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Promotions and success of films go hand in hand, says Kannada film industry

This year saw Kannada filmmakers take to social media in order to market their films

Published: 31st December 2018

The Karnataka government implemented a ban on flexes and posters this year. As a result, the filmmakers embraced digital platforms as a means to promote their projects. In an age where a large chunk of the budget is dedicated to promotions, makers have had no choice but to depend on social media to spread word about their work. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were used to promote films of all shapes and sizes, whether they were big-budget projects like KGF or a small new age film like Gultoo. Here, we talk to people in the industry about the changing dynamic of film promotions.

Rishab Shetty points out that compared to KGF and Tagaru, which saw a successful 100-day run, his film Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shaale: Koduge Ramanna Rai didn’t have an acclaimed cast and crew. “Just the poster and trailer were enough for people to get interested in the film. 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,” he adds.

However, Suri, director of Tagaru, 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 believes that the choice of content is 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 their own publicist.”

Whether it is director Puttana Kanagal, Upendra or Ravichandran, all of them have shown how the right kind of publicity can go a long way towards ensuring 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 films. “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.”

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. The same was the case with the Victory sequel and it worked,” he adds. For the filmmaker, it started with Rambo, 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 a secret, how will somebody know about the product? Promotion is as important as having good content.”

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