New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) From reading news on a TV channel, launching a nationwide hunt for unsung heroes or travelling to different parts of the country in disguise - Bollywood celebrities are leaving no stone unturned to promote their films.
The recent example of such endeavours brings to mind perfectionist Aamir Khan who embarked on a two-week country tour called 'Bharat Darshan' in different get-ups as part of his unique way of promoting his latest outing '3 Idiots'.
'For stars it often gets difficult to connect with the audiences on ground and that's why I went everywhere in disguise so that they don't recognise me and I can connect with them,' Aamir had said after his promotional tour.
'This journey was very fruitful for me because I got a chance to have a closer look at my country, fans and people overall which wouldn't have been possible otherwise,' he added.
The actor also created a secret identity on social networking website Facebook to connect with the audiences. The result was '3 Idiots' has been declared the biggest hit of the year and grossed around Rs.100 crore (Rs.1 billion) worldwide in the first four days.
Apparently this is not the first time the actor has opted for such a strategy in order to gain momentum and create buzz for a film. Last year, he even turned barber for his fans to promote his blockbuster hit 'Ghajini', offering people his 'Ghajini' haircut.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan who plays the role of media magnate Vijay Harshwardhan Mallik in forthcoming movie 'Rann' also innovated with methods of film promotion and appeared on a TV channel to do a year-end news roundup, while director Ram Gopal Verma launched a 10-page daily newspaper called Rann Times as a way of promoting the same film.
'Good marketing has produced good results at the box office. That old belief that the merit of the film shall eventually emerge victorious has long since been overridden. By the time you wait for the merit to show its face, five other films have shown their merits,' Amitabh had posted on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.
Film critic Omar Qureshi said that such marketing tactics are also indispensable for a movie to work.
'This is actually a Hollywood trend where the marketing of a movie costs almost the same as its budget. It's everything for a movie. Such activities (celebrity participation, etc) are going to get your initial hype and initial footfalls. Then the audience in the first week will decide whether the movie is a rocket or a dud,' Qureshi told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Superstar Salman Khan didn't stay behind and followed Aamir and launched a nationwide hunt for unsung heroes on his 44th birthday Dec 27 to connect with the masses and also promote his forthcoming period film 'Veer'.
The hunt - for young men and women who have performed heroic deeds which the nation doesn't know about - is also an effort by the actor in bridge-building and improving his image.
'Lately Salman has been going out of his way to connect with the masses. The idea to launch a contest on his birthday to search for unrecognised heroes came from Aamir Khan's recent connect-with-masses Bharat Darshan which he undertook as part of the promotion for '3 Idiots',' a source close to the actor had told IANS.
'People close to Salman advised him to find a similar point of connectivity with the common man for 'Veer',' the source added.
Earlier even actor Abhishek Bachchan tried his hand at the fad when he broke the Guinness world record for maximum public appearances in 12 hours, while promoting his 2008 dud 'Delhi-6'.
(Robin Bansal can be contacted at [email protected])