“But some of the utterances at the time of the interviews for the promotion of PINK have been quite a task and one that brings back not just the film but also the efforts made to make it the way it has been made ..” (DAY - 3077)
Sir, so many interviews and answering the same questions again and again from reporters representing different papers and channels, must ‘have been quite a task’, there can be no doubt about it. But because of your stature and status as the megastar of the century, and of course, the most respected and revered from the film fraternity, still saves you from the weird acts so many other stars have to perform to promote their movies, as Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer of your film “Wazir” put it: “Today, it is like a trend that to promote a film, you have to dance in malls. Otherwise people would barely notice that the film is going to release. But from where we come, I feel weird to ask Mr. Bachchan to do promotion in this manner. I can’t make him dance in public place for the sake of promotion of my film.”
Answering a question from an interviewer, Anurag Kashyap was also critical of present day trend of promoting films: “There was a time when we made films and talked about them after they came out. I don’t understand this obsession about wanting to know everything about a film even before it has started shooting! A film becomes a film after it is made. We made better films when there was no media, no buzz. There was an element of surprise, we went in with all the wonder in our eyes. Film promotion and publicity has happened in the last 10 years. It is like a bazaar out there with everybody shouting ‘look at me! Look at me!’ It is a necessary evil of the times, but I still hate it.”
Sir, the new trend of involving stars for promoting movies is not confined to Indian
actors only, even Hollywood stars are also sailing in the same boat, even some of them are against it and openly put their foot down not to follow the practice:
Mo’Nique (Precious): When Lee Daniels wanted Mo’Nique to take to social networks like Instagram and Twitter to promote the 2009 film Precious, she flat out refused. It would seem that her pay check of $50,000 had something to do with it. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Mo’Nique stated, “When you work Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week, and then your boss calls you up and says we need you to come in on Saturday and work for ten hours, do you do that for free?” All Right, well no…but I also don’t get paid $50,000 for a few month’s work or win fancy golden statues! Five years after winning the Academy Award for her role for Best Supporting Actress, Mo’Nique told a reporter that she felt Daniels had sabotaged her career. “I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago. And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ And I said, ‘I’ve been blackballed? Why have I been blackballed?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’ And I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ And he gave me no response.” Guess it pays in the long run to support your director!
Sir, the history of film promotion seems to run in fascinating parallel to the history of film, not just reflecting the evolution of the new medium but urging it on and expanding its reach, especially by focusing on stars, something the earliest advertisements did not do. At first the movies were a novelty that promoted themselves: Alam Ara (Ardeshir Irani, 1931): The first Indian 'talkie', a period fantasy starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Master Vithal and Zubeida. On the day of its release, surging crowds started gathering near the Majestic cinema in Mumbai right from early morning. The booking office was literally stormed by jostling mobs to secure tickets and all traffic was jammed on the roads leading to the theatre. For weeks together the tickets were sold out and the mad rush to watch the first talking film continued till more movies came in. The Bombay Chronicle (April 2, 1931) noted that the film has shown that with due restraint and thoughtful direction, the players could by their significant acting and speech evolve dramatic values to which the silent cinema cannot possibly aspire. Inspired by Universal's Melody Of Love, the whole plot is a string to tie together the numerous songs and dances which became a mandatory feature of Hindi cinema. Alam Ara will always be remembered as the film that ushered in the era of sound films in India.
Even the earliest posters emphasize the act of moviegoing itself, showing rapturous audiences in front of giant screens. But as the novelty wore off, what saved the movies as a commercial entertainment was the gradual introduction of prominently displaying the names of the pioneer icon moviemakers like V. Shantaram, Mehboob, Sohrab Modi and Vijay Bhatt. As the actors in their films became popular, their colorful pictures covered the posters, placed at prominent crossings and milestones in big cities. Then came the time of trailers, which remained till date a mainstay of film promotion, because they are delivered directly to movie-goers. They screen in theatres before movie showings. Generally they tell the story of the movie in a highly condensed fashion compressing maximum appeal into two and half minutes. Much later, hardly two decades ago, came the new trend of entrusting promotion responsibility to stars. I’m sure, sir, stars like you who have seen the earlier phase of promotional activity as well going through the present one, must be missing their freedom after finishing shooting a movie, not being bothered with additional calling by the producer for promoting the movie with whatever way he would want it to be done.
With best wishes for PINK