On June 4th and June 7th this year, I wished I was in New Orleans. Not to experience the jazz, nor to learn more about voodoo and definitely not to spend time at Bourbon Street sipping a Hurricane Cocktail.
I wished I was there because on those two days, Turner Classic Movies celebrated the 45th anniversary of that evergreen classic through a limited big screen release of "The Godfather".
Added with a special commentary, this was an offer that one definitely could not have refused. The joy of experiencing a classic that I had never experienced before on the big screen.
After all as the famous quote from the movie goes, "Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold". Or rather, to paraphrase the same, "A re-release is a dish that that tastes best on the big screen after many years".
Which brings us to the huge untapped opportunity for Indian audiences to experience the original classics on the big screen for a limited period.
Imagine, if in January 2017, a full forty years after its release, someone had organised a special screening of that evergreen classic "Amar Akbar Anthony" and had brought together the 3 legends Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna (before we sadly lost him) to discuss their experience of making this classic.
It would have been an event that would have topped social calendars and to-do-this-week-lists, many weeks in advance. And an experience which would have opened up the world of this classic to a whole new generation that has never before experienced its magic on the big screen.
The relevance of bringing these classics back to the big screen for special screenings also presents a unique brand association opportunity on so many fronts. All the more enhanced because we seem to be living in a world of remixes, where every second or third song today is a remix of an original.
Listening to the Bollywood Top 50, while exercising the remixed version of that charming Shashi Kapoor- Neetu Singh number "Kehdoo tumhe yaa chup rahoo", the best part is when for a fleeting moment the original verse from the original Kishore Kumar version plays.
Radio channels broadcasting this could have used this to increase listenership through a contest where prize winners would have been invited for a special screening of "Deewar" on the big screen.
The romantic number is largely filmed in a Jeep. With the remix coming in just when Jeep has now launched officially in India there could have been a huge nostalgic brand association opportunity for Jeep which could have been a sponsor of such a contest through a popular radio channel.
Now moving on to remakes which seems to be another major trend nowadays.
Imagine catching the original baritone voicing 'Vijay Dinanath Chauhan pura naam" for just two days of special screenings when the remake with Hrithik Roshan hits the screen. Clearly worth a visit to the big screen for some to relive and for others to experience the original for the first time.
Similary imagine the charm of opening up the original from the 1978 version of "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi namumkin hai" to a whole new generation of audiences around the time the remake is released.
And going to the screen and laughing at the effortless performance and the enduring charm of Farooque Shaikh and Deepti Naval in the original and unforgettable, "Chashme Buddoor". The special screening can simply be over the first weekend of the remake only or even for one weekend after the remake is released.
And the best part is the remake can be enhanced in terms of form and in terms of content. Besides being digitally remastered using latest technology the originals can be screened in that curved screen cinemascope or 70 MM formats that made big screen experiences truly memorable. And the content can be enhanced with a director's cut version where unseen footage can be included which may also package deleted songs and other relevant sequences. This will create a whole new reason to see for audiences of that era which had perhaps experienced the screen version before besides new audiences.
The real potential of a director's cut is best experienced with classics like Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now Redux which has a whole fifty minutes of additional never before seen footage. Similarly almost 43 minutes of new footage has been added in the director's cut of the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
A director's cut version of the original classic with additional never before seen footage is surely time well spent at the cinema hall while the remakes may play alongside. We may be living in an era of remakes and remixes but rebooting the original from which the remake and remixes are created may hold a huge marketing potential.
(Nimish Dwivedi (pictured above) is a senior consumer marketing and financial services professional who has lived and worked in India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. At present he is the director of the cards and payments business at VP Bank- FE Credit, based in Vietnam.)
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