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Promotion: The Key Factor

By Bollywood Hungama

Does the job of a producer end once he wraps the shooting of a film?

The one sentence I keep hearing from most producers [after their film reaches the completion post] is that they're exhausted financially. Most producers are often vocal that the budget of their film has spiraled and escalated tremendously and with minimal resources on hand, ensuring that the film reaches the movieplexes is their prime concern.

Making a sincere effort to produce a qualitative film is imperative, but ensuring that the film gets a proper, befitting release is equally important. A one-and-a-half/two month promotion on an aggressive scale is of paramount importance to create all-round awareness amongst moviegoers.

But most producers run short of funds and seem to be in a tearing hurry to get the film off their shoulders. Backed by half-hearted or negligible promotion, a number of producers release their films without much research whatsoever, earnestly hoping that the word of mouth will take the film forward. But what if the word of mouth is negative?

We unabashedly lift stories from the West, but why don't we learn a lesson or two when it comes to marketing and releasing a film? Most Hollywood studios keep a substantial sum aside to promote and market a film, prior to its release. And the amount is, at times, at par with the film's entire production budget.

But some producers do understand the significance of promotion and marketing…

Take Subhash Ghai for instance. He knew that with minimal or no hype, IQBAL would come without a bang and leave without a whimper. The veteran started holding preview screenings for opinion makers [cricketers, painters, film directors] and important media persons exactly a month before IQBAL hit the marquee. Soon, there was a strong [and positive] buzz for the film even before the film opened at multiplexes.

Vashu Bhagnani is another producer one holds in high esteem. Irrespective of the fate of his films, the guy knows how to make noise once his film is complete. Can you ever forget the music launches of his films in an aircraft [OUT OF CONTROL], on a cruise [VAADA] and in a train [SHAADI NO. 1]? Not just that, the producer paints the entire city [literally!] with the logo of his film as the D day nears.

Even for the premiere of SHAADI NO. 1, Vashu has decided to decorate the entire multiplex and the road leading to it, with tons of flowers. He wants the venue to resemble a marriage mandap. Innovative yes, but that also shows how passionate Vashu is about his films!

Even the Jain brothers of Venus are leaving no stone unturned to promote their Diwali release GARAM MASALA. That this Priyadarshan-directed laughathon has fetched fantastic advances from exhibitors is proof enough that the project is red hot in the market.



MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR… 'WOE'

I am not surprised at the cold response meted out to MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH. The film was barely promoted prior to its release and came literally unannounced. If that wasn't enough, its release was timed during Ramzan and Navratri.

MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH is targeted at multiplexes and its release should've been backed by a two-month promotion at least. Ideally, UTV should've timed its release during the Diwali week -- its promotion would've been optimum by then and also, with the paying public thronging movieplexes in large numbers, the collections would've been much better.

A film like MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH would've co-existed with any of the Diwali biggies, since it's not the type that would cut into any film's business. On the contrary, there would've been a strong possibility of MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH getting the surplus crowds if the tickets for a biggie were unavailable. The 'overflow audience' [that's what we call it within the industry] would've only benefited MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH.



THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR

Weekend: October 8-10, 2004

Although BRIDE AND PREJUDICE met with mixed reactions from the British press, that didn't deter moviegoers from thronging the cinema halls in large numbers. Going by the opening weekend collections of Gurinder Chadha's latest film, the U.K. audiences embraced and welcomed the 'Bride' with love and affection.

In India, as expected, the English version of the film fared better than the Hindi version. Although the Hindi version did fetch a better opening than the two Hindi openers, SHUKRIYA and WAJAHH, one definitely expected BALLE BALLE [the dubbed version of BRIDE AND PREJUDICE] to open much better.

The weekend was less kind to the other two Hindi films, SHUKRIYA and WAJAHH; both having met with a cold response from moviegoers.

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