Abhay Deol and Facebook, A New Relationship

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 6068 people saw it on FB

Preeti Desai and Abhay Deol

Preeti Desai and Abhay Deol

 

Abhay Deol & Preeti Desai, Now Starring on  – Facebook

We do live in a brave new world where social media has made interaction amazingly easy. In the old days only media behemoths had power, now every little blogger has a piece of the empire! Facebook, Twitter and Google + have made it possible for ordinary people to nurture revolutions and push for the popular choice.

And now Bollywood actor Abhay Deol has come up with a creative innovation- First Release Cinema on Facebook!

At first, this sounds almost sacrilegious. Aren’t we desis proud movie buffs who have practically grown up in the dark of cinema halls, crunching on masala chips and samosas? Don’t we like our cinema loud and big and all-enveloping, the entire family camping out at the local theater?

Cinema on Facebook?  Isn’t Facebook just for our baby, cat and vacation pictures? Dance videos and daily dinner posts? But again, Abhay is one of those people known to do surprising offbeat things nobody has thought of before! Take a look at his movies and you know he takes pleasure (and gives us pleasure) by traveling the road less traveled, be it ever so bumpy.

So now, with his debut production ‘One By Two’ starring his real-life girlfriend Preeti Desai and directed by Devika Bhagat, he’s released it internationally on Facebook, the same day as it released in India and Nepal in the theaters. For just  $4.99, you (and probably your entire extended clan and the dog!) can catch this film in the comfort of your home. True democracy!

Before this FB innovation, the alternatives to catching a new film releasing in the theaters  were depressing: pay a dollar and get one of those blurry, indecipherable pirated videos or wait till forever till the film shows up  on movie-sharing channels. By then,  all enthusiasm would be dead, as newer, hotter films emerged.

 

One by Two with Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai

One by Two with Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai

 

“Technology today enables audiences worldwide to connect with their content, but it can only succeed when risk takers like Abhay Deol and Viacom Motion Pictures take the initiative to disrupt the market,” says Pooja Kohli, Managing Director, FilmKaravan which distributes Indian films on international platforms like iTunes, Amazon and now Facebook. “It has been a joy bringing ‘One by Two’  to audiences on Facebook  the same day as its theatrical release  and the numbers have spoken for themselves that such initiatives can show a huge financial gain,  even in its infancy.”

Lassi with Lavina spoke with Abhay Deol (emailed him to be more precise) and this totally cool, with-it celebrity emailed back. Check out his answers and you’ll agree, there seems to be a definite place for first run cinema on Facebook!

Ss, see you at the movies – on Facebook!

 

 Q & A: Abhay Deol on The Power of Digital Theater

 

Abhay, you’ve always thought out of the box! How did this FB idea come to you?

It all started when I took a stand with the musicians over their royalty rights with the music company. I realized it was a problem much bigger than one person to solve. I felt that the only solution would be to find new avenues for artists to showcase their work. I called a friend who distributes films on digital platforms to ask her for help. I also told her my film was not going to release in international theaters. She suggested the FB platform as an alternative and even though they don’t have an outlet to buy music. I felt this could be a first step towards opening up for musicians to sell their albums. After all, most of them have millions of followers on their pages.

What’s the experience been like – releasing the movie in theaters and FB at the same time?

It’s a first time for this market and I’m happy that I have people from all across the globe thanking me for making this happen. They can now watch the movie legally in the comfort of their homes, in high definition. Many of them said they were happy not to have an illegal download as they now had a choice.

Won’t this hurt the chances of the movie being released theatrically in the west – you have so many fans in the US and UK who would love to see it on the big screen?

As I said, the film was not going to be released in cinemas abroad. That was a decision made by the studio, I respected their decision and came up with an alternative. I would also like my fans to be able to watch my films on the big screen but at least something is better than nothing!

 

Abhay Deol - Pakaoed!

Abhay Deol – Pakaoed!

 

How did this deal come through with FB – can we expect to see more films this way?

It was through a friend. I imagine you will see other producers/studios with big libraries to follow of course as it is a popular platform and it reaches the audiences. Why not?

Also do you think this method might be financially more viable for small filmmakers who wouldn’t have to be depend on distributors?

Of course! The answer already lies in your question!

Do you plan to go this route for more of your films and do you think there are others who will follow your lead?

I am all for new technologies. Every year the workplace is changing due to technology. We should embrace it sooner rather than later.

 

Preeti Desai, Devika Bhagat and Abhay Deol

Preeti Desai, Devika Bhagat and Abhay Deol

 

 I think it does help filmmakers to be more independent and brave, doing films they truly want to do. But do you think Bollywood audiences will be slow to follow this way of seeing cinema?

I hope not! Let’s just put it this way. If someone doesn’t do it, we will never have the answer to that question.

How well do you think this can control piracy of Bollywood films?

Well,  just by having a platform we are offering an alternative. So for those who want to see their Bollywood movies legally in high def and want to support the film makers that they like, we are giving them the film to watch. Think of this as a Digital Theater. It’s the same setup except in a virtual world.

How was the experience of working with Preeti in reel life?

It was really nice, being in a relationship made it easier. I took full advantage and even had her do that extra hour for shoot, or give in that extra hour for publicity! She’s worked very hard on this project and I am very proud of her.

What’s the next offbeat idea coming up from you for your fans?

I have a few in the works. Something on the darker,  edgier side of storytelling. I hope it gets the green light!

 

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Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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