With the Ujala Asianet Film Awards taking place this weekend, we speak to the woman in charge, General Manager of Asianet Middle East, Bindhu Menon
SET TO HOST all the leading film stars from the Malayalam movie industry including National Award-winning actors Mammootty, Mohanlal, Jayaram, Dileep and Prithviraj, the Ujala Asianet Film Awards come to Dubai Festival City this weekend. Also featuring Bollywood stars Vidya Balan, Asin and Jayapradha and Tamil actor Dhanush, who shot to global fame with his Kolaveri Di, complemented by singers Hariharan and Shreya Ghoshal, the ceremony is going to get 2012 off to a flying start for movie buffs.
We caught up with Asianet Middle East GM Bindhu Menon to find out more about the awards and the media corporation.
How does it feel to be hosting this awards ceremony and what is the thinking behind establishing such an event?
The Asianet Film Awards ceremony in Dubai marks the first time that one of the most popular film award ceremonies in Kerala is being hosted internationally. Naturally, for everyone associated with the event, especially the Asianet Middle East Events team, it is an exciting time. While in the past Asianet has hosted star-studded events in Dubai, the Asianet Film Awards on January 6 at Dubai Festival City is the most ambitious in terms of the scale, the number of stars participating and the audience expected.
In what ways does it benefit your popular television station?
When conceived initially, the film awards event was aimed at strengthening our brand outreach and establishing a strong link with the film industry by encouraging excellence in Malayalam cinema. Today, the Asianet Film Awards event has grown so much in stature, it is one of the most awaited events in Kerala. In addition to hosting hundreds of thousands of spectators, the event’s telecast generates millions of viewers. Today, therefore, the event not only reiterates how Asianet continues to engage the Malayali audience, but also further establishes our clear market leadership.
This is the first time the ceremony is being held outside India. Why choose Dubai?
When we first discussed the potential of taking the Asianet Film Awards ceremony overseas, Dubai was the first choice. First of all, Dubai is the regional headquarters of the Middle East operations of Asianet. Two, the UAE has nearly one million Malayalis, according to estimates, and the growth that our channel has accomplished owes to their unwavering support. This event is a ‘thank you’ for our viewers and listeners of Asianet Radio for their encouragement and support over the past years.
There are a host of names attending the ceremony, how did you settle on the final guest list?
Asianet Film Awards recognises excellence in Malayalam cinema in 2011. The past year was truly momentous for Malayalam cinema with all the leading actors and actresses underlining their talent with some power-packed performances. As a film awards ceremony that honours the best, we were therefore fortunate to have almost all the leading stars in Malayalam cinema, who vie for the top honours. So I would dare say that we didn’t pick the stars; they are becoming part of the celebrations thanks to their judicious choice of roles and their performance. Everyone in our guest list awed us with their acting skills.
What plans do you have for Asianet in 2012?
We are marking 2012 with this ambitious event, which sets the tempo for our growth and development plans for Asianet in the Middle East this year. We have several plans in the pipeline, some in the final stages, which will be revealed in due course. All I can say is that Asianet Middle East is set to further engage and connect with not only the Malayali audience in the region, but also the larger expatriate Indian community. Already, our channel is the preferred marketing and news medium for all leading brands.
The Malayali community is an integral cog in the UAE’s multi-cultural landscape. What feedback do you receive on a regular basis from your viewers/ listeners? Would you say your channel helps people feel more at home?
Definitely; it is not exaggeration to say that we bring the true
heartbeat of Kerala to the expatriate Keralite community in the Middle East and vice versa. There has been no other stronger and long-running channel that has established such a deep bonding with the Malayali community. To this day, Asianet continues to be the first choice in television viewing for Malayalis.
What are the challenges in running a successful media company? How do you overcome them?
I believe that all businesses face their own unique set of challenges; the media sector is no exception. There are various aspects to the media industry – from content generation to marketing and audience engagement. The volatilities in the market invariably reflect on all these aspects. We have a solid and well-structured team in place who have proven their competencies in meeting the challenges.
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Published: Friday, January 06, 2012
Published: Friday, January 06, 2012