Bollywood has officially marked its territory in the metaverse.
Some may argue that the metaverse itself doesn’t exist, but Pooja Entertainment announced yesterday (Feb. 15) that it purchased virtual land from a company called Cryptovoxels, which bills itself as a “virtual world and metaverse” built on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Mumbai-based company is the first Bollywood production house to do so.
In the US and elsewhere, celebrities like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Paris Hilton have bought NFT-backed virtual spaces, using them for various things like virtual performances and launching digital brands.
In India, Pooja Entertainment has built a movie-theatre-like experience for users within Cryptovoxels, which it calls Poojaverse, at a virtual address called 71 Gazelle Ave. It bought the space as a nonfungible token (NFT) for 1.87 Ether, which was worth $5,613.84 (4.22 lakh rupees) when it was purchased on Feb. 4. It is worth $5,828.77 as of Feb. 15 (Rs4.38 lakh).
The company’s tweet made the announcement for Poojaverse with a trailer of its upcoming film, BadeMiyanChoteMiyan, and a website link to its virtual property. The website leads to a page hosted on Cryptovoxels. A page on the website pointed to Poojaverse’s plot of land, which has details of the purchase made on NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Pooja Entertainment’s announcement has no further details on what it plans to do with the space, but it will likely be a virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR) platform for cinema-goers, to engage with the company’s films either via games, virtual screenings, or digital merchandise.
While the Indian government has often taken an adverse view of cryptocurrencies, it has backed the use of blockchain technology in the future. NFTs are, thus, gradually gaining popularity among India’s artistes and celebrities.
Indian celebrities in the metaverse
On Jan. 26, Daler Mehndi became one of the first Indian musicians to perform using an entirely digital avatar in the virtual world. It was hosted on PartyNite, which calls itself “India’s own metaverse” on its Instagram account.
In November, actor Kamal Haasan said he would create his digital avatar on virtual platform Fantico, which would host NFTs of the actor’s work, and a game based on his avatar.
While Bollywood stars like Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have sold NFTs of their work, and music labels like T-Series have decided to sell digital properties through these tokens, the metaverse still largely remains the great unknown.