Story Sellers

It’s been a while,since film promotions grew out of scratchily put together trailers of the hero’s choicest kicks,the heroine’s best jhatkas,and the villain’s scariest,bloodiest face.

Written by PiyasreeDasgupta | Published: February 11, 2009 2:45:27 am

Before the hero’s multiplicity of ‘packs’ is left to decide the fate of a film,promotions in Bollywood today ensure that you flock to theatres,abs or no abs

It’s been a while,since film promotions grew out of scratchily put together trailers of the hero’s choicest kicks,the heroine’s best jhatkas,and the villain’s scariest,bloodiest face. It went into the cyberspace with snazzy websites,entered your drawing rooms with lucrative contests,and found its way into the mall around the corner.

But then,it’s in common knowledge that most of these ploys wore out even as the crowd,tired of cheering or watching the TV,returned to life and work.

However,when an endeavour like the Rang Rasiya — Freedom of Expression Art Movement is conceptualised,it sees to it,that the film’s prospective viewer is involved in the film in more ways than that of passing interest. “Raja Ravi Varma,whom the film is based on,was a painter extremely passionate about his art. And we wanted people to try and understand his ideas,and that’s how the movement fell in place,” says Aanand Mahendroo,TV personality and producer of the Ketan Mehta film.

The movement,which was a competitive one,was primarily concerned with photography,graphic arts,short film making and performance and tried to create an interface between artistic activity and general public. “We wanted to give back the society something,” says Mahendroo. Apart from its creative and aesthetic intentions,the movement serves a broader purpose. “For people who mistake Rang Rasiya as a film exclusively for art enthusiast,it comes as a myth buster of sorts,” laughs Mahendroo. So,from filmmakers to photographers,to random people,the art movement,takes the film to a cross-section of people,without resorting to populous publicity tricks.

And,for people who have their targets set on a certain section of the population,promotion too has worked up its cool quotient. Take for example Dev D. The sleek,almost punk take on Devdas could only sell to an urbane multiplex audience with superior knowledge of the cool and the complicated. “A tattoo is undoubtedly something that defines today’s youth. Since Dev D is a very young film,we decided to design and launch a tattoo to promote the film,” says Shikha Sharma,marketing head,UTV. Film promotions,therefore,no more end at visibility. “These days,if you give your viewers’ something they take back with them,the chances of the film registering a good opening increase,” says Sharma.

And the viewers it seems can just laugh their way back home,taking with them oodles of stardust to last for quite some time. The promotion of Ghajini even went to the extent of personalization. “Media people were asked to upload their pictures on our website with their names. Following that we developed Polaroid snaps,similar to the ones in Ghajini. Amir then wrote out the first thing that came to his mind about the individuals and sent the snaps to them,” says a representative of Spice,an agency which was a part of the promotional campaign for the film. And from the press conference at a gym to Amir turning into hairstylist,Ghajini set new standards for promotions. “Promotions demand brainstorming like never before. Moreover,the fact that stars today are extremely media savvy,makes things smarter,” adds Mahendroo.

“When Shah Rukh Khan promises to give you a haircut for his film Billu Barber,you want to see how he does that even if you’re not a part of the scramble for winning,” says Nirmalya Majumder,a copywriter with a radio station and short filmmaker,about sustaining interest in films. Agrees Gargi Banerjee who works with a publishing firm,“When a film’s promotions reflect a lot of smart thinking,you tend to expect the same from the film,” she reasons. So,you go and watch it. Mission accomplished!

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