When I Met My Doppelgänger

Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman

One fine morning, almost at cockcrow, when I was still sleeping, someone shook me vigorously. I looked from my half-open eyes. Couldn’t see anyone around.

Before I could close my eyes to sleep again, I heard someone calling me. Who? It was my doppelgänger, my alter ego or my ghostly counterpart.

He wanted to know about my present passion and future direction for ROBOJIT. I acquiesced.

Here’s what he asked and here’s what I said:

Hey man! What’s all this hype and hoopla around your Robojit thing?

Hi! Believe me, there is no hype about Robojit and the Sand Planet work. It’s a great project, indeed.

How is it great?

You’d agree story is the heart and soul for any global-scale entertainment project. The Robojit story is great, as it speaks to billions of people in the world. The story is as relevant for consumers in the East as it’s for those in the West, as it perfectly blends traditional subjects like humanism and spiritualism on one side and the modern subjects like technology on the other.

Unlike many other Western superhero-based stories, the Robojit story will have billions of takers in the emerging Asia-Pacific markets. Similarly, it will attract billions in the West, as it has a new, refreshing humanoid superhero concept targeting the masses.

Then the project cost must be huge. Isn’t it?

Huge is a relative term. What’s huge for a poor man like me, may not be huge for deep-pocketed investors. But I estimate that for covering all formats of the project including a global-scale (say, Hollywood) live-action movie, a digital video game, animation film, TV series, Web series, and a serial comic book, the project cost will be of the order of US$500 million (yes, five hundred million US dollars) over a period of two years.

And before you raise your eyebrows, let me tell you that it has potential to earn US$2 billion in the first two years and subsequently the Robojit IP can earn billions more through merchandising and recycled product formats. The Robojit movie alone has the potential to earn $1 billion at the box office in the first month of its release.

The project is not just about a film or a video game. Rather, it has the potential to become a global phenomenon for the current as well as future generations.

Do you think people will have that kind of courage to invest money in your project?

No. I don’t think so. I still want to give it an honest try. In our world, it’s a curse to be poor and creative because you can’t follow your dreams for want of money. People who can think and create die with their dreams and others who can’t think are sitting on trillions of wasted bucks. There is hardly any force that can unite them.

And the moment people come to know that an Indian is working on such a colossal project, they get cold feet and refuse to talk to me because India is a backward country in all conceivable fields of activity. I am aware of these harsh realities.

While I am working very hard to market my project, I am also ready to die without seeing it happen. But to be realistic, I think the project can be started with just a graphic novel in the beginning. That should not cost more than $5 million. Subsequently, the movie cost will be around $300 million and video game will cost about $50 million. Similarly, there will be costs for other formats.

Why can’t you meet people and do it in your local film industry, Bollywood?

As I said, it’s not just for a film. It’s a multi-format, multi-screen project that will be delivered through traditional as well as digital, new-media channels. And Indian film industry Bollywood is light-years behind modern filmmakers in the advanced entertainment world. Here, people are doing some cheap, traditional work for the lowest end of the market and for consumers who don’t understand content quality.

People running Bollywood are in the Stone Age of entertainment. It is extremely depressing here. Most Bollywood movies are made with a paltry amount of $2 million each. When I will tell them the cost of my movie will be $300 million, they will laugh at me and dismiss my proposal instantly. They can’t think big. I have even stopped watching Bollywood films because they were spoiling my mind and my thinking.

Let alone creating something of this nature, I’m sorry to say that Bollywood people can’t even think on these lines. It will be better for me to throw my story in a dry well than to sell it to people in Bollywood.

Then who will support you in this mammoth project?

Today, only Hollywood sets the standard for entertainment, though there are many flaws and hiccups even in Hollywood blockbusters. At this point in time, only big entertainment companies like Paramount, Universal, Sony, DreamWorks, or Disney can support this project.

While the investment can come from any country, the production for all formats of the project should happen in Hollywood. And I’m looking for creative people like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, etc. to work on this project.

What do you have to support this project?

Zilch, I’d say. I don’t have any money for the project. But yes, I can coordinate with the production and marketing teams effectively for I know the characters like my own family members and have virtually visited the environs presented in the story multiple times.

Plus, the entire entertainment business is undergoing a seismic shift. The old rules are being refined and redefined to maximize profits from projects. To some extent, I understand many of the new marketing and distribution models to optimize the returns on investment. That will be my contribution – non-financial only.

What do you want from others to carry out this project?

Investment, of course. But it’s not just about money. I want professional support on all possible fronts to take this project forward. For example, actors, graphics artists, animation professionals, marketers, and just thinkers who understand consumer behavior and entertainment markets can join hands with me.

I want to build a community of thousands of people around this project. It will be a totally new concept where all these professionals will become part of a colossal entity without spending even a single penny. But all of them will benefit financially and professionally when the project takes off.

That’s all for now. Do come again.

When I raised my eyes, I could see smile on the face of my doppelgänger. It inspired me to work harder on the project. And I will.

Rakesh Raman

[ Also Read: Robojit Film to Bring More Bang for Each Invested Buck ]

[ Also Read: Robojit Poised to Transform the Entertainment World ]

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