When Belly Belly opened its doors in 2015, it was a sign of hope for the country’s growing indie cinema scene.
The company, a co-op with its partner Bollywood producer Darsha, has since expanded to a larger and bigger cinema chain, and it has now become the official sponsor of the Bengaluru Film Festival.
Belly is also the official partner of the Film Institute of India, an organisation that aims to ensure that all films are made with respect to Indian sensibilities.
The Belly brand is, of course, a staple in the food of India’s youth and the Belly Boys, as the company is known, are the unofficial tag line for their latest product.
The company also has a presence in movies such as Bollywood Bajajar, Bollywood Shampoo and Bollywood Gourmand.
Belly Bessani, who is in charge of the company’s marketing and brand relations, is known for her candour and the brand’s commitment to the community.
She has told me that the company doesn’t even have a Facebook page.
“It’s an open community, so you don’t need a Facebook profile to know what we are all about,” she said.
“There are more than 1,000 brands of bakes in India, and the ones that we are proud of are the ones who make their products with love, care and affection.
So it’s no wonder that they have created a brand which embodies the passion and the heart of the community.”
For a country that is largely intolerant of outsiders, Belly’s presence at the Film and Literature Festival was a great boost for the community and its filmmakers.
“We have to work hard to get our films to festivals, and we don’t want to disappoint the Bollywood community,” said Bessan, a Bollywood actress who has been working on the festival’s films for almost four years.
“So, it’s great to be here with the community here.”
“I think that the community in Bengaluru is very appreciative of the Bessanian brand,” said Anand Srivastava, who also works on the Festival’s films.
“Belly Boys are our team.
We work hard with them to make sure that they don’t get disappointed.
We hope that the film industry in India will have a strong Belly Boy brand for a long time.”
But, Bessana also admits that the brand isn’t always perfect.
“When we have a good day, we like to share it with the world,” she added.
“But sometimes, we have to let our guard down.
So, it has to be very carefully handled.”