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The CEO Magazine
A monthly magazine for business leaders and decision makers

MUKTA ARTS, ONE OF INDIA’S LEADING PRODUCTION HOUSES BY THE GREATEST SHOWMAN HIMSELF

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MUKTA ARTS, ONE OF INDIA’S LEADING PRODUCTION HOUSES BY THE GREATEST SHOWMAN HIMSELF

“The entertainment industry is a source of great opportunity and mystique. We need to validate the opportunity and demystify the industry to raise transparency, interactivity and drive the best talent to the business” Rahul Puri, Managing Director, Mukta Arts Ltd.

One of India’s leading production houses, Mukta Arts Limited is efficiently plunging its way through the business interests in the absolute spectrum of entertainment diving into all streams from Exhibition to Education.

The production house today operates efficiently under the wise hegemony of its MD Rahul Puri and Mr Subhash Ghai, popularly known ‘The Showman of Indian Cinema’ . In 1978, Subhash Ghai pioneered the establishment of this forty-year-old company. Its laborious history and envious film portfolio serve as a USP for the company. With changing times the company has effectively initiated efforts in multiple areas of production, distribution, exhibition and education in the film and media industry and global collaborations.

‘THE SHOWMAN’

Subhash Ghai, Executive Chairman, Mukta Arts Ltd, started his career in Mumbai as a screen actor, then shifted to writing screenplay. Recipient of many national and international awards Subhash Ghai has been honoured by the United States senate. He was the former chairman of the entertainment committee of trade body CII and a member of FICCI, NASSCOM and TIE global & its alliances. He has been on the jury of Emmy awards for three years and the international panel on film piracy at Cannes film festival in 2008.

Very few companies today, can flaunt such a long-standing tenure of excellence by maintaining relevance with the fast-changing landscape of the media industry. With a decorated film portfolio, a state of the art cinema chain nationwide and a premier film & media institution in the form of Whistling Woods International to nurture the future generation, they have managed to find their influence. To know more, the CEO Magazine bagged a chance to talk to the Managing Director at Mukta Arts about their exhilarating work culture, plans, corporate ethos, client association and more.

The CEO: How do you decide the nature of the right target audience for your brand?

Rahul Puri:Research is the key. However, we believe in having a deep relationship with our audiences, knowing their pulse to the beat. Thus, with every film production venture or new cinema property establishment, we strive to bridge the need gap and be of useful service to our consumers. We invest a considerable amount of effort in Marketing and PR activities to engage with our audiences. The brand judiciously utilises social media profiles as well as on-location activities to keep up conversations with our audiences.

The CEO:Do you feel the influence of technology association has amplified over the years?

Rahul Puri: The film production, exhibition and education business has been highly subjected to the influence of technology. At Whistling Woods International, partnerships with technological torchbearers are a common phenomenon. One of the many endeavours is the Virtual Reality Lab, set up in association with Jio to pioneer research and execution in the world of VR. We constantly update ourselves with the latest technological trends to provide a high level of consumer satisfaction.

The CEO:What do you feel about the transformation of the industry?

Rahul Puri:Across four decades, Mukta Arts has been witness to the changing industry. From basic reel to digital revolutions, to the emergence of complex structures due to foreign investments. As a group, it has managed to modify and manoeuvre around these changing trends while still staying rooted in its core value systems. We have always embraced change and challenged the obstacles that come

The CEO:In a competitive market, what hurdles did you have to battle?

Rahul Puri:With the growing size of the industry, competition has become fiercer than before. Innovation and market intelligence has been the core strength at Mukta Arts. We have managed to provide a world-class cinema viewing experience at pocket friendly prices with Mukta A2 Cinemas. Whistling Woods International is one of the only film schools of its kind in India, that provides world-class facilities to its students while giving them a chance to learn from industry stalwarts.

The CEO:How do you chalk out a business model for a successful brand?

