Creative Career has become a new avenue of making creative media and arts a well paying vocation for the practitioners. It involves academic and hands-on training to build a career in diverse disciplines like Acting, Anchoring, Branding, Communication, Fashion design, Film making, Gaming among others. Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Director , Ramoji Krian Universe(A joint venture between Ramoji Film City & Krian Media Limited and located at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad) spoke to Nilambar Rath, Editor-in-Chief, OdishaLIVE during his recent visit to Bhubaneswar.
Excerpts from the conversation.
How do you define the concept of Creative Career?
Creative Career includes all those fields of art and expression like written, musical, visuals (both still & moving), sound ,fashion design and films.
What are the career prospects in this domain?
Indian media and entertainment business is worth more than $21billion as stated by FICCI. From the time a child comes of age, the focus is on attaining rational education like medicine, law, stock broking, business management and engineering while in today’s times the vocations of sport, creative arts and media are equally and sometimes more rewarding.
The sad part being the artistic and creative areas of interest are mostly taken for a hobby not profession. Ramoji Krian Universe (RKU) aims to change this approach and make these creative skills marketable and professionally viable. for example, we teach art not art management, dance but not professional choreography, theatre but not acting across all commercial media. Hence we aim to make commercial use of talent available with us.
How did RKU think of building an institution on such a subject?
Ramoji Rao, our visionary leader of Ramoji Film City had already started RAFT, Ramoji Academy of Film Training a few years ago. RAFT has produced world class talent who is working in different media stream all over the globe. But Ramoji Krian Universe, a joint venture between Ramoji Rao of Ramoji Film City and Ranjit Thakur of Krian Media Limited to deliver long term and sustainable education.
It is not just about training but a degree based learning with a difference. So for the first time in India and probably the world, a medical college hospital model of educational training on Creatice Career is coming up which includes TV Channels, Media, Newspaper, Advertising & Events, Hotel, Film Production and other areas of skill along with education. This is nowhere seen in India because we aim to impart teaching in the first half of the day and real time training in the latter part of day which will greatly benefit the students.
Does RKU have any Local or Global tie-ups with other institutes?
Inside Ramoji Film City, every department will mentor our students. We have Media and PR, Events, 17 TV Channels, India’s fourth largest Newspaper, Hotels and many more. Our students will work there for training. Also we have a 10 month teaching and 2 month compulsory industry level internship for 10-12 hours a day six days a week in some of the biggest media houses across the country. We also have tie ups with institutes in the Middle East. As former head of Amity, Symbiosis and Whistling Woods International, I could personally develop a network of 400 companies for our students to work and gain experience. We decided to give the final diploma only after a student is placed. So if you complete the course, we provide you a job.
You have more than 40 PG Diploma courses. How do you manage such huge bandwidth ?
40 niche courses across art, management, film and media studies is Indeed a big challenge but I am happy to note that we have selected 28 faculty across disciplines all post graduate, some with M.Phil and PhD degrees with a vast experience in respective fields to guide our students. Moreover all our courses like Gaming, Digital Marketing, Advertising etc have a ten member industry advisory board along with the 28 mentors defined into 500 sessions of 2 hours each. A lot of work has gone into developing these courses which are 45% theory & 55% practical in nature.
How do you plan to build RKU a leading private university?
We are fortunate to have got a university inside a 2200 acre campus which is nowhere available in the world. We already have world class infrastructure as noted above so the amount of exposure is very high. We expect to produce a global landmark in creativity and education.
Where do you visualize RKU in the next 5-10 years?
We will start with a 100 students and 28 faculty which will of course be increased gradually. We would tour the country with our students and faculty spreading the message of creative career. We have short term one week courses for working professionals with inclusive training on diverse topics. We also have full time students starting September 1 for full time engagement and also short term students who would spread good word about the institution.
You have been an Innovator in media & comm. studies. How you see the current scenario in India?
A lot of media institutes today churn up media academicians which is good. But the industry requires media professionals and we aim to nurture professionals who will go out and work in the field. There has to be a research component here too because without adequate research, no good quality content can be presented. Our focus would be on three levels viz, Theory, Technology & Industry exposure. We provide the much needed exposure by training the students in Ramoji Film City, outside the Ramoji group and third with live projects outside the institute to develop knowledge and relationships.
How you view new age trends in the media and its impact on the career & life of professionals?
Convergence of all media is a reality of today. A working professional has to know writing, radio as well as digital media. With the spread of Smartphone and high speed internet, online media consumption will be huge. TV content is decreasing while online production or Web Series is increasing with almost all major media houses foraying into web series. Hence no working professional can ignore the web. Different media will converge on the web and make it a mother of all media giving text, audio and audio visual information. So tomorrow’s professio0nals need to enhance their skills to stay afloat in the time of convergent web media.
How internet and digital technology have brought a new age revolution in consumer- content relation?
Smartphone and internet technology has made information available to all. It is up to the content creators to seize the opportunity and engage with the audience in real time which no other media like Radio, Print & TV can do. You can also have feedback process from your audience in the web and social media to further boost the appeal of your content.
How do you see the growth of Indian Cinema in terms of Technology and Business?
Interesting times with respect to cinema where we have multilingual movies like Bahubali 1&2 earning lot more money abroad and pure Hindi movie like Dangal earning a huge profit outside India. So Indian cinema is being viewed outside the country not only by NRI’s as well as foreigners. Now there is the concept of web cinema, a movie which will not release in the theatres but will still make money. So there will be three broad categories of cinema- Mass cinema, Niche cinema and Web cinema.
How Govt. and Corporate can best explore digital media in governance, communication & branding?
The rise of Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal is a testimony to the growing influence of leaders and the role of digital politics strategists in India. The Digital India initiative, e-Governance, Aadhaar delivery to almost all citizens of India is a proof that e-Governance is the way forward to make services simple, records available and grievance redressal possible.
With regards to Corporate, one must note that a brand’s online word becomes communication for it. No matter the nature of praise or criticism, the brand needs to listen and engage the customer for better understanding and delivery of services and what better medium for two way communication than social media! In this era, conversation is key to brand value. Your customer gives you feedback thus adding to production value. Hence the customer becomes your partner.
What about application of digital and social media in development communication?
Development communication is about taking a positive aspect and standing up for it like ecology, women & child rights, education, health, governance and such issues. One cannot reach these opinions to the masses only by TV or Newspaper because of lack of coverage. Online media on the other hand is increasing faster than imagination. The online media via Smartphone has reached the opinion maker, the public and therefore the digital medium will rule the roost in the times to come.
Finally, what would you say to the Youth?
Dream big, but with your eyes open and prepare a roadmap to fulfill your dream. Gain information but practice it more to obtain knowledge. This practice of information will give you short methods of application of knowledge leading to Innovation. A degree is not education, it is a qualification. Only when you apply the knowledge in real context will it give Education.
Lastly, no idea is a good idea if there are no takers for it. Hence one should use the knowledge to make a living. How do you sell your talent to the masses will determine your future. Creative Careers are here to stay it is up to you to determine your niche.
About Prof. Ujjwal K. Chowdhury:
Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury is the Director of Ramoji Krian Universe RKU, Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. A dynamic personality and a resource of information for everything under the sun, he is a Jadavpur University alumnus. In the past, he has held the position of Dean of Amity University, Symbiosis International University and Whistling Woods International School of Communication.