Bollywood goes smart with film promotions on the digital platform

Updated: 02 February, 2016 09:33 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham |

Bollywood stars are smartly cashing in on the digital boom to promote their movies in various innovative ways. Using Dubsmash, half selfies among other things they are using new means to reach a wider audience

A good script or a brilliant performance can no longer guarantee a hit at the box office. It’s all about timing and a perfect strategy to stay on top of the game. The key is to create enough curiosity and buzz to drag the viewers to the theatres and spend that Rs 400 on a movie ticket.

Sonam Kapoor performs the hook step from the title track of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which became a rage on social media
Sonam Kapoor performs the hook step from the title track of 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo', which became a rage on social media

Advancement in technology, especially in the online media, is providing filmmakers, producers and actors with newer tools to reach out to a wider audience. Gone are the days when each Friday one had to browse through the morning newspaper to figure out what movie to catch that week.

Shah Rukh and Salman perform on Dubsmash videos
Shah Rukh and Salman perform on Dubsmash videos

Every big budget movie that’s hit the market now allots a bigger budget for the promotion of their film than the amount they spent on making it. Considering it is a cut-throat business, every one in the film industry is trying to grab the audience’s attention desperately. 

Helen and Waheeda Rehman dance on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Helen and Waheeda Rehman dance on 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo'

'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo', the upcoming film starring Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, has already got everyone grooving to the title track. Sonam’s dance moves have become a rage; in fact fellow actors like Sonakshi Sinha, Sridevi, Shilpa Shetty, Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Richa Chadda have been seen emulating her steps on videos posted on Twitter and Dubsmash. But the real treat was watching Helen and Waheeda Rehman putting their dancing shoes on for the same. (Click here to watch Helen, Waheeda Rehman's 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' Dubsmash)

Dubsmash going viral
A few days back, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon uploaded a Dubsmash video of them dancing to 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo'. To return the favour, Salman and Sonam were seen grooving to SRK and Kajol's 1995 hit Dilwale Duhaniya Le Jayenge’s popular song Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam. Sonam and Salman extensively used Instagram to promote their film. The actress also asked her fans to make videos grooving to the title song and send it to her, which she reposted through her Insta account. (Prem Dilwala to Raj Dilwale: Watch SRK and Salman's bromance)

Half selfies
Shah Rukh’s PR team devised a plan to twist the selfies. They uploaded the first look of 'Dilwale' as a half selfie on Twitter. So you have Kajol, SRK, Varun and Kriti posing with half their faces covered. The trend has already kicked in as fans have now begun promoting the half-selfie craze.

Dilwale's team poses for the half-selfie look
Dilwale's team poses for the half-selfie look

Peripheral view
Ajay Devgn came up with a promotion strategy even before his film 'Shivaay' released. The actor broadcasted the first day of shoot from the set with the help of the new app, called Periscope on November 7, 2015. Launched by Twitter, it allows the audience to see what is happening live at a far-off venue via connecting to their phones and laptop. Ajay also live- broadcasted the music launch of 'Drishyam' on Twitter. Shah Rukh used this feature to interact with his fans on his birthday from his home Mannat. Ranveer Singh used Periscope to launch the first poster of 'Bajirao Mastani' worldwide in real time. Incidentally, Ajay had earlier released the muhurat of his film 'Himmatwala' on YouTube Challenges. (Click here to read: Mahurat of Ajay Devgn's 'Shivaay' to be broadcast live for audiences)

The first look of Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay
The first look of Ajay Devgn’s 'Shivaay'

The muhurat shot of Ajay Devgn's 'Shivaay'
The muhurat shot of Ajay Devgn's 'Shivaay'

Priyanka Chopra completes Hrithik Roshan’s Bang Bang dare
Priyanka Chopra completes Hrithik Roshan’s 'Bang Bang' dare

Ranveer Singh completes his Bang Bang dare
Ranveer Singh completes his 'Bang Bang' dare

During the promotional period of Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif’s 'Bang Bang', the actor, inspired from the #IceBucketChallenge, gave dares to his friends from the industry. He challenged Priyanka to do a handstand with three push ups in heels. He then asked Ranveer to dance on the road without his security or bodyguards. He challenged Shah Rukh to showcase his favourite exercise for his abs. All the stars took it in their stride and completed the challenges and posted the videos on Twitter.

