Rewind 2011: Marketing in Bollywood

Rewind 2011: Marketing in Bollywood

From No One Killed Jessica to The Dirty Picture, 2011 has been quite a roller-coaster ride, with few hits and many misses in Bollywood’s kitty. Be it mega budget dream projects or small budget surprises, marketing played a significant fate decider. Now-a-days film promotions are planned more effectively than earlier and they have become inevitable in Bollywood. It all started with celebs connecting with their fans through reality shows and 2011 went a little ahead by moving film promotions to railway stations and shopping malls where stars hopped tirelessly. Though every movie had their share of pre-release and post-release promotional activities depending on their budget structures, two legendary case studies of movie marketing in 2011 were Ra.One and The Dirty Picture. If one film’s over the top promotion worked against it bitterly, the other’s interesting promotional campaigns wonderfully worked in its favor.


criticleo-ra-one-wallpaperThe story goes back to May-June 2011 (I guess) when it was rumored that SRK’s much desired dream project will hit the screens as a Diwali present to the Hindustan. August – October was the focal period to desperately promote Ra.One. Shahrukh all of a sudden became ubiquitous, be it on the small screen or on local trains. You could find him anywhere.

SRK invested all possible efforts of marketing. From selling Ra.One’s merchandize to doing the Chammak Challo step as and when possible, he made sure that Ra.One doesn’t disappear from audiences mind.

These extreme attempts raised the expectations of the audiences and resulted in high curiosity among Bollywood circles and critics. The result is a bitter truth. Critics and audiences panned the movie without a second thought. And the badshah couldn’t retain his earlier sheen either. I think this unhealthy reception of Ra.One might even affect this year’s last big release Don 2. And even as Don 2 is slated for this Friday’s release, I see neither SRK nor Priyanka on the small screen. Farhan Akthar is playing safe, I guess!

The Dirty Picture

Remember how the NEGATIVE stamp works in favor for Jordan aka JJ in Rockstar? Somewhat similar happened here. Be it the title of the movie or the movie’s wallpapers, Vidya’s attire or the portrayal of the 80’s sensation Silk Smitha, certain section of the audiences found them offensive. Controversies sprouted with regard to the amount of sleaze and Ekta and co. fueled them with their aggressive marketing campaigns which left a mark of Silk everywhere possible.  Note: Aggressive marketing, not desperate promotions.

criticleo-the-dirty-pictureDuring all this, Vidya well managed her outdoor and onscreen appearances and truly lived up to the character of Silk. Though the back-to-back TV appearances of Ms. Balan were boring, they did their job of bringing maximum audiences to the cinemas. Even its Telugu dubbed version was very well received in Andhra Pradesh which rarely happens.

Thanks to Vidya whose gutsy performance made the movie a talk of the town. And unlike Ra.One, The Dirty Picture was beyond the expectations of many audiences. People came out saying that the movie wasn’t about sleaze but it was just a dirty reality.

In my understanding, these were the two extremes of marketing in 2011: Desperate v/s Aggressive. Hope producers play safe and smart in 2012. After all, SRK left behind a very big learning lesson.

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  1. See how much you can learn from others mistake. A great comparison. Though I think DP picture needed better editing. But, it was a good movie. My learning from that is success should never get into your head.

    For RA 1- I am wise enough to know which movies to watch.

  2. a very true information indeed. Ra 1 should still be appreciated and SRK be for the technical aspects inside the movie. SRK made it happen with his own company Red Chillies Ent. but yes the way it was promoted will be remembered and the way it got critics and people’s reviews were also justified.

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