10 Years of MAM (Mad About Moviez): An Exciting Journey Despite Many Glitches

Earlier this month our website Mad About Moviez (MAM as we fondly refer to it) turned a grand decade old, having started operations way back in 2011 around this time. Back then the portal came up to fill a void of sorts, after the fantastic PFC (Passion For Cinema) shut down in the summer of 2011. With like minded film buffs like Ashwin Varma, Ajay Nair and Aditya Savnal joining me with the same mindset and enthusiasm, we began MAM in a small way. Though we did not set out with any particular goals, we soon realized that a portal like ours needed one or more focus areas. Covering conventional Bollywood and Hollywood cinema was thus relegated to the background, as we realized that doing justice to these broad areas would be tough. We were anyways late entrants and there were big, popular film websites with whom we would have to compete with.

This does not mean that we did not do justice to Bollywood or Hollywood, a quick scroll through some of our pages would reveal umpteen reviews of Bollywood and Hollywood films, also interviews of many actors, filmmakers and technicians and related articles. Instead, we found our niche in indie cinema as well as regional cinema. We knew that independent filmmakers were always struggling to find mediums worthy enough of helping them with the promotions of their movies. Thanks to having known many of these indie filmmakers, we started off by reaching out to them. If that wasn’t enough then some of us even started networking, making use of various social media platforms to bring MAM to the notice of various other indie filmmakers, writers and technicians.

Similarly, there was a huge lacuna when it came to coverage of regional cinema across as a pan Indian forum. Yes, today there’s definitely a marked improvement, there is significant space being allocated on national media to regional cinema, especially southern cinema. But then it has taken time and now with so many films from south being remade in Bollywood, with so many actors, filmmakers, writers and technicians from there who are working over here and with southern cinema getting a lot of focus thanks to the OTT space, this was bound to happen. But we are talking of a period much before all this and at that time we were one of the few (if not the only one) trying to ensure that regional cinema received relevant coverage. Various new and old films were watched, discussed and written about.  There were reviews, interviews, opinion pieces and more and Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi cinema saw a lot of coverage on MAM. Kannada and Punjabi cinema also found more than just a passing mention on our portal.

As our depth in terms of content increased, so did our reach, being read and followed not just across India but also in several other countries. At one point it was even fun to look into the daily/weekly reach of the website. We also enjoyed providing in depth coverage and analysis of the movies being screened at various Indian film festivals, especially our own beloved MAMI (the fondness stems from the geographical location, with a lot of us being based out of Mumbai, also home to MAMI).  Oh! And there was one aspect that we were very conscious of, something that we felt we should not compromise on, the frequency of content being posted on the website. As a thumb rule we tried to ensure that a minimum of at least one post (as long as it was relevant to the website) went live every day. A good day would see 4-5 articles/posts going up on the site, on many such occasions our editorial team would be forced to hold back a few posts for the next 2-3 days so that the coverage was spread over a few days evenly.

While all this was happening, we (the core team, our authors and most importantly you, our reader) were also going through our own respective personal and professional journeys. It was no secret that several of us were trying to break into the media and entertainment space, particularly cinema and those who were already in were trying to cement their own place within the industry. Needless to say, this did not happen overnight and involved a lot of upheavals in many ways. I am sure all the concerned people have their own stories to talk about, so let me not get into that right now. Having felt stifled in my regular corporate career, I took a blind jump into the mad world of movies and after dabbling in various roles across categories, I eventually found my calling and turned producer. Aditya Savnal on the other hand too went through many experiences within the industry, some good and some not so good, eventually settling into a digital marketing role with a well-known Bollywood entity which is into content creation, aggregation and distribution.

Some of our talented authors have made their mark as writers within the industry or are nearly there and similarly a select few have gone on to make their own films as well. Needless to say, we are proud of each and every one of them, we salute their perseverance, their relentless pursuit for achieving what they aspired for and what they have managed to do so far. Amidst all this we slipped somewhere as far as the journey of MAM is concerned, we probably got complacent and busy with what was happening in our own lives. The whole dynamics of movie reviewing and writing on cinema by then had undergone a sea change, with the popularity of Twitter and Instagram, everyone was becoming a reviewer of sorts. Also, more and more film critics started embracing the video format, both for film reviewing as well as for interviews and sharing opinions. The trend of reading long, well enriched articles (which we at MAM were pretty good at) was slowly dying.

We did make some attempts to catch up with the changing environment, but the attempts were half hearted at best.  Soon we were struggling for content and in an unfortunate lapse of concentration, we even lost our prized domain-.com (www.madaboutmoviez.com) to a cyber squatter a couple of years ago. Thankfully we had the providence right at the very beginning to also have a backup domain kept ready i.e. .in and that’s how we transitioned to www.madaboutmoviez.in. Over the last couple of years or so it’s been a struggle to keep the show running, there have been volunteers who have come forward with some ideas to enable the platform to regain some glory, but nothing really has taken off for various reasons. We also realized that nearly all our contemporaries (there were a few other like-minded film portals) have already folded up or got into some other format for various reasons of their own.

As I look back across the last 10 years of MAM, I am experiencing a mixed feeling of sorts. I am happy that we managed to pull off something like this and are still alive to write this after 10 years. But also sad in a way as we aren’t sure of how this story, this journey might continue, going forward. No this isn’t a farewell post, far from it. We would certainly not try to give up so easily, as this has been a special place for a lot many of us. While we still figure out how to re position ourselves and get through this tough phase, we would also be more than glad to welcome any constructive suggestions. Feel free to contact anyone of us (myself, Ashwin Varma, Ajay Nair, Aditya Savnal) through social media (or leave a comment below this post) and we will be grateful for your suggestions.

But as of now I have to thank all of you, my fellow co-founders, our authors and most importantly all our readers. These 10 years wouldn’t have possible without your support and on behalf of MAM I sincerely thank each and everyone of you. It would be wonderful if we manage to keep the journey going on. Cheers to the decade that’s flown past us.

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