The unceremonious ways of selling a film in Hindi cinema are known to all but mostly discussed in hushed tones. But during a session at Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival on Monday, director-producer Nikkhil Advaani revealed that he was suggested by a person in the marketing team of his film Lucknow Central that its hero Farhan Akhtar should rake up a scandal to sell the movie.
Lucknow Central clashed with Kangana Ranaut’s Simran on September 15. The days leading up to Simran’s release saw Kangana addressing the controversy about her apparent relationship with actor Hrithik Roshan in various interviews, and it was viewed by a lot of people as a promotional stunt for Simran.
Nikhil Advani said that he was told that if Lucknow Central had to compete with Simran in terms of pre-release buzz, Farhan Akhtar needed to create a “scandal”.
“I got a call from the marketing person saying, ‘Kangana’s scandal is going on, tell Farhan to do a scandal.’ This is an actual conversation! Farhan has to have a scandal otherwise our buzz won’t go up. I said ‘but what scandal?’ and they were like ‘do any scandal but we need it,'” the producer said.
“I don’t understand it at all. How can I approach Farhan and say ‘hey let’s do a scandal, otherwise no one will watch our film,'” added Advani.
Also present at the session were Phantom Films’ Vikramditya Motwane and Prernaa Arora of Kriaraj Entertainment, both of whom joined Nikhil Advaani in slamming the excessive importance given to promotional strategies in the industry.
The trio agreed that the promotion and advertising (P&A) aspect of the movie making business desperately needs an overhaul as the current model is “unnecessary, and a waste of time and money.”