Though there's no dearth of promotions for films, offlate, everything about Kannada cinema seems to be controversial. Be it the recently released Bheema Theeradalli, Dev, Son of Mudde Gowda and Anna Bond or yet to be released movies like, Katari Veera Surasundarangi, God father or Dandupalya. So far, every film has a controversy surrounding it before its release. Are they really that unfortunate or have we entered a new realm of marketing strategies altogether? City Express checks with a few directors, artistes and producers
from the industry.
The recent controversies with respect to the title of Dev Son of Mudde Gowda has agitated the Vokkaliga community. They complained that the filmmaker had criticised their community. But even then, it did not make any difference to the film. On the other hand, Indrajit Lankesh left no stone unturned promoting his film, Dev, Son of Mudde Gowda. But the film failed miserably at the box office. His glamorous touch of bringing actress, Charmee or Nathalia Kaur did not help the film either. In case of Bheema Theeradali, the film created a controversy with Ravi Baligere claiming that the story was stolen from his book Bheema Teerada Hantakaru. However, these claims were rubbished by director Om Prakash Rao who said that the film was completely fictional and had nothing to do with the book. Despite all this, the distributor suffered heavy losses amounting to `2 crores. Not only that, there was also a huge controversy around the title. “Controversy is a new trend of publicity. However, at the end of the day, it is a bad trend. People are not foolish. It is all a part of a highly staged publicity stunt. Whatever may be the case, the content is always the king. Good films like Titanic that released in 3D ran full houses. We can only take the horse to water. What if the water is not good and it doesn't wish to drink it. People think several times before they watch a particular film. Controversies will not lead anywhere. It will be just a Friday release and by Saturday the movie will fall flat," says Lankesh.
Producer Munirathna, whose film Katari Veera is in news every other day, says, "There was a time, when we used to put two ads in a few papers and the film would be released. But today, we can't escape the media attention nor avoid them. But I never expected such a controversy to arise with my film, Katari Veera. This is definitely not a good sign," he says.
However this wasn't the case with A Suresh, producer of a small budget film, Govindaya Namaha who said that controversies usually arise only in star films. "We are treating cinema like politics. Gossip is fine but any movie controversy should be worth fighting for. People need entertainment, after all," he says. While director Pawan Wodeyar feels that it is high time people stop fighting in public. “It is not doing any good to the Kannada industry. This sort of advertising is never an advantage to any film. For instance, my film got publicity with only one song. There should be some special element that will create news."
However, Pooja Gandhi, feels that Kannada film industry is opening up. Shedding some light on the whole issue, the actress adds,"We are experimenting with new subjects. So controversies are bound to happen before or after release. If it is good work, people will talk about it. Take the case of my next release, Dandupalya. Watch the film and form an opinion for yourself. One should not criticise without knowing the facts.”
Prem, who had to face controversies with his last couple of films, says, "It is definitely not good for the industry. People will stop going to the theatre altogether. The whole mentality of why go and watch the film when we can find out more about it on TV. As a team, we should talk positive about the film. Though, it does affect the main stream hero, the team too earns a bad name. We should give our movie goers a positive message. Fighting everyday in public is definitely not the right kind of publicity.”