First teasers and promos
For the longest time, we caught the first looks and promos of movies on TV or sometimes just before watching a movie in theatres. Stars made things interesting by launching their first looks and film teasers on YouTube, Facebook and on Twitter. From '3 Idiots', 'PK', 'Tanu Weds Manu 2', 'Dilwale', 'Bajirao Mastani', and 'Fan'. Priyanka Chopra even launched the first promo of her international show 'Quantico' on Twitter and Facebook. That’s not all; the first episode of Amitabh Bachchan’s first fiction show was partially aired on social networking sites. Recently, Anil Kapoor did the same with the poster launch of his telly series, '24' season 2.

Priyanka Chopra posts a selfie from the 'Quantico' set
Priyanka Chopra posts a selfie from the 'Quantico' set

In languages
Technology has the made the world quite small. Popular Telugu film 'Baahubali' was the first to use Telugu hashtags. The makers of the magnum opus used social networking sites to talk about the film, interactions, trailers and much more. SS Rajamouli tweeted in Telugu to engage audiences from the South.

Making and bloopers
Nowadays no aspect of filmmaking is sacred or secretive. Earlier, we saw the bloopers or the making of a movie only when DVDs were released and it came as part of the package. Now, stars have started using YouTube for the making of every song, action and romantic scenes, bloopers and even promotional gimmicks before the release of the film.

Shah Rukh Khan tries his hand at the Facebook Mentions' app
Shah Rukh Khan tries his hand at the Facebook Mentions' app

Mentions and Q&As
While social networking sites are a strategic tool used for films promotion, several stars use this to increase their brand value. It's not uncommon to see stars use Twitter and Facebook for chats with fans and for a Q and A session with fans worldwide. Shah Rukh was the in fact the first one to use the Facebook Mentions app which helped King Khan to upload his video from the sets of his film 'Fan'. The app, which is open only to celebrities with verified accounts, helps them interact with fans through live video streaming. Within 24 hours of uploading SRK’s video, the Facebook post received about 1.2 million views.

Hidden talents on display

For some, social media proved to be the perfect platform to show off their best hidden talents.

Shirish Kunder

Shirish Kunder, who is known for his film editing skills in B-Town, showcased his witty and funny side on Twitter. He often uses the current scenario in politics or society and presents it with a witty line. His recent tweets:
1. Today's Chanakya is Tomorrow's Sheikh Chilli.
2. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo will soon release. But what about ‘Modi Kaala Dhan Layo’?
3. Enough with these empty words. Stop just saying, ‘Go to Pakistan!' Also send tickets and visa. Thanks.

Vikram Bhatt

Vikram Bhatt is a well known filmmaker, who has given several average hits at the box office. However, we discovered his real talent on Twitter where he shares a short story. No wonder the director has been signed by HarperCollins to write a book of short stories. Vikram writes one story every morning, and has written about 109 stories about love, marital abuse, murder and horror.

Baba Sehgal

Baba Sehgal used Twitter to relaunch himself as a rapper. After giving India its first taste of rap, the singer was lost. Some of his latest rap tweets are downright hilarious and quite cute.
1. Intention meri saaf hai, zoo mein giraffe hai, kahin pauva kahin half hai, baby u didn't know ki knee key neechey calf hai?
2. Eat dosa eat samosa, don't break anybody's bharosa.

Bhumi Pednekar

Heavyweight Bhumi Pednekar (Dum Laga Ke Haisha) decided to lose weight, but also decided to promote herself in the bargain. She smartly chose Twitter to share her diet plan with fans.

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First Published: 15 November, 2015 07:35 IST

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