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Rahul Puri:The nature of the film and media industry is usually fluctuating. Mukta Arts has managed to remain profitable in spite of the industry instabilities, by investing in fruitful ventures, constantly seeking new avenues of growth and simultaneously polishing its existing assets in the form of IP’s and renewal rights. Our long-standing relationship with consumers and the goodwill of the brand has been the primary reason for our success.

The CEO:In the next five years, do you believe the company would have achieved the status it was seeking?

Rahul Puri:Certainly. Our film production ventures across regional terrains will not only create value in terms of business but will also help strengthen our bond with masses nationwide. Apart from the content space, Mukta A2 Cinemas India is growing at a fast pace with over 52 screens PAN India, 10 screens in the South as part of a JV with Asian Cinemas under the name Asian Mukta A2 Cinemas and Internationally witha 6 screen Multiplex in the City of Manama, Bahrainalong with many more in the pipeline. This wide ranged influence over the industry is what will help the brand command its position for years to come.

The CEO:Do you believe this is an appropriate time for an entrepreneur to venture into the industry?

Rahul Puri:In this present start-up ecosystem, entrepreneurs could find fruitful business options to pursue. However, identification of gaps in the industry and building an arsenal to execute processes to bridge that gap is a key. As a company, we enthusiastically collaborate with entrepreneurs to explore possibilities in various businesses. Many of the Whistling Woods International alumni have also chosen the entrepreneurial path and have set up successful business ventures.

The CEO:What is the corporate ethos for clients in your company?

Rahul Puri: As a company we have strived to provide our consumers the best services and a great experience consistently and regularly. We have always believed that all our stake holders are our greatest asset and we work harder every day to try to live up to their expectation.

The CEO:What are the achievements and awards earned by your brand?

Rahul Puri:The Mukta Group is only the film & media organization in India today that is present across the entire value chain of the industry that comprises of production, distribution, education & exhibition – both for film & for Digital platforms.  Mukta Arts Ltd. was the first production house to list its company on the stock exchange, the first company to start film Insurance with the movie Taal. It is also one of the companies that consistently came up withnew marketing avenues like in film branding, merchandising, etc. that paved the way for other film makers. We are the only company with as many as 35 hit films and some of these have had the longest run at the Box Office.

The Hollywood Reporter has rated Whistling Woods International amongst the Ten Best Film Schools in the world on multiple occasions. In 2010, WWI was accepted as a full member of CILECT (Centre International de Liaison des Ecoles de Cinema et de Television) – a global association of film schools, which lays very high standards on admitting members (out of the thousands of film schools in the world, there are only 150 members of CILECT).

Mukta A2 Cinemas has also been appreciated on various occasions in the Industry with Awards like Best Single Screen converted to Multiplex award for Topiwala Mukta A2 Cinemas, Best Cinema in the city(Peoples choice) for Mukta A2 Cinemas Auranagabad, or the most recently awarded Best Single Screen Theatre given to New Excelsior Mukta A2 Cinemas.

The CEO:What core values and compliances are followed at Mukta?

Rahul Puri:Our core values include quality, integrity and a work ethic that means we try every day to improve on what we have done and incorporate the best of our learnings in our all our organisations. These core values enable us to consistently deliver a high level of performance across all our businesses, to all our clients & customers. We carry out innumerable CSR activities as a responsible company to give back to the society.WWI &Mukta A2 Cinemas has constantly done various associations with NGOs like Salaam Mumbai, SOS Foundation, Nanhi Kali, Icchha Foundation, Pratham NGO and many more.

KEY OFFICIAL AT MUKTA ARTS

Rahul Puri, Managing Director, Mukta Arts Ltd is a Business graduate of Kings College London, he started his career as an investment banker at UBS Warburg. Rahul moved to Mumbai in 2002 and worked in the sector of Corporate Finance & Strategy before he joined Mukta Arts to produce and distribute Indian films. He is now involved inall aspects of the company including financing, distribution, production, exhibition and marketing.

Rahul shares, “The industry is going through an interesting phaseand we have seen some excellent work. However, the industry remains a difficult place for people to break into, it is important that the industry and the government takes strong steps to ensure that education plays a larger role in the structure of the entertainment business.”

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