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In Conversation With Manoj Shinde

Ranjani Saigal
07/26/2005

Manoj Shinde founded Bollywood Flick to with the hope of bringing Indian movies to mainstream American public and not just to the South Asian Community.   He has successfully screened Paheli and Viruddh . Amongst upcoming attractions are Sarkar, DUS , NO Entry and Salam/Namaste.

Manoj Shinde is a software engineer by profession and has been a  Principal Consultant & Manging Member at tCognition, Inc. since its inception. His current responsibilities include overseeing the entire global operations and identifying new technology imperatives for the company.

Manoj has successfully initiated partnerships with Siebel Systems and Microsoft Business Solution (CRM) for the whole region leading to increased growth of consultancy and outsourcing services.  Prior to founding tCognition, Inc., Manoj Shinde was Senior Technical Support Engineer and trailblazer at both - Siebel Systems Inc,USA and Sybase Inc, USA.

Manoj graduated Summa cum laude from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India and did his MBA at Northeastern University, Boston, USA.


Shinde talked to Lokvani about his work and his passion for bringing Bollywood to mainstream America.

You are the founder of a successful Software Company tCognition Inc. Why did you decide to found another company in a totally new area – viz films?

Bollywood is not a totally new area for any Indian. Whether one is an intellectual or illiterate the one thing all Indians have in common is movies. All Indian Americans would like to present their culture to mainstream America. I felt the most effective way of doing this was to bring movies to regular American theaters like showcase. So  I started a new company and that is how Bollywood Flick was born.

How did your interest in films develop?

As a young boy growing up in Ghatkopar, a suburb of Mumbai, going to the movies was a special family outing arranged by my father. I think ours was no different than other Indian families. Unfortunately I lost my father when I was only fourteen. From a very young age I had to work to support my family. I decided to get a degree from Osmania University since it was one of the few universities where attendance was not compulsory. I worked during the day and did school work the evening. Despite my busy schedule, I always looked for opportunity to watch a movie.

I moved to Singapore as a part of the Pan-Pacific presales consulting arm of Sybase inc. Later I came to the United States and founded tCognition.

All through my travels my passion for the movies never dwindled. I love Bollywood and would like to do my part in bringing Bollywood to the west. 

Were the American Theater companies open to showing Indian movies?

They were skeptical at first. It took us nearly six months to convince them.   I think movies like Bend It Like Beckam and Monsoon Wedding have succeeded in creating a familiarity for Indian films amongst mainstream America.  While the theater owners are very supportive of diversity, screening Hindi movies is an unknown element and they wanted to be sure that there are not compromising on quality. Currently the movies are being screened in Lawrence and Worcester. If the attendance continues to be good at the movies, we should have no problems in expanding to theaters in other areas as well.

What has this experience been like for your viewers?

It has been wonderful. Watching movies like Paheli and Viruddh in a nice theater with comfortable seats and excellent sound system is a treat and our audience has been delighted to have this experience. It is such a pleasure to see Bollywood movies listed alongside American movies. Pasting Shahrukh Khan’s poster next to Tom Cruise’s poster gave me a sense of pride. We are working with the theaters to try and provide Indian snacks as well and we hope that enhance the experience.

Do you get non-South Asians audiences for the movies?

Very much so. The Hispanic community, Chinese community and people of middle-eastern origin have shown a great deal of interest.

Does Bollywood Flick have plans beyond screening movies in New England?

We would like to screen regional movies. We hope to expand to other areas beyond New England.  We would like to present a Bollywood road show festival where lead stars and singers can perform in non-desi clubs in the area. We would like to arrange a few free events as well.

You are very busy running tCognition. You are married with two children. How do you find the time to work on this new venture?

My wife who is a research scientist at Millenium Pharmaceuticals is very supportive of my efforts. It is my passion and I think one always finds time to pursue one’s passion.Entrepreneurship is in my blood and I never feel any stress when I am doing things I enjoy.

What are the financial goals for Bollywood Flick?

My goal is only to bring Indian movies and through them Indian culture to mainstream America. To sustain the company we have to breakeven. I hope we do become successful for that will help us push our goal further.

Any message to our readers?

Come and watch the movies. We need your interest to be able to sustain this and bring quality movies to quality theaters.

Thanks for your time.

Thanks.



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