New YouTube Video! Video Version of Word of Mouth Post

Essentially the exact same thing I wrote yesterday.  But with a few different examples and hand gestures and stuff.  Plus, you get to see my new glasses!  Which are almost identical to my old glasses.

Yes yes, you can hear the fan in the background again, it’s over 80 degrees out, I’m not turning it off!

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25 thoughts on “New YouTube Video! Video Version of Word of Mouth Post

  1. Glasses- LOVE!! Shirt — LOVE!!! I freaked out about the hair thinking you’d cut it but then I thought there would be an announcement of some kind if that were to happen, right?

    Content- well, it’s already been discussed on the other post. But you’ve elaborated on it in this video and it made me think.

    About WhatsApp. I’m assuming there are two main type of regulars for Indian films in the States- local Indian film enthusiasts and expats and there are extremely few wanderers-in who maybe saw a poster for an Indian film and just walked in not knowing what to expect. Right?

    So amongst the expats, the WhatsApp behaviour is most likely the same as it is in India, right? At least first gen folks and older folks. So that means, you have multiple WhatsApp groups in which the likelihood of Indian film reviews popping up are high. And these aren’t always strangers – you have multiple family groups, sibling groups, cousins groups, in laws groups, and then you have school friends groups, college friend groups, work friends groups, neighbourhood group, kitty group, gym group, etc. And they’re all indian. Some are based in India and some are based overseas. But all of them know about releases from the Indian industry, right? And they talk. So usually the conversation isn’t like “hey guys don’t watch this film. I watched it and it was bad” and more like “hey you watched this film?” and then a dozen people give their take on it. If the film is from a star, you’re having the same conversation in multiple groups. Indians living outside of India, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but this is what I understand about expats and their WhatsApp behaviour from my expat friends. I’ve heard it getting called names like the Indian community network and I know for a fact that the networks can cover the Indian community the world over!!

    Anywho, now I want to know how the local American (non-indian) WhatsApp behavior works especially viz Indian film reviews. Do indian films get a review in a majority of your groups that don’t have any indian members? How does word of mouth work for the local Indian film enthusiast community? What kind of Indian film promotion do you get that you haven’t made an effort to seek out and track? Reviewer-wise, do you read reviews from local Indian film experts or indian film reviewers based in India? Or reviews from non-indian Indian film reviewers around the globe?

    I really want to know how moviemavengal gets her word of mouth reviews. I know the comments on her channel are a great resource for her.

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    • First, most importantly, the hair is twisted up like 6 times in the back of my head. Because I didn’t have time to brush/braid it this morning, because I was making the video and I’ve been told not to do hair stuff in videos any more 🙂

      See, part of the reason I am trying to figure all this out is that Whatsapp just is not a thing in America! I know a few people who are on it, but usually for international connections. In America, it’s more likely to be a group text between something like 5-10 co-workers. And you wouldn’t “abuse” it for something like movie reviews, it would be for “hey, the electricity will be out at work, everyone come in an hour late”. I mean, I am bad at technology stuff in general, but from what I have heard just in general, there’s this mixture of starting group texts or group chats, but it’s not a longstanding thing that just keeps going everywhere, it’s a specific thing for a specific purpose. And then there’s Facebook, which I don’t get at all (as you know) but also has ways to do group conversation type things. So this idea of a massive group conversation between more than 10 people, and being part of multiple of those, seems really strange to me. Or maybe I am just behind the curve? I don’t know, possibly other commentators can give more info.

      So, for non-Indian film fans, there’s ME. And a couple of a chatrooms. And word of mouth from other non-Indian fans you know. And that’s it. It’s a very tiny community and a very small part of the box office (based on how many white people I see in theaters, which is like me and my friends and maybe one other person). But from the very little I know, it seems like they are using Whatsapp in the same way you would India.

      On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:01 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I miss the hair. I don’t care if it sounds weird but I don’t want your videos to be like what YouTube is already flooded with. The hair thing was becoming your signature. It gave the videos a personality!!

