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Padmaavat Row: Lessons for Corporate

An article by Mr. Prahlad Pandey, analysing the extracts and learnings the corporates can take from the Whole Padmavat release case.

One of the most controversial Indian epic period drama film, Padmaavat, finally, after many hurdles, released on Jan 25, 2018. The 30 million dollar budget movie already got released in US and UK on Dec 1, 2017.

Based on the epic poem Padmavat (1540) by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the film narrates the story of Padmavati, a Kshatriya queen who committed Jauhar (self-immolation) to protect herself from Alauddin Khilhi, the then ruler of Delhi Sultanate.

Karni Sena, the major protesting outfit against the release of the movie, along with other Rajput‘s outfits alleged the movie to have scenes that tarnish the ancient pride of Rajputs, the warrior community, character assassination of brave queen Padmavati, distortion with history. The director of the movie, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was assaulted last year. The protest against the movie so intense that one of the BJP office-bearer from Haryana said he would double the bounty on the heads of actor Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

However, the row has some valuable lessons for corporate. Here are the details:

Right Time for Product Launch

The movie was earlier scheduled to release on Dec 1, 2017. However, due to the continued row, the producer deferred the release date voluntarily for an indefinite time. The protesters appealed against the release of the movies in the Supreme Court. Protesters approached the Supreme Court appealing ban where their appeal was rejected. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh said they would not allow the movie to release even if it is cleared by the censor board. The producers challenged the ban in these states. The top court on Jan 18, 2018, said it is the responsibility of the states to ensure peace. However, it was clear from the rival attitude of the governments that the movie may not be released in these states. Moreover, it was going to clash with Padman, an Akshay Kumar movie which could have significantly hit the box office collection of Padmaavat. The delay in releasing the movie could have multiplied the financial repercussions. The republic day week was a perfect time for releasing the movie even after it clashed with the Padman because there was enough publicity for the movie and the week has a three-day long weekend.

Right Time for Competition

Another movie, Padman, was also scheduled to release in the same week with Padmaavat. When the announcement of the release of Padmaavat was made, the director of Padman, R Balki, said, “Our film was supposed to release on Republic Day from the outset. It’s a free country and if people insist on a particular day, nobody can stop them. However, it is silly to clash in a small industry; there are enough dates for everyone. It’s not the wisest thing for films to clash,”. As Peter Kropotkin observes, “Competition is the law of jungle, but the cooperation is the law of civilization”.

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