Bollywood is big on promotions. Once a movie is readied for its theatrical release, the cast and crew step on the promotion bandwagon, spilling any little secret that will lure the crowd into the halls.
The unveiling happens bit by bit, first with the poster, then the teaser, trailer, songs and dialogues.
It's information overload, with the audience prepped considerably before they step into the theatre.
It's a strategy that's possibly worked magic for many filmmakers, but it's also a tool that has crushed many a Bollywood dream. We look at a few from the past, and the present, where promotion overdrives have led to the movie's box-office doom.
Director Vikas Bahl created the spectacular 'Queen' in 2013, so when he flagged his second feature with the talented Shahid Kapoor and the bubbly Ali Bhatt, there was instant buzz. The crew fed off this, with the movie marketing team building a lavish promotional exercise on the trio.
The leading man and woman tweeted and instagramed their every move while on the 'Shaandaar' promotional trail, and fed the media constantly with movie titbits. They celebrated every new moment, and travelled to different cities, TV show sets and gave innumerable interviews to media channels.
In fact, every song of the film was given an exclusive press launch, with one particular track about insomniacs – 'Neend Na Mujhko Aaye' – being launched in the middle of the night.
There's also the 'making of the movie' videos that were flagged up on the social media.
'Shaandaar', however, paled in comparison to what the team promised during the promotions.
Riding on the success of 'Queen' and 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns', actress Kangana Ranaut was hoping to strike gold again with director Nikhil Advani's 'Katti/Batti'.
Pitched by the filmmakers as an unusual but path-breaking rom-com, they paraded Kangana and her co-star Imran Khan around every nook and corner of India, and even flew them to Dubai.
The makers uploaded special short stories on YouTube to link the pros and cons of live-in relationships, but when the movie finally hit the theatres, the audience didn’t applaud.
In keeping with the scale of the period drama 'Bombay Velvet', director Anurag Kashyap and his producers decided to take the media for a three-day Goa trip. The makers claimed they were bored of the run-of-the-mill promotion layout, and decided it was time to host a 'small party' to celebrate their movie.
The stars, director and the producers booked the media into a resort, and fed them good food, music and every little movie detail over three days. Probably a first where the film crew partied with the media without a care in the world.
"We felt that if we get everyone together, it's going to be a nice change. Besides, when we travel from one city to another, we barely get five minutes with each person. But this way, everyone gets to explore the movie in a better way," Ranbir Kapoor told NDTV.
However, the filmmakers were disappointed when the media and the audience gave their movie a thumbs-down.
A Salman Khan movie doesn't bank on promotions, and the star automatically guarantees an incredible run at the box office. Yet, Khan went on a TV promotion overdrive, appearing in almost every popular show. From 'Comedy Nights With Kapil', 'Nach Baliye 6' and 'Dance India Dance', he and his co-star Daisy Shah were on them all.
It's reported that the actor even slashed part of the promotion funds and donated to charity, and ensured the ticket prices didn’t spike closer to the release date.
He wants the movie to reach out to more people, his spokesperson reportedly said.
The movie, which packed in many B-list actors, appeared to be Salman's unique style to salvage their fallen acting careers.
His noble efforts didn’t impress his audience, who ditched the movie.
Shah Rukh Khan is another star, who doesn’t need promotion power to accelerate his movie’s business, yet he played into the industry norm for his superhero flick 'Ra.One'.
He made an appearance on almost every telly show of prime-time value. He even swapped the role of quiz master with Amitabh Bachchan for 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. That apart, he toured the length and breadth of India, giving countless interviews.
That’s not all, he even tied up with numerous brands - Sony Play Station, Nerolac, Western Union Money Transfer, Cinthol, UTV Indiagames, and You Tube. The team also invested heavily in billboards, newspaper ads, and telly promos.
The movie, however, didn’t win any appreciation, and many blamed its downfall on the promotion overkill.
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