        I don’t understand your Facebook and WhatsApp thing. I have quite a few non Indian American friends who are extremely comfortable with Facebook and WhatsApp. Maybe you’re shy?

        I’m really interested in a comprehensive Indian BO study thingy. Because the complaint across India too has been that BO collections have been sluggish. So technically, whatever is ailing the Indian BO in India could be having an impact on Indian film BO overseas. What are the figures for non-US Indian film BO?

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        • I miss the hair too! Maybe with your encouragement I will rebel and bring it back.

          I just like talking to people one on one is all. Facebook or Whatsapp (which really is not that common, like I can’t survive without some Facebook presence and texting, but I can without Whatsapp), just feels like the equivalent of being in a loud crowded party. Where as chatting in the comments here feels like being in a lowkey party where you can go off in the corner and have long conversations. So I have long conversations on gchat with a couple of different friends all day at work, and I comment, and I text people, and all of that. I just don’t like the sort of mass conversation style apps.

          I’ve been wondering about box office too! That’s part of the reason I wanted to do the posts on the top earners each year through history, to sort of try to grasp that. It’s really hard to get good Indian numbers, and then the big problem with Indian numbers is that the ticket prices have such a huge effect. Gadar is the one I always come back to. It made this massive profit, before the multiplex prices were really common, and in mostly smaller single screen theaters. So in terms of “footfalls”, we have never seen anything like it. But in terms of raw figures, something like Dil Dhadakna Do could easily match it just because it plays mostly in more expensive theaters.

          Baahubali was the rare hit that played both in the single screens with high footfalls, and in the multiplexes with high tickets, but that’s a hard balance to hit. More and more it seems like producers are just looking for the small expensive ticket buyers instead of the large mass of ticket buyers at the cheaper places.

          Anyway, in non-US, it varies a little week by week and place by place. But generally, they are all going down.

          On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I hope you do realise both Facebook and WhatsApp facilitate one on one interaction too. But I guess you’re too nice to leave a group someone added you to forcibly.

            I really miss gtalk though. Google and their obsession with hangouts killed gtalk and it was the best IM application ever. I never had to talk face to face with anyone not near my desk at my first writing job thanks to gtalk.

            I don’t know if you’re experiencing it too or not but this entire low BO thing has me feeling that tip of the tongue thing. Like I know what it’s about already but the words aren’t coming out right. I read the first post and then commented and went back and read my own comment and went nah that’s not it either.

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          • The flip side is that a low box office sometimes means an industry changing high box office is about to come. That’s what I am seeing over and over again in my historical perspective. There has to be a massive shift to get the audience back. This post is more of a “come on guys, wait it out and give them a chance while they figure out the next big thing!” kind of a message. So who knows, maybe Saaho in Hindi dub will announce Prabhas as officially the new King of the Industry, he’ll move to Bombay and take over, and there will be a whole new kind of hero and a new kind of film!

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 1:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • See, I understand the message that you’re trying to give but I don’t understand who it’s aimed at. The desis aren’t going to stop going to films and the new Indian film enthusiast already has decades’ worth of good films to get through. Indian films are an acquired taste. Actually every culture in the world has its own style of filmmaking that may not have a universal appeal. The audience always finds something out of everything films from a particular country throw out there. It just has to make sense to them.

            I’ll be honest, this post sounded desperate and condescending in tone. It sounded like an appeal to patronise bad films just because they are Indian films and without the right kind of patronage, they might not survive in America. See, that may be a real fear. But then again, if people overseas keep patronising bad films just because, they’re actually ruining the chances of genuinely good films coming up. You know how competitive that space is. Would you rather people gave more Tubelights a chance just because or that they rejected it and hopefully Salman learns a lesson?

