With the government implementing a ban on flexes and posters Sandalwood’s chances to promote their work has reduced. As a result, this year the Kannada industry embraced digital platforms. In an age where a large chunk of the budget is dedicated to promotions, films have had no choice but to depend on social media to spread word about their work. Whether the magnum opus KGF or new-age film Gultoo, filmmakers have taken to social media —Twitter, Facebook and Instagram— to promote their films. Filmmakers tell CE on the changing dynamic of movie promotions.
While the logo and poster did that first talking for Suri’s directorial Tagaru, which saw a successful 100-day run, Rishab Shetty points out that compared to KGF and Tagaru, his film Sa Hi Pra Shaale didn’t have an acclaimed cast and crew. “Just the poster and trailer was enough for people to get interested in watching the film. In case of Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shaale: Koduge Ramanna Rai, even after we released the first song, ‘Dadda’, the title didn’t catch on, probably because it was too long. But what worked in our favour were songs that were catchy, which we released at regular intervals,” says Rishab.
However, Suri is quick to point out that a film’s foundation is all that matters. “A film is a product of its people. An honest approach without expectations is the best way to promote a film,” he says.
Rishab practically says that the choice of content, which has the potential to go viral is the key to a film’s success. “Viewers will watch films if they are able to connect with the very title. Reaching out to them is a challenge. Which is why it’s important to have interesting content put out in a manner that is catchy. Even a single one-liner could work wonders,”says the director, adding, “Ten years ago, a cinema ad in print media was the biggest publicity, however, today, it’s a different ball game. Now, every individual is his/her own publicist.”
Whether it is director Puttana Kanagal, Bala, the Tamil film director, Upendra or Ravichandran, all of them have shown how the right kind of publicity can go a long way in a film’s success. ”Films like Nagarahavu, Premaloka or Upendra’s A or now KGF have set a benchmark for other films and filmmakers. Without the right kind of marketing, none of these products could have been sold,” Suri says.
Rishab says today, phones are constantly buzzing with trailers, teasers and posters of various cinemas.
“There are millions of subscribers and viewers, but the people who actually comment are those who are interested in watching the films,” says the director and producer, who still misses the traditional method of publicity. “I miss the paper ads, the colour sheets that would appear every Friday. I also miss the posters. Though the initiative taken by the government is to keep the city clean, I still see the cut-outs of politicians. The rules are only for cinema. Turnover from the film industry is in crores, so I feel we have the right to ask for promotional space. All we want is a space to talk about our work,” he says.
Nowadays, promotion is as important as your film’s script, says Tharun Sudhir, one of the producers, screenplay writer and creative head for Rambo 2 and storywriter of Victory sequel. “We started with a good presentation, which was important and the poster connected with the audience, who felt that it would not be a regular film. Secondly, songs played a big role for both the films. Whether it was Dum Maro Dum, Yava Yava Yava or Chuttu Chuttu, the graph went upwards with each track. And so was the case with Victory sequel and it worked,” adds Tharun.
For the filmmaker, it started with Rambo part 1, which was released a decade ago. “The right kind of promotions will help the audience have some idea about the script. Like they say, Jo diktha hai woh biktha hai - you will only pick things, which you know or which you have seen. If you want to keep it as a secret, how will somebody know about the product? Have a good content and a story, promotion is as important as that.”