Santhosh Pandit, for those who don’t know of him as yet, is the man who brought the malayalam cinema industry to the cleaners recently, when his movie ‘Krishnanum Radhayum’ , an absolute shit of a movie got a rousing opening at the cinemas and was declared a super hit at the box office. It was a movie made of a shoe string budget of INR 5 lakhs with a 105 strong cast. Santhosh himself handled 18 departments in the making of his movie including story, screenplay, dialogues, direction, production and cinematography. The most stunning aspect of this man however, was his brilliant marketing strategy which I think could be a subject for the management students and gurus to ponder upon. Under this strategy, he played some sort of a reverse psychology on the malayali audience. In order to do this, he released an album which largely included the songs from the movie and it got viral on YouTube in no time.
If you thought that I meant to put in a kind of a comparative analysis to the very well known Raman effect, I believe I caught you wrong fair and square.
It got viral not because it was too good to be one, but that it was nothing short of being called a pathetic attempt to make a song. I mean, there was no striking aspect, but a sheer sense of pain and anguish for the viewer on seeing his gimmicks on display. So much so that those videos brought about a sharp negative response from the viewers as was evident from the comments on the video thread, which I am unable to share with you primarily for this being a family place. More and more people got to watch his clips on YouTube just to have a good laugh and fill up the existing and ever-so-active comment thread with rather ornamental expletives. But then, his marketing strategy was realized since he had achieved his target of generating traffic onto his albums on YouTube. Interestingly enough, he is the second most searched keyword on Google after ‘Facebook’ (Google Trends, November 1 2011), an obvious consequence of the impact that he created.
And then at the right moment, he clawed onto the malayali audience like how the tiger does to its prey, when he announced that his movie was awaiting release and that it would hit the theatres anytime soon. The already enraged audience wanted to see how much worse his movie would fare, since everyone was aware of the man and his capabilities by now. And thus spake, the story of this man who released his movie and people barged into the theatres just to come out with more and more ornamental expletives. But then, he had achieved what I personally thought was next to impossible. And that was to make the otherwise choosy and miserly malayali to spend his 50 bucks on a movie which has to go down as one of the worst ever attempts to make a movie in the history of all cinema and transform it onto one which opened to full houses and collected almost 10 times the production cost within the opening week.
And it doesn’t end there. Today, he is all over the news – openly challenging all the movie makers to replicate his success model, which he is sure will not be achievable – primarily because of the financial aspects prevailing into making a “normal” movie. And thus Malayalam cinema, which was until not-so-long-ago, one of the best industries of cinema in India in terms of good subjects, good performers and refreshing themes is being dictated by a man who probably has to go down as one among the worst in its very history. Personally as one of the greatest admirers of the movies that are made in this part of the world, its sad to see what kind of movies get released into the theatres these days. On a positive note for Santhosh Pandit, he could only be looked upon as a warning for the impending state of affairs for malayalam cinema, if things are not put to order soon enough.