afaqs!

Upcoming Tamil flick Karma bets big on digital

By Nisha Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | February 10, 2012
The project by debutant director Arvind Ramalingam will feature actors found through a campaign run on Facebook.

Debutant Tamil filmmaker Arvind Ramalingam never fathomed that a campaign he launched to search for the cast of his project Karma, will go viral. When Ramalingam decided to make a psychological thriller and approached some of the leading actors of Kollywood with the script, many were excited, though no one wanted to play the leading role. Ramalingam believes most of them did not want to associate themselves with a character that had negative shades.

Karma

Ramalingam explored alternatives to get a cast in place. He launched an online talent hunt to search for his main lead through Facebook. As part of the talent hunt, a teaser video was also put up on YouTube, Facebook, and the official website. The movie will go on floor in March.

Ramalingam's production house Creative Criminals asked interested candidates to mail their pictures and video samples. Once they started getting responses, the casting team shortlisted and uploaded the images on Karma's official Facebook page. The rider set by Ramalingam and team was that the maximum number of likes a particular profile/ picture receives will bring them closer to the audition.

Commenting on the talent hunt, Ramalingam says, "We got over 20,000 entries, which were further shortlisted and posted on Facebook. Our brief was that the maximum number of 'likes' on a particular picture will get them to the final audition. This triggered a viral campaign, with people sharing the page and inviting friends and family to vote."

Within a week of uploading the shortlisted names and pictures, Karma movie page saw over 2,50,000 page views. At the last count, the activity level of the page stands at over two million.

Arvind Ramalingam

The Facebook page has also attracted brands wanting to get associated with the project. Ramalingam says, "Within a few days of its launch, Classic Polo saw the impact of the campaign and signed with us to become a style partner. They will feature the 10 shortlisted entries in their next brand campaign. We have also signed Sri Lankan Tourism as our travel partner, which will dole out an all-expense paid trip to Sri Lanka to some lucky followers."

Ramalingam now plans to extend his campaign to other profiles. "Along with mails of people who are interested to act, we also got profiles of people who are interested to sing, write lyrics, assist the director, and dance. I even got couple of mails from those interested to be executive producers. In the coming days, we plan to offer more opportunities to the deserving people," says Ramalingam.

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