Thought Box

Content is Queen

Content is Queen

by Vinta Nanda March 24 2014, 4:57 pm Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins, 19 secs

I open my piece with the video above. I open with it, because its sets the tone for what all of us need to do, in our own little way – in wherever we are, to save mother earth.

“The beauty of being connected is in the artistry of enriching what we write with all that more which we know” – Anonymous

What a 10 days filled with liberating happenings it has been!

Starting from the visit of my colleagues from Hollywood and Nollywood, both of who arrived here towards the second half of last week; colleagues whom I have been working with over the last couple of years to understand and realize the massive role that the industries of entertainment and media have to play in helping people at large to adapt to change; homogeneously or ethnically and culturally, for happier and healthier lives.

It is a change that is in a hyper mode of acceleration and one which is in construct with a constant that is threatening never to settle or slow down; as a matter of fact menacingly professing instead, to speed up the process with more and more innovation by young and experienced minds alike; springing up multitudes of realities, and throwing up challenges for humanity at large to experiment with, and to be able to apply to accustomed lives.

Having said that, it is but prudent to realize that the very product which is entertainment and media, and one which is consumed relentlessly by most of the 6 billion people who inhabit our world; is being considered today, as the most powerful force that can harness perceptions and drive the volumes of change in the right direction (by which I mean, towards what is progressive for humankind); and all of that while it is also undergoing and experiencing a continuous renaissance of its own; due to one technological breakthrough or another every other day.

As people change because of the osmosis that takes place when mind altering concepts emerge through creativity and science by the minute, and also that at a time when information about discovery and revelation reaches every corner of the earth in real time; it is but natural for those most grounded as well as liberated to surrender to the winds of change and trust that the storm will carry them towards a progressive outcome only.

When Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), launched two global centres, The Third Eye in India and GIST in Nigeria exactly an year ago to support two of the biggest media and entertainment industries in the world, in a program funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; primarily to build bridges between creative communities and the priorities of our times and to provide creative leaderships the support required for taking data driven decisions; so as to reach accurate information on key health, sustainable development and climate change issues through mainstream stories, events and news that captivate the largest audiences; we had no idea that so much was to happen so soon and fast.

Last week when Chris Dzialo, Program Manager, HH&S arrived in Mumbai to celebrate the completion of the first year in action, with Aimee Corrigan, Fellow at Harvard and Co-director GIST, Nigeria,  who was accompanied by Tunde Kelani, well known Nigerian Filmmaker, and Stuart Sender, Academy Nominated Documentarian and Filmmaker; and met with Mahesh Bhatt and the team of The Third Eye; it was clear that something was happening and it was palpable that there was a global draft propelling the discourse.

‘Suffering and empathy bind global cinema’, said Mahesh Bhatt at the convening.

‘Cinema must comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable’, said Stuart Sender.

And as the meeting proceeded between filmmakers from across the world, it was confirmed that the universe of artistes, writers, producers, directors and creative leaders now belong to a cosmic tribe, and is one community with whom resonates, the heart beat of the other.

Today, there are about 800 television channels in India, of which three to four hundred are news channels and the rest are infotainment and general entertainment channels; and they reach out to the viewers in about 10 Indian regional languages. Then there is digital media as well as entertainment and print media reaching consumers in almost all Indian languages across the world; also delivering world entertainment and news in English and other languages to the Diasporas’ as well.

Content from all its tributaries cuts across the several available streams of media and makes itself accessible to the entire universe of demographics, around the world.

In such a scenario, while one end of the spectrum struggles to monetize the monster, another upbeat and young group rolls up its sleeves and gets down to the business of innovation; as it has nothing more than a few sleepless nights to lose.

However, the hard facts that those in the business of taming the monster have had to face because of the suddenness of the new developments appearing upon the horizon, and the swiftness with which the revolution of innovations remodels itself; is that content today has to be responsive and that which can straddle various media’s, all at the same time. And it is evident that content is a brand beyond and bigger than the medium itself.

With the release of programs like Samvidhaan and Satyamev Jayate on Indian television, the success of both which is being measured on basis of a new paradigm defining impact analysis; it is certain that content is now going to be more about what is fundamental and crucial, and less about the trimmings and the embellishments upon the redundant and so absolutely disposable.

As one watches a battery of some of the best Indian actors perform to perfection in the making of Indian constitution in Samvidhaan, a series directed by Shyam Benegal; and as one hears them speak both in English and in Hindi, it is evident that honesty will subtext narratives and stories will henceforth be told and spoken in the language true to themselves; and their accuracy, factuality and veracity will determine their quality.

With the unprecedented success of the recent film starring Kangana Ranaut and directed by Vikas Bahl, let us get one thing right, and that is the in the days to come, THE IDEA IS KING, AND CONTENT IS QUEEN!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.