            As for the change, well, KJo mentioned this again and again during Bahubali promotions that this is going to be a gamechanger. As an industry expert and insider, he really should have elaborated on that but he didn’t. Maybe he didn’t want to give away his strategy. But the change has been noticed. Amir had been doing it for a while but his work for discounted as his obsession with perfection instead of saying yes, this guy is making an effort to bring out a meaty film every year. Why didn’t KJo look at Amir and feel the same winds of change? Because Amir is ghar ki murgi. (the phrase is “ghar ki murgi, dal barabar”. Literally: both chicken (a luxury) and daal that you get at home taste the same. Meaning, you only value something that is exotic.)

            And prabhas is exotic at the moment. But is he truly exotic? No. He’s a commercial film actor. He’s good by Bollywood standards. He picks good stories. But his films are exactly what south indian films are anyway. They all have good plots with elaborate backstories, they pick support cast from a pool of veteran actors, they innovate in terms of technology and they have a low-cost pattern of promotion (audio launch plus pre-release events only and there’s almost no meet-the-press events. Stars don’t suddenly show up on talk shows and TV shows before a release. They do talk shows and TV round the year because they’re regional industries and the talk show hosts are friends.)

            Thw difference between commercial south cinema and commercial bollywood cinema is the intention with which the respective industry makes films. Commercial bollywood is about easy money. Commercial bollywood is about repackaging a hit story. Commercial south films use massy elements (slow-mo fight sequences, item songs, naval shots, dedicated comedian track) to present stories that are unique. And that looks, to Bollywood, like they’re game changing films. They really aren’t. Even Bahubali isn’t. It’s a completely typical raja-rani film made south style. Except they had a huge budget. Like, maybe Rudhramadevi and Magadheera would be just as grand if they had the CGI and actor salary budgets and the kind of time a big budget gets you. Had Bahubali not been released in hindi, how many would make the effort to go watch it with subtitles? This is what Rajamouli gambled on. The producers lost money on BB1 but they found out that there was a market for the franchise in the north and they promoted the second one accordingly. It wasn’t a bad film promoted right, it was a good film promoted right.

            As for Saaho, there’s a reason why south stars who make good films don’t do well in Bollywood. It’s probably a difference in ethics and filmmaking styles that keeps the south stars away. If I were responsible for it, I’d tell south stars to get the best dubbing teams for their best films, get exposure for those films on hindi movie channels, do non-release related promotions (talk shows, comedy shows, radio, college tours, visit northern pilgrimage centres, be visible on social media loving northern food, monuments, films, actors, maybe hum a classic hindi song, etc) in hindi (the more awkward a south star’s hindi is, the more endearing it sounds to us), get your face visible in the Hindi belt way, way before you have films coming out so you have no pressure on you. And then, once the audience sort of has an idea of who you are, launch a Hindu dubbed version of your south made film.

            Dhanush got lucky. He had the advantage of being Rajnikanth’s SIL and Kolavari Di became a massive hit in the north just before Ranjhana came out. The film was great. He was great in it. He became visible. So now people watch a Dhanush film on tv because they know the actor from the song and the hindi film. But he isn’t a bollywood success.

            Bollywood is in trouble because it’s gotten stuck in a rut. South stars, instead of aiming for the rut, should just make trilingual films. Bollywood banners can always present south films up north and make easy money instead of trying to make south stars work in Bollywood.

            Sorry for the long rant. It’s like 5:30am and I’m worried about not being able to sleep anymore 😓

            Liked by 1 person

          • I thought it was super early! Well, for you. For me, I am just thinking about dinner.

            This post isn’t an end all-be all, it’s just sort of opening up the discussion. There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the films and the ticket prices and everything else, both here and elsewhere. But it feels like there is a missing piece, it’s not just the film business has changed recently, the audience has as well. So this is my starting point to consider what might have changed, and why, and where, and what it means.

