Salman Khan cycling on Mumbai streets; social responsibility or promotional gimmick for Tubelight?
Salman Khan's 2017 Eid release Tubelight is just about to hit the screens and the actor is making sure that he does not leave any stone unturned while promoting it. The actor is known for resorting to extreme marketing strategies before his releases. The image of a chirpy Khan selling tickets to his 2009 film London Dreams, at a Mumbai theater is still fresh in memories. 8 years and a few films later, the actor surprises us again.
Khan was recently seen riding a bicycle on the roads of Mumbai, wearing a sweatshirt with Tubelight embossed on it. He even uploaded the video on Facebook and needless to say, it went viral in no time.
The video comes after the launch of e-cycles under his Being Human brand. Khan had earlier told IANS that he felt it was time to give back to the audiences the love he has received from them over the years. Khan had mentioned that his fans pay to watch his films and these e-cycles are his way of reciprocating the love. Never mind that these cycles are priced between Rs 40,000-57,000. These cycles better make us meet God. Khan has been aggressively advertising these cycles with his boy gang, consisting of Sohail Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala, too.
It will be interesting to see the reactions of the same people, who were peeping out of auto-rickshaws to catch a glimpse of the actor, to the price of these e-cycles. Khan clearly has some misconceptions about the socio-economic strata of his fans but, hey, it is the thought that counts.
Coming back to the video, Khan is followed by a cameraman who diligently shoots his cycling sequence. Two men can also be seen escorting him on a bike, keeping a watchful eye around. The general public is clearly perplexed on watching the megastar stroll around the city so casually. People were quick to capture the rare moment with their phones as Khan waved to them while riding the bicycle. It's clear that Khan is a people's actor although, we still hope everyone made it to their destination safe.
An important question that needs to be asked is, is it safe for stars to go out of their way to promote a film, given how emotionally charged the people of India get when stars like Salman and Shah Rukh Khan are mentioned? This incident brings back the memories of Shah Rukh's aggressive promotional strategy for his 2017 film Raees which ended in the death of an innocent man. In a bid to connect with the common masses, Shah Rukh thought it was a great idea to undertake a train journey from Mumbai to Vadodara, which it was.
It was great only until he underestimated the mass hysteria which surrounds the idea of Shah Rukh Khan, forget the person. He also over-estimated the power of the police force, who got injured while managing a crowd of 15000 people after the train hit the brakes at Vadodara railway station. Fahreed Khan Pathan died of a heart attack after there was a stampede at the railway station. Although Salman's cycling stunt was a much smaller event, it still leaves the question of inadequate safety measures hanging.
Therefore, promotional gimmicks are necessary for awareness, but things do not seem as simple as a star riding a cycle on the streets of Mumbai in hindsight. About the purpose of Khan taking to the streets to ride a cycle, we are not sure if it was for the film or the environment since he has been involved in the infamous blackbuck and Chinkara poaching cases. For whatever it's worth, you can watch the video of Khan riding but not pedaling the bicycle here: