You are here:

The big mad circus of Bollywood publicity

There was a story my grandmother used to tell me as a child about a disbelieving Hiranyakashipu, who didn’t agree that Vishnu was present inside everything, so Vishnu emerged from a pillar to basically "Bitch, please" him.

During the promotions of Chennai Express, Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone achieved what can be called a similar kind of omnipresence. Like dust motes, the Tasmanian Devil, or the hives you get after you accidentally ingest the prawns that you’re allergic to...they were everywhere. In fact, when I’d gone to catch a preview show of the movie at PVR Juhu, I casually pointed at the next screen and said to my friend , “I bet SRK is in there, listening to people trash his movie , casually crossing them off the heavenly roster.” And lo and behold, his perfectly coiffed head emerged from the theatre, flanked by bodyguards and screaming fans , and a hand stretched out to wave a post-dated Rs 200 crore cheque at his naysayers.

Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

No doubt that very cheque is proof that channeling a mythological character has worked for SRK, as it has for many of his peers in the past. For the last few years, movie stars have very aggressively taken to appearing on TV shows to promote their upcoming releases , going so far as to force themselves into plotlines as wedding guests, talent show judges, wisdom-spewing Gurus and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

As if that wasn’t enough, the new trend in the market is movie stars doing TV shows appearing on other TV shows to promote their TV shows. So we had Salman Khan emerging on a bike from Karan Johar’s belly button to promote Bigg Boss Saath on Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa . The same show also saw Anil Kapoor transform from werewolf to person for 24, after which he proceeded to woo Madhuri Dixit, Twilight style.

Bollywood, which has already taken over most forms of cinema and cricket, now seems to be threatening an utter and complete invasion of TV as well. Soon all shows will just be stars promoting movies, and movies will be stars promoting TV shows, and TV shows will promote other TV shows and movies will promote other movies and we’ll find ourselves trapped in an entertainment limbo, which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t the same as an entertainment limbu and therefore probably not a good thing.

While any product also needs to be backed by strong marketing for it to be noticed, there’s a subtle difference between letting the audience know that you have something they might be interested in, and writing it across the sky using Bappi Lahiri’s jewellery. That’s where strategy comes in, something that all the movie marketing moguls we know seemed to have mistaken for, “Arrey woh Kaun Banega Mere Crorepati ka Pati serial main bhej de heroine ko yaar, she can be Inspector Daya...what do you mean, that’s a man?!?! ”

Pretty soon, stars will do guest appearances in the Parliament and smartly get caught in scams worth a squillion rupees a week before their film’s release, but that is only until they take over the government itself and decree that everyone will have to watch ALL movies. Then one day, Shahrukh Khan will be declared an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and you won’t be able to say a single word against the vaunted Hindi film industry...because Bhai will be watching.

So start recording all the HD episodes of Breaking Bad you can find, people, because I’m telling you, the end is nigh.