Popular South Indian actress and the female lead of the blockbuster Tamil movie ‘Sivaji’ opposite Rajnikanth, Shriya Saran was in campus recently to deliver a guest lecture as a part of the CFI (Contemporary Film Industry) course for the PGP students. This course is being taken by Prof. Bharathan Kandaswamy, executive producer of Kavithalayaa Production. Incidentally, Prof Kandaswamy is an IIMA alumnus of the 1978 batch. The CFI course currently has an intake of 148 students, up from 75 students last year, when the course was started.
As expected, there was considerable excitement among the students, who filled up the KLMDC auditorium to listen to this beautiful actress. Shriya, an LSR Delhi alumna, has won many awards including the Matrubhoomi award and Stardust award for film ‘Mission Istanbul’. She started off with her experiences in the industry and her maturity as an actor. She believed that cinema is a world of dreams, which come true if you put in the hard work and consistent efforts. She touched upon various issues related to film production including budgeting issues, mismanagement of dates and work ethics. She also left the students with a thought about whether marketing research can indeed change or predict the fortunes of a film. She was all praises for the like of Rajnikanth and Mammooty for their professionalism despite them being superstars in their own right. She narrated incidents on the sets of Sivaji where Mr. Rajni would come to the sets well ahead of time.
Having worked in international projects, she did a comparison of the contract system there and absence of formal contracts in many of the movies here. She also stressed the importance of insurance and touched upon the aspects of ‘marketing in films’ especially the difference in marketing of bollywood movies, where millions were spent as compared to the controlled marketing of South Indian movies. On a concluding note, she emphasised on the need of a cultural exchange within different parts of India by releasing movies of different languages across the country.
Before leaving, she expressed her thanks to the students of IIMA for the highly interactive session and enthusiasm. Of course, the shutterbugs kept clicking all this time and few lucky ones managed to get an autograph and photo with Shriya as well!
– Glen D’Silva