Bollyspace

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

First interview - Wahindia.com

One major component of my dissertation involves understanding the institutional architecture of the "new media" sector that creates and sustains Indian cinema's presence online (particularly Bollywood). In India, I will be spending time meeting with folks at Rediff and Indiatimes. In North America, I will be speaking with people behind Bollyvista, Behindwoods, Wahindia, and perhaps Indiaglitz. And tomorrow I kick things off with an interview with the CEO of Wahindia.

From the industry's perspective, "new" media have transformed production processes, marketing practices, the design of promotional packages, and perhaps most crucially, have been indispensable in the drive to tap into and expand the audience base outside India. While some efforts, like the decision to promote Rok Sako to Rok Lo by "premiering" the entire film on cell phones are a bit out there, overall, new media technologies have come to define contemporary film culture in many ways.

I am interested in understanding the history, business practices, and content development processes of companies like Wahindia. And I really want to grasp how these folks deploy their understanding of audience participation to both invite and structure fan activity. And, when I look at sites like Wahindia and Bollyvista, and the content they carry, I also cannot help wondering about these media professionals' own sense of being a fan.

I'm a little nervous actually. While I've done tons of interviews with audiences, broadly speaking, I haven't done any with media execs. And not having worked in the media industry, I wonder what questions are off-limits, how much I can probe, what the jargon is, etc. I'm also wondering if I should scribble furiously as he talks, or use the speaker phone function and tape the conversation, or follow Suketu Mehta's technique (Amardeep Singh) and type directly into my laptop as the conversation unfolds.

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