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Research key to making successful films, says Disney India's Amrita Pandey

Arpita Mukherjee     March 3, 2015

VP and Head, Marketing and Distribution, Studios, Disney India
AGE: 35
GOAL IN LIFE: No set goals, feels she has a lot to accomplish in her current role.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: You have got to take hard calls, and you have got to do what you got to do. You need to jump out of failures fast.

She is a key member of the team that has delivered a string of memorable films in the past decade - among others, Swades, Rang De Basanti, Raajneeti, Kaminey, Barfi, Kai Po Che, 2 States, Chennai Express, Haider and PK. Amrita Pandey, Vice President and Head, Marketing and Distribution, Studios, Disney India, says the movie business calls for varied skills. "You need to display a range," she says. "With business people, you have to be in business mode, but with creative people, it is a different mode. It is very satisfying. I think that is where my passion for this business comes from."

After a brief stint with an education portal after she graduated from a Mumbai college, Pandey completed a course in marketing management from The Sydenham Institute and joined UTV from campus in 2003. (UTV was taken over by The Walt Disney Co in 2012.) She began with television, part of the team responsible for international content acquisition and launch marketing of the UTV's children's channel, Hungama TV, moving on to movie distribution with Ashutosh Gowarikar's Swades, the first movie that UTV produced, in 2004. Her mentors were UTV's erstwhile boss Ronnie Screwvala and current Disney India Managing Director Siddharth Roy Kapur. Screwvala says she is a "proactive, multi-tasker and solution oriented" person.

Pandey says research is the key to making successful films. "There must be research into the changing tastes of audiences and the avenues for reaching out to the right targets," she says. "Research does not give definite answers but it does provide data, patterns and trends from which you extrapolate to decide what you want to do." At a personal level, she believes in sticking to what she thinks right, even if it takes a toll on popularity. "You've got to be consistent," she adds.

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