Our correspondent caught up with this master producer for an all-exclusive interview, wherein Vashu spoke in detail about the digital revolution that he has started, with which he is all set to take the world of music by storm...err...whirlpool! Over to you, Vashu...
To start with, what's the film all about?
The film, F.A.L.T.U is directed by Remo D'souza, stars an array of actors, namely, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Jackky Bhagnani, ex-Miss India Pooja Gupta, Angad Bedi and Chandan Sanyal. The film is all about youth.
Can you tell us something about the film's music?
Music is the best thing that has happened to this film. We have released the film's music this week which includes songs like Atif Aslam's 'Le Jaa Le Jaa' and Hard Kaur's 'Chaar Baj Gaye Party Abhi Baaki Hai'. They are two different types of songs that had a digital release, making this a first time in India.
What does the term 'Digital Release' mean?
'Digital Release' means that the songs are released digitally and not on the stereotyped method. Each song of this album is available at Rs. 10 only.
Who came up with this digital download's idea?
It's me who had come up with this unique idea. And there is a reason behind the same. And the reason is that my career began with audio cassette manufacturing. I used to manufacture 300,000 audio cassettes in a single day! According to me, I was the largest manufacturer in the country, after T-Series. That's how I know the in and out of the industry. And what I saw was that the industry is getting money, through the form of digital media. But the problem here was that the general public was not able to get connected with this. But, in my case, what will happen is that since we are offering 25,000 prizes, which also means that we are getting connected with 25,000 people at one go, which is practically impossible in the coming 100 years for any music company. I have seen people saying that I stay as far as Udaipur, Muzaffarpur and other far off place, but I am not able to connect. That's where my digital download will come in the picture. Through this, they will not just get connected, but also will be showered with gifts, just for getting connected! Even in a reality show, one can have a maximum of 100 people, whereas here, I can have a whopping 25,000 people!
Post this; I am also starting off with a mega grooming classes for the masses, which again will be an initiative to get connected with the masses! These classes will happen post June.
What is it that you are planning to achieve by having a 'Digital Release'?
The basic reason for us to get into a 'Digital Release' is because; we wanted to curb the piracy in the industry. And there are incentives for the listeners who download the songs. There are a whopping 25,000 prizes worth a staggering Rs. 5 crores! The best part of this process is that, besides the money, Remo will also teach dancing to around 15-20 students. This aside, some lucky winners will also get a chance to have breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner with the vibrant star cast of the film. Wait... there's more! Lucky winners will also get to star in a film that's produced by Puja Films. Besides the fact that, each winner is entitled to a gift of Rs. 250 each, we have decided to contribute around 5-7% of the money to 'Smile Foundation'. For me, this is a platform not just for merely money, but I want to develop the market in a big way.
You said that the listeners will have to download the songs in order to be able to participate in the lucky draw. In that case, can a listener download the songs many times in order to increase his/ her chance of winning?
Absolutely! The listener can download the same song as many times as he/she wants! And guess what. Even though it's too early to say this, but, we have decided to release another two songs in the Bryan Adams show. Not just that, if the response to this download is huge, as in we get many hits before the show, we may just land up announcing a few names on the show as well!
What's the cost of a single song as well as that of the album?
The cost to download a single song is Rs. 10, whereas the whole album can be downloaded at Rs. 40 for 8 songs, but the label's delivery will be done only after one month. But the listener has to book the label now, so as to gain an entry in the lucky draw.
Besides the Bryan Adams concert, what are the other marketing strategies that you are planning to adopt in order to promote this unique proposition?
That's a good question. The first step was our grand music launch, which will be followed by the Bryan Adams concert. Thereafter, it will be the 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa' dance show, in which Remo himself is one of the eminent judges! After that it will be the Global Awards. Since it's an internet thing happening, we are planning to go all out to catch hold of the youth through the medium of Youtube, Facebook and other youth sites.
Since it's an online (digital) format that you have ventured into, does that mean that there won't be any advertising adopted for the print medium (newspapers)?
As I said earlier that, we will be going all out to promote this unique thing, we have just started off with the internet promotions. Later on, we will be all over the place in terms of magazines, newspapers, television etc
What's the procedure to download the songs?
The procedure is very simple. One has to simply log onto the URL www.iamfaltu.com, and then, pay the money, through the form of credit cards or easy cards and bank transactions. Since it's a new venture, there could be minor loopholes in the same, which I am sure will be rectified in a week's time. I guarantee you that in a week's time; the said site will have an international look.
The above thing sounds fine for those who have access to the internet. But, don't you feel that, with that, you will be restricting your audiences to the net-savvy ones, thus resulting in masses who don't use internet being left out.
How can I forget them yaar! As I have told you before, my strategy is to reach as many people as possible. That's why the provision that we have made for those who are not net savvy or inaccessible to the internet, we will be shortly starting a SMS short code service.
You have tied up with Hungama for the same. What was the reason for you to choose Bollywood Hungama?
Bollywoodhungama.com, its totally needless to say, that, according to me, is one of the best sites for music, films and entertainment. I won't be wrong if I say that Bollywood Hungama was the first company to have started 'Entertainment' in a big way. In other words, it's Bollywood Hungama which has made entertainment to enjoy the position that it is in now. I know them since the last 10 years, and I also happen to be one of the firsts in the company. And to the best of my knowledge, I feel that all of the Bollywood fraternity mostly first logs onto Bollywoodhungama.com for any kind of information or downloads. and I want to do the same thing with music.
Talking about music companies, one hears that you are planning to revive Puja Music in a big way, is this true?
Yes. The news is very much true. Plans are being worked out to revive Puja Music in a big way, which will be open for all the filmmakers also.
And with Puja Music re-entering the music industry, will its music be available in the same CD format or will it revolutionize the music industry by sticking strictly to the digital format?
As you rightly said, Puja Music will be revolutionizing the music industry by sticking strictly to the digital format. I am open for all the filmmakers to release their music through Puja Music, but the format will be only digital.
I am also starting an 'F.A.L.T.U.' channel as well as an 'F.A.L.T.U.' Radio
Generally what happens is that, we give out CDs to the distributors. But, in our office, what we have told our staff is that, they can use our credit cards and download the music. And the response to this has been so humongous that we are so very happy with the same.
Lastly, is F.A.L.T.U. a mere name of a film, or does it stands for more than that?
Well, to tell you the fact, F.A.L.T.U. is indeed an abbreviation for something that will be revealed over a period of time. The general trend these days is that the very moment one utters the letter 'F', all that a person thinks is the unmentionable word, but, I am sure that, once people get to know the real meaning and full form of F.A.L.T.U., they will take the word as a matter of pride. If one can recall, the similar thing happened a few months back with 3 Idiots. Till the release of the film, the word 'Idiot' was an abuse or remark. But, once the film released it became so cool to be addressed as an 'Idiot'. I am sure that the same will happen even with 'F.A.L.T.U.' if that isn't enough, then wait for this... I am also starting an 'F.A.L.T.U.' channel as well as an 'F.A.L.T.U.' Radio! Mark my words; it will take the 'interactiveness' to a different level altogether!