The favourite grumble of Kannada film makers is that, 'Kannada film market is small.' Yes, it is small compared to Tamil, Telugu and even to Malayalam. But has any film maker worth his salt addressed this problem apart from the grumbling before newspaper reporters and television channels?
No. They have failed utterly. Kannada films are sold to seven 'territories.' Two of them are 'Mangalore,' and 'Mumbai Karnataka.' Kannada films are regularly screened in Goa for decades now. But distributors who buy the rights for Mangalore and Mumbai Karnataka screen the films in Goa and Kannada producers do not even bother to create a separate market called Goa. The same goes for other areas in India but outside Karnataka where a substantial number of Kannadigas reside.
Even more myopic is the vision of Kannada film makers about markets inside Karnataka. From Bidar to Raichur and beyond the border districts of Tumkur to Kolar, they have accepted the dominance of Telugu films. People here watch a 7 am show of any film of it is good. Even of it is in Tamil or Hindi. But no Kannada film maker bothers to market his film there. Not a single Kannada film promotion has been held in these districts for ages.
One fourth of Bangalore market is handed over to Tamil films and one fourth to Hindi and one fourth to English. Kannada films compete for the other one fourth with Telugu films. In a theatre named after Shankar Nag on MG Road, not a single Kannada film maker tries to release a Kannada film for even one show. For the Kannada film maker, releasing his film on Kempe Gowda Road is feat accomplished. This is not just apathy but sheer negligence. When it comes to marketing, Kannada films have failed themselves.
When it comes to foreign markets even Hindi film makers are astounded that Telugu films are making more money in US than many Hindi films. Even Tamil films has lagged behind here and their foreign market is confined to where Tamils have been living since the British took them there like Singapore and Malaysia and where Sri Lankan Tamils went during the LTTE crisis.
Telugu films started making a wave in US market only in the last 3-4 years. But over 10 years ago, stars like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and others regularly visited USA to promote Telugu films. That time, the returns were negligible and did not cover the travel cost. But over the years, the tides turned and now Telugu films give a run for the Hindi films.
Trying similar is Sandalwood star Yash. Gajakesri actor Yash is creating a record not only in his movies but also off screen. For the first time in the Kannada movie industry a lead actor is going abroad to promote his movie. Gajakesari movie is getting screened in USA from June 13th.
Actor Yash is leaving to America to attend the screening of the movie there. Talking to Chitraloka.Com Yash said, "Last time when I had gone to America for the Navika function I had noticed that if our presence is there, then we can promote Kannada movies. On that day itself I had decided I should make a trip to all the places to promote our Kannada films."
When Googly was screened in USA there was tremendous response for it. Yash says he decided to attend the screening of the movie Gajakesari in USA after the response to Googly. "The time has come now. I am leaving to USA on 10th. I will be there for 12 days and will attend the shows and interact with our people."
Yash also has plans for the local market. He says, "Let us take Hyderabad-Karnataka area. Earlier there was not much prominence for Kannada movies there. Now the time has changed. Our movies are doing very good business and Gajakesari is rocking in those areas."
He adds, "My intention is not to promote just my movies. I want to promote all Kannada movies that will be screened abroad. We always say Telugu and Tamil movies have market abroad. Why not our movies? If we all work together we can create a good market in the next 2-3 years."
Yash will also be visiting other countries to promote the film. He said, "It is not only USA. Very soon I am planning to go to Australia for the promotion of the film. I have decided that whenever I find time I will go for promotional activities."