            I’m not part of this audience, really, so I am just looking on from the outside and trying to see what is happening.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 7:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I can’t be an NRI, when I walk down the street I don’t have visions of the Indian flag and various patriotic hymns constantly playing behind me. Well, I do, but not in “visions”, that’s just the neighborhood I like in. Okay, maybe I am an NRI.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well great, now I have that song (both versions) going through my head for the rest of the night. which, again, kind of proves your point.

            Liked by 1 person

          • NO HAIR! — There are plenty of other things (that aren’t sexually creepy) that you could use as your trademark. For example: Be at a table or desk and have a item that changes each time; or Have a different DVD case visible in the background; or Change your jewelry; or Be making a meal or snack while talking; or Have a different movie poster in the background; or Wear a different hat each time; or Use a different location each time (outside?); or Have a different movie playing off to the side with the sound off: or or or or — Lots of options!

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  2. Nobody without international connections uses Whatsapp in the US. Most people just group text or use something like Group Me and those things also really only for real life coordination. It’s used just to say you’re 10 minutes away or to plan the party or arrange an assignment due soon or something like that. I have never ever ever talked movie reviews with anyone in any chat format. That is done only face to face or talking on the phone with someone where you mention something you or they saw recently.

    In desi whatsapps group I get added to, the same exact reviews get passed around on multiple groups and they are often not even from the people sending them. They just happened to read it on another group and thought they were doing community service by passing it on to another 50 people. Sometimes they are fake reviews! Actually 99% of everything circulated on whatsapp groups is fake. For example, once I got bombarded with earthquake pictures where the army was helping out people to show how amazing the Indian army is… knowing what I know about veracity of whatsapp crap, I did an image search and as guessed, they were earthquake pics from China from years ago. This is a common thing btw. Pics from other places regularly get passed around as India in the name of “development” usually in favor of some pro-BJP/Modi thing and then the pics will turn out to be from Canada or Australia or something. If you point out the truth, it gets ignored and the same craziness continues as if you never said anything. It’s pointless.

    I don’t know if its just the insane people I know or if it’s a universal thing but every night they blow up the phone with random pics of flowers and teddy bears with Good Morning written on it. Multiple people in multiple groups do this every single day. Whatsapp is like a 24 hour spam service and I include the movie reviews that get passed around as part of that. I’ve talked to some friends if they are dealing with the same thing and apparently they are so I do think it’s widespread.

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    • Thank you for confirming that it is just because I am a luddite! I truly don’t know anyone who uses Whatsapp, unless they have family overseas. Even there it is just for the family group, like 20 people all related to each other, nothing else. But in my life, like you say, any form of group messaging is for a very limited purpose. The only one I can think of that lasts longer than it takes to plan a party, or organize a birthday gift, is some committees I am on that have a dedicated email group. And that’s more just to make it easy to send updates on meeting times and so on, it’s not for casual conversation. Even there we sometimes break the group in order to have private subcommittee messages.

      I am sure there is some fascinating ethnographical reason that Whatsapp has taken off so much in some places and communities but not others, I don’t know what it is though. I just sort of accept that it seems to be a thing some people are part of and I am not.

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      • This is exactly how Whatsapp works! Both of my parents are in a bunch of groups with either school friends, college friends or any other friends from India and they basically get mostly these kinds of messages.

        The only reason I use whatsapp is because we have a family group which I’m a part of but thankfully I’m not in any group that spams like this.

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  3. Great collection and a really big opening for Parava which stars new comers and an extended cameo by dulquer salman and supporting role by Shine Nigam. The film didnt even have a trailer or song release. It had good word of mouth from the morning show as wells as a really good production house ( produced Premam and Bangalore Days) backing it. Also the fact that one of everyone’s favourite actor Soubin Sahir directing it helped it gather this big opening.

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    • Thanks! Now I just have to hope it manages to make its way to me. This week we got the new Mohanlal film, which you said I could probably skip, so I am.

      On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I liked the hair, it gave the videos a more personal touch, so I say bring it back!
    ….made me feel you were talking directly to me, thus I payed attention all that more!

    Like

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