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Bizarre promotional strategies adopted by Bollywood film stars

With newcomer Sapna Pabbi planning to have 'midnight chats' with men to promote her erotic thriller 'Khamoshiyan', we take a look at instances when actors pushed the limits of creativity to an eccentric extent

Film promotions today are probably as important as the film itself. The need for visibility and the desire to generate curiosity around the film make stars and filmmakers adopt quirky promotional strategies.

Vidya Balan posed  as a beggar outside the Hyderabad railway station as part of the promotional strategy for Bobby Jasoos last year
Vidya Balan posed as a beggar outside the Hyderabad railway station as part of the promotional strategy for 'Bobby Jasoos' last year

The latest to join the quirky gang is Sapna Pabbi, who will make her debut with the upcoming film, 'Khamoshiyan'. She will be chatting with men post midnight on social networking sites. When asked about the kind of a midnight chat this will be, the source says, "The idea is to promote her upcoming film. As the film is an erotic thriller, the chat will be fun and flirtatious. However, the questions will be filtered."

hitlist looks at a few promotional strategies that made us cringe and laugh at the same time:

Sapna Pabbi
Sapna Pabbi will have a midnight chat with men to promote 'Khamoshiyan'

Paying attention?
A wannabe actor, Mohammad Akil Malik, slapped Gauahar Khan on the sets of the reality show 'India's Raw Star' recently. Although several fans and Bollywood celebrities took to social media supporting the actress, Malik later revealed that the entire act was staged and Khan had paid him and also promised him a role in 'Dabangg 3' if he helped her garner some attention.

Slap till you drop
Manisha Kumari, an aspiring actress and friend of starlet Rakhi Sawant, slapped director Sachindra Sharma publicly at the music launch of 'Mumbai Can Dance Saala' in the city. Reportedly, the director had failed to keep his promise of giving her a role in the film. Kumari alleges that she is a victim of the casting couch. Soon after Sharma was slapped, Rakhi escorted her friend out of the venue.

A-rated film in X-rated zone
In an unusual move, the theatrical trailer of Sunny Leone's 'Ragini MMS-2' was launched on various adult websites. When asked about this unusual promotional strategy, the makers said that they wanted to do something that has never been attempted before. This was the first time that the trailer of a mainstream Indian film was released on adult sites. The film's producers clearly cashed in on Leone's adult star status.

Sunny Leone’s wardrobe, especially her lingerie, was auctioned as part of the promotional strategy for Jism 2
Sunny Leone's wardrobe, especially her lingerie, was auctioned as part of the promotional strategy for 'Jism 2'

Spicing up superstitions
Bipasha Basu, who is being billed as the queen of horror films, promoted her 2012 film 'Raaz 3' by distributing neembu-mirchis (lemon and chillies) to the Mumbai autowallas. Well, whether the autowallas were able to ward off the evil eye or not we don't know, but going by the film's box office collections, it sure worked for Bips.

Bipasha Basu distributed neembu-mirchis (lemons and chillies) among autorickshaw drivers to promote Raaz 3
Bipasha Basu distributed neembu-mirchis (lemons and chillies) among autorickshaw drivers to promote 'Raaz 3'

Taking to the streets, literally
While promoting her film 'Bobby Jasoos', Vidya Balan dressed as a beggar and sat among the beggars outside Hyderabad Railway Station. Reportedly, a woman, unable to recognise the actress, scolded her for not working and taking the easy way out. Vidya also fooled Hrithik Roshan while he was shooting for his film in Mumbai and asked him for some money. The actor too didn't recognise her and was left confused.

Vidya Balan fooled many when she dressed up as a beggar during Bobby Jasoos promotions
Vidya Balan fooled many when she dressed up as a beggar during 'Bobby Jasoos' promotions

Be-witching act
The press conference for 'Ek Thi Daayan' looked like a scene out of a horror flick with the use of illusionary shadows, lizards and witch dolls hanging from trees. After the lead actor, Emraan Hashmi performed a few eerie acts, he was joined by the leading ladies — Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin and Konkona Sen Sharma who were dressed as witches.

The cast of Ek Thi Daayan at a press conference
The cast of 'Ek Thi Daayan' at a press conference

Never say 'no' to women
As part of promoting 'Ungli', Emraan Hashmi who plays the street-smart cop, Nikhil in the film, reportedly went around talking to auto drivers in the city asking them to never turn down women passengers.

The inside story
The makers of 'Jism 2' held an online auction of Sunny's wardrobe — especially her innerwear — as part of their promotional strategy. This was Sunny Leone's debut film in Bollywood. In addition to this, garments of the film's lead actors, Randeep Hooda and Arunoday Singh, were also auctioned.

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