This Director-turned-entrepreneur Believes RoI is Key for Venture's Success

Award-winning Kannada film director Prashanth Raj dons many hats when not shooting

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Creative liberty and monetary gain often collide when it comes to the business of cinema. Treading a similar path is acclaimed Kannada film director Prashanth Raj who has produced award-winning films like Love Guru, but believes any venture can only be successful if it is able to make the money back that was spent to build it.

The director-turned entrepreneur has seen several failures over the years within the industry to know that cinema may be art but cannot stand if it makes no business.  Even though most of his films have achieved better than expected results at the box-office, the entrepreneurial bug in him inspired him to set up R Ventures  out of Bengaluru, that has over the years forayed into hospitality, real estate, event management and of course TVC  production that focuses on commercial and non-commercial ad films.    

“Films are like a dream world, but the success rate is really low. It’s a gamble as the revenue bracket is not set. The smart thing would be to divest and think about other avenues and channels of income, especially using the skills that you posses as a creative professional,” said Raj to Entrepreneur India.

Bottom line is recovering the money

Although films are his passion and he believes in the right amount of creative liberty, the three-time Filmfare (South) award-winning director emphasizes on the need for films to earn money as well. For him every film that is invested in should at least cover the cost of making for it to be called a success regardless of how

“ROI is key, films or business. But businesses don’t work like films. They need to have the mundane routine elements of a business. At most I can use the networking and exposure I gain through films to understand the current trends in the industry,” said Raj. “Having said that, films should not be viewed as a standalone creative product without giving you any returns. The bottom-line should always be recovering your money, whether films or any other business,” he added.

His mantra has worked out rather well with his last film Zoom released in 2016 raking up over Rs 5 crores within just 3 days of its release in just 50 odd theatres in India. It has been termed as a blockbuster after it completed successful 150 days in theatres, one of the few recent Kannada films to do so.

Balancing between films and businesses

Multitasking is the key when it comes to balancing life between films and his businesses feels Raj, who has been donning many hats within the industry as writer, director and producer. While script writing and production planning can be managed simultaneously while overlooking his ventures, the execution schedule of a film, mainly its shooting can take up a lot of time.

“When it comes to shooting the time schedules are hectic and it is not possible to keep a daily track of events,” he said. “This is where your trusted employees who I mostly view as family comes in, those who can maintain the pace of businesses in your absence. It’s a team work at the end of the day and I have the right team leaders assigned for each of my businesses."


Agamoni Ghosh

Written By

She was generating stories out of Bengaluru for Entrepreneur India. She has worked with leading national and international business publications, including Newsweek, Business Standard, and CNBC in the past.