From ‘What the hell is this?’ to ‘What’s next?’, the world of NFTs, crypto, and blockchain has become a part and parcel of many people’s lives. While the Governemnt is yet to decide a mechanism to regulate this ‘newfound decentralised digital asset’, people have continued to trade and make big bucks from it. It wasn’t until recently that Mollywood started to catch up with the NFTs.
Rima Kallingal’s ‘The Insurgent Bloom’
We first noticed it when Malayalam actor Rima Kallingal auctioned her first NFT for a whopping 2.75 ether (INR 9,38,729.96). Her digital artwork, called The Insurgent Bloom, was a collaboration with NFT Malayali, Francis Kurien, Lumi (music producer), and Mahesh Krishnan (poet). This is the first-ever NFT project by a Malayalam actor. Rima used this opportunity to support women filmmakers and upcoming NFT artists as a way to encourage talent.
For Rima, it was about fulfilling her curiosity about the new buzzword in town. As of now, she’s still learning the tricks of the trade and hopefully, will encourage more people to pursue the same suit.
Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup
Ahead of the November premiere of Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup, the makers decided to auction three non-fungible tokens as part of their promotional campaign. It thus became the first Indian movie to do so. The producers of Kurup, M-Star Entertainments, partnered with Abu Dhabi-based Ammbr to release Kurup NFTs. On the 25th of October 2021, three Kurup NFTs were launched on the Ammbr NFT marketplace.
Not only that, people who purchased these NFTs had the opportunity to get hold of physical memorabilia related to the movie. Out of the three NFTs, one will have a video clip in Mp4 format (HD) with embedded music, the digital artwork and a hardcopy poster of Kurup signed by Dulquer Salmaan and Director Sreenath Rajendran. Each of these drops is exclusive and limited-editions, making it a new collectable experience for fans.
Unfortunately, the promotional tactics of the moviemakers received quite the backlash for ‘glorifying the character of Kurup’. This especially became prominent when they partnered with Kerala-based apparel brand MyDesignation to promote Kurup t-shirts.
The issue that viewers have is that glorifying criminals, such as Sukumaran Kurup, tend to justify the criminal activity. This leads to viewing the criminal in a ‘heroic’ way, creating a culture of accepted violence.
A New Trend?
Despite the volatility of NFTs, Mollywood is taking the risk of marketing through it. It is highly likely that more movies will jump on the NFT bandwagon to capture the attention of new-gen audiences. On a realistic level, it’s a great way to finance projects and even build a unique fanbase. Since each NFT is secured in blockchain technology, it can never be forged, replicated, pirated or even copied. The authenticity guarantees 100% security to filmmakers. For fanatics, it becomes a way to own their experience with their favourite content.