I’ve always thought about this day but now when it’s in front of me I’m feeling a bit lost and wondering what to write. Anyways the idea here is to tell you all about how we went about starting MAM and highlighting some of the steps on the way. With the curtains down on PFC (something which still pains me) in May 2011 I was initially feeling quite upset. After all it wasn’t just a portal for me, rather almost a second home. For the last 3 years or so that I was active over there, starting with reading & commenting, followed by writing and then leading the editorial team, it was all about unpaid work in a way but something I loved doing and proud of in a very special way.
After a couple of months of actually pondering over where I should start writing from hereon & re-activating my own blog again I still appeared a bit lost. That was the moment when I felt that something needs to happen again & this time I should also be a process owner as well. Cinemausher played a big role in convincing me that we could indeed do something on our own and come up with something that we really stood for. And then the whole idea got rolling in a small way to start with. That was also the time when Ajay Nair and Aditya Savnal came into the picture. We all knew each other thanks to PFC and somehow Ajay & Aditya were also pitching in and then the team looked a bit more secure.
Choosing the name for the portal was the next thing that we had to do before zeroing in on low cost technical aspects of starting up the website. I was quite clear that one of the USP’s of PFC was the way the title/name connected to the target audience & was simple enough. At the same time I did not want the new place to sound like a wannabe PFC as such. So after finally narrowing down the options we chose to go ahead with Mad About Moviez. We would have loved to keep it as Mad About Movies but then that domain name was not available & more over we also felt that Moviez actually sounded cool.
In the initial days the going was a bit tough as we had a lot of technical glitches and not many people to provide content. I also did not want the place to look dominated by a single author and hence it was becoming all the more difficult in a way. As is the norm these days we had to also make sure that we made our presence felt in the social media space as well. So after a test phase in the last week of August (2011) we formally announced our existence on the 1st of September.
To be honest some of the people who started contributing initially were people known to either me or someone else through PFC. We in fact even kept reaching out to a lot of PFC authors including some filmmakers & other industry people. While some readily agreed, others took their time, maybe wanting to check out if we were serious enough about the whole thing 🙂 . The intention was always clear right at the beginning. While we were happy to write about Cinema in any form we wanted to remain partial to the smaller/indie films and regional films because we knew that that’s where we could create a niche for ourselves and also that’s what believed we ought to do.
So while we do not shy away from writing about an Ek Tha Tiger or a Rowdy Rathore, we do not lose our sleep over it and prefer to keep all the debate over a Gangs of Wasseypur or an Eega. Nearly 8 months after we started we faced our first major problem when we decided to migrate to a more robust platform and hence take up a new hosting option itself. It was a total nightmare for a week or so as we faced problems which we least expected. But I guess we did learn a thing or two and kept moving on. In between there were quite a few milestones which we were only happy to cross.
Along the way something that has also been heartening is the way some of our regular authors have from time to time come up with some really fantastic posts. And a lot of them have joined hands with us on the way and we expect them to continue their wonderful writing and hope their tribe only goes on to increase over here with us. We have been constantly evolving along this 1 year or so (the journey is still on) and hence the site has undergone a lot of changes with regards to layout, design and features. And from time we have also taken the views of all our authors when it came to such matters.
One of the best things to have happened at MAM in terms of team work was the Mani Ratnam blogathon which was spearheaded by Ajay Nair & where a lot of our authors participated with gusto. Be it on Facebook or on the site itself we have always tried to ensure that we respect feedback and work on the same if it’s found to be constructive. But of course like everywhere else there’s scope for improvement here as well. So yeah now MAM is more or like us 2nd home for me and a few other people as well. We stay committed to our objectives and wish to reach out to all of you in every way possible. The excitement continues and will hopefully make us all the more motivated to move ahead, pushing behind milestone after milestone.
Before I conclude it is but essential that I give credit to and thank a few people here –
To start with Shekhar Shimpi for very quickly coming up with the initial logo designs of MAM and Jobin Mathew for the logo designs we are currently using. Also a big thanks to Tejas Bhatt who helped us get through a few technical glitches when people working on the backend for us were a bit tied up. And of course Rohan Pimparkar who has been the silent backend man for us and tinkering with stuff. All 4of them (Shekhar, Jobin, Rohan and Tejas) have worked for us for free (well we haven’t gone commercial yet to pay people) and I’m sure they all did it for the love for Cinema and/or because of their generally helpful nature.
One of the first ‘feel good’ moments for us came when Sudhish Kamath mentioned MAM briefly in his article in The Hindu on some new movie blogs/websites to check out and hence a salute to Sudhish :). And of course I would also thank filmmakers Ranjith Sankar and Bidyut Kotoky for being explicit in mentioning MAM and their association with us across media. And of course how can I leave out Hemant Gaba while thanking people over here. For being the 1st filmmaker to provide MAM the identity of being associated with a film officially ( Shuttlecock Boys ) and more importantly for being a friend and a well wisher of MAM, a very heartfelt note of appreciation indeed.And finally a big thanks to all our authors, readers and followers on social media for their continued support and patronage.
So as Robert Frost famously wrote-
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
And hence we continue our journey….