Hard Knocks: Do movies need so much hype?

24 Oct,2011

By Anil Thakraney

There are two things I will do this Diwali for sure. One is to try my best to make my house soundproof in order to escape the deafening cracker explosions. And two, avoid the other mega explosion: Mr Shahrukh Khan. The man is leaping out at you from every single media vehicle, whether it’s old media or new media. I even fear going to the loo these days, the star may creep up on me there too.

On a serious note, I wonder if the carpet bombing of the media that SRK and some other producers do really makes a difference to a movie’s fortunes. Khan has, of course, gone ballistic in his marketing and has even done brand promo tie-ups, gaming, merchandise… the works. Not to speak of the PR machinery on overdrive. I am not sure how much the marketing budget for ‘Ra One’ is, but it would be safe to assume it’s at least 30% of the cost of the film, and that’s many serious crores of expenditure. When you consider ‘Rang De Basanti’ scored big with zero marketing and SRK’s own ‘Chak De, India’ made no noise and still went on to be a big hit, you wonder if movie makers are wasting their money. It’s Diwali, a long holiday weekend, and there’s no reason why the janta won’t fill up the multiplexes anyway, especially with Shah Rukh in the house.

There’s another thing: This level of marketing raises expectations to dizzying heights. And if the movie doesn’t live up to those, it comes crashing down even harder. Recall some of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s more recent films. As it’s often said, nothing kills a bad product faster than brilliant marketing. So perhaps it makes sense to cut out the marketing expenditure, and invest it into the film’s production. Keep the expectations low, and then surprise and delight the audiences with great cinema. Guess SRK is destined to learn this lesson at a huge price.

As for me, this 360 degree blast for ‘Ra One’ ensures I keep 180 degrees away from the multiplexes. I can only handle that much noise. Good luck to SRK!




PS: One media ‘innovation’ I totally detest is the half-page cutout ads in the newspapers. Where the front page of the newspaper arrives half. This makes it very unwieldy and painful to hold the newspaper. Perhaps the new press council head, Mr Katju, should clamp down on this malpractice. Paid news I can live with (it’s easy to smell it out). But not deformed newspapers that are a struggle to deal with.

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One response to “Hard Knocks: Do movies need so much hype?”

  1. Myaxzczx says:

    i totally agree with you about the half page cut out ads. cannot manage to hold the paper… i just tend to remove that page altogether!