go live with the review. But what actually happened was something that we were totally unprepared for. For starters the traffic on the site was so heavy that the site crashed a couple of times on Thursday (still a day to go for the release in India). Also considering that the review wasn’t too kind to the film (it was as honest as it could have been) we were surprised to get mails from the production team accusing us of watching a pirated version of the film and trying to sabotage the film. Luckily we could provide all the details to them to convince them that our reviewer had seen the film in a regular screening and by that the result at the box office in India was already visible. This incident made us feel positive about the kind of reach we had started generating but we also knew that as a portal standing for quality of our content, we should be very careful about what we do. It was also a little funny when we realized that in this case even the producers weren’t aware of this particular ‘early release’ in Muscat.
Going by the response to our blogathon last year on Mani Ratnam we decided to do the same for Yash Chopra in November. We had decided to go ahead with the same a few months earlier itself so that the blogathon would coincide with the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan which was slated to be the veteran filmmaker’s last directorial venture. Little did we realize that unfortunately Yashji would soon depart and hence the blogathon sort of ended up as being more of a lifetime tribute to him from MAM. Nevertheless this was again carried out with full earnestness and it was once again a collective effort which enabled us to cover all the films that he had directed over the years. This reminds me that we soon need to go ahead with the next blogathon. All suggestions for the topic/subject are welcome, feel free to use the comments section here for the same. Getting featured on the popular LAMB (Large Ass Movie Blogs) was another milestone we achieved late last year and around the same time our movie reviews started getting accepted on IMDB as well, again an indicator of people noticing us.
We have continued supporting small/indie films and in the last year or so some of the films we helped in promoting include Pairon Talle, BOM, Software Hardware Kya Yaaron, Mere Haule Dost, Ship of Theseus, Chor Chor Super Chor etc. Incidentally we supported/promoted all these films without any monetary gains or credit in the film, (though we would loved to have been featured in the film credits 🙂 ). Most of the times we saw that the film in question was really made in ultra-low budget but with a large heart and hence for the love for cinema and with zeal to support such films we did extend our hand to the filmmakers. At this juncture I would appeal to all the small/indie filmmakers (irrespective of the language your film is in) to really consider MAM as a platform for helping them in their online promotions. Past history would tell you all that we are not in the business of selling space (though we can do that if we want) but instead believe in doing something subtle and yet a lot more communicative about the film itself.
Of course no summary of the last 1 year’s developments will be incomplete without a mention of our poster design contest campaign for Lootera. Considering that we are still a relatively niche portal and not a patch on any of the more popular ones out there it is commendable of people at Phantom Films to give us the campaign. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the initiative of Mr.Ranjan Singh, head of marketing at Phantom and also the Executive Producer of Lootera. Seeing our (MAM) logo listed among the online partners in the film credits really gave us a big high. Hopefully in the coming year we would be getting to partner with a few more interesting and popular films as well. Another area that we would like to focus on going forward is to strengthen our association with college festivals, especially film festivals. Earlier in the year we had partnered with Frames Film Festival, an annual film festival organised by SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Navi Mumbai and going forward we are open to having more such associations. To all the college students wanting to involve us with film screenings and/or film festivals in their respective colleges; I would say that you can feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In the two years since we started our existence in the online World, some things haven’t yet changed and probably may not really change. Our portal is able to retain its momentum and bring up content on a daily basis (come rain or shine you’ll find daily content on the portal, that’s our promise) only because of truly dedicated team of authors and editors. Needless to say everyone is doing so for the love for cinema and this platform. So a big salute to each & every one of them. Good work team, I’m sure we can do even better from here on. I would also like to take up this opportunity and invite new authors on to our platform. All those who are interested to write/blog about cinema of any kind (irrespective of whether you’ve done it in the past or not) and would be keen to contribute here are welcome to reach out to us. Let us decide if your writing is good or not, so let that thought not trouble you :). The bottom line is that content published here has to be original, relevant to the platform and written well.
Though we are 2 years ‘young’ I still feel we have a long, long way to go and even what we have achieved so far wouldn’t have been possible without our readers and our friends on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Big thanks to all of you for your support, please continue encouraging us and being a part of our journey. If it has been good so far, it’s only going to get even more exciting now. So fasten up your seat belts and enjoy the ride with us :).
Note- This article was originally intended to go live on 1st/2nd September but got delayed for unavoidable reasons. But nevertheless it is here now and there are some special articles coming up to mark this occasion over the next few days, starting from today.