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Prashant Nair: An entrepreneurial filmmaker

Feb 20 2012, 13:47   |   By CNBC-TV18

Prashant Nair set up Avedya in 2000.

Image: SME Mentor

Thirty four year old Prashant Nair, CTO of Avedya & Filmmaker was born in Chandigarh, raised in Europe, Africa, North America and for the last decade has made Paris his home. This engineer from Purdue University, after learning the ropes and bolts, one of the United States largest youth online communities, co-founded Avedya, a social media consultancy firm in 2,000 to service the European market.

Prashant tells us about his venture Avedya. It’s a social media consultancy that manages, creates and monitors social media services. Also, he talks to us about his romance with reel.

Today, Avedya creates and manages social media for brands like Orange, Vodafone, Swisscom, P&G and AOL. With nine offices globally Avedya’s grossed revenues of USD 7 million in 2011. But what makes this consultancy brand stand out in a very competitive market.

Nair says, “What differentiates Avedya from its competitors, in my views, is the focus on the customer understanding part of it. We set-up a service for a customer based on their objective. So, if it is a youth focused brand and they want to generate some buzz around new product, we create either a site or a community that’s accessible on mobile and on web. That allows people to communicate around the themes that are important to that brand. In doing so, people give you lot of information, they tell you what music they like, what products they like, what locations they like and so on. You can use that data to increase customer understanding. So, a large part of our focus is on the backend and the tools and the process is to take all this raw data and try and create insight from it that’s useful to our customers.

He further says, “We have reached a certain stage at Avedya where when you reach about 50 people or certain size of business, the skill sets very different for continuing. It has been about 12 years in the social media industry. From the very beginning to now where you have these big players and I thought, I have spent a lot of time in that industry and wanted to do something a little bit different.”

And it was this urge to do something different that took Prashant to a filmmaking workshop at NYU and then to a film set in New Delhi for his first feature film ‘Delhi in a Day’

Nair says, “For me, first time shooting in India was a challenge because my Hindi wasn’t very good. I have never worked here before so that was an interesting experience and a lot to learn about how things are done and so on. Then directing has its own language, you have to understand sound, camera work and working with actors. So, all that had to be learn from scratch and then holding a film together from start to end is quite a challenging thing.”

While having an experience in cast and crew helped Prashant make the transition, his social media experience has helped him generate 32,000 strong online community for his film which is winning accolades on the International Film Festival circuit. While ‘Delhi in a Day’ will have a multiplex release shortly, Prashant has his hands full with scripting and planning his next venture.

Nair says, “A film is like a start-up; you come in, you got a script, you got an idea, you have got a rough budget and you get all these different skill sets that you have to coordinate and manage and make sure that everyone is on the same page. So, there are many parallels. A film is like a small company.”

He further says, “The next one is an interesting one. I am working on the script, it’s for a production company which did a film called Ragini MMS. This is going to be India’s first mainstream vampire movie. The director is a very talented guy, he is Oscar nominated director.

Nair says, “What we are trying to do is not import the concept of vampire, but we imagine it, so it’s little more fitting for Indian audiences. This project is currently slated to begin shooting in the next few months. I also in parallel working on a new film called America which is set in the early 80’s. It is a comedy about the myth of America and the motivation behind illegal immigration to the US.”


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