From Aaranya Kaandam to Sarkar, publicity designer Gopi Prasanna on film posters and their impact in multiplex era
Gopi Prasanna opens up on his journey as a publicity designer, the importance of posters in the multiplex era and creating an impression with his work.
In modern-day film promotion, posters hold a vital place in creating the right expectations from audiences. What should a film poster convey and what it shouldn’t? Well-known publicity designer Gopi Prasanna, who has been part of widely popular Tamil films such as Aaranya Kaandam, OK Kanmani, Kaththi, Vivegam and Sarkar among others, is of the opinion that the first-look poster of a film can seal its fate among audiences and it takes more than just attractive posters to create an impact. In this exclusive chat with Firstpost, Gopi opens up on his journey as a publicity designer, the importance of posters in the multiplex era and creating an impression with his work.
After dabbling with multiple careers in programming, gaming, advertising and branding, Gopi is enjoying his current stint as a publicity designer. With 30 odd films to his credit so far and over a dozen more currently in his kitty, Gopi enjoys reinventing and exploring a new canvas every five years. “Right now, I’m enjoying this phase — creating posters. Each project is giving me the opportunity to explore something new and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience,” said Gopi, whose career as a publicity designer started with National award-winning Tamil film Aaranya Kaandam, and since then there’s been no looking back. “When I worked on Aaranya Kaandam, I was just helping out director Thiagarajan Kumararaja, who happens to be my friend. I didn’t expect the film to open a new door for me. My work in the film got noticed, and even today people remember the posters that really stood out. Soon after, offers started pouring in, but I’m very choosy about the projects I choose.”
Talking about the impact of film posters in the multiplex era where the shelf life of a film is reduced to days, Gopi says the first impression of a film is created the minute its first poster comes out. “Publicity design as a vertical gained more prominence in today’s multiplex era. The promotions of a film start the minute its first poster is released. Thanks to multiplexes and social media, film posters are getting a lot of attention and, therefore, there’s tremendous pressure to deliver something unique. When I’m working on a star’s film, I get messages constantly from fans and it puts me under a lot of pressure. At the same time, it also makes me push the envelope. Once the poster comes out and if the fans love it, the way they celebrate it makes the whole experience worth it.”
Gopi says the most challenging aspect of creating posters is about cracking a unique design which can be easily adapted to any other medium. “For OK Kanmani, the first poster had a painting finish and that was a design that we had to continue for all the posters of the film. Likewise, we used the collage style to create the first look of Vijay’s Kaththi, and it had to be suitable to be adapted to other mediums as well.”
Admitting that working with different filmmakers with different sensibilities is challenging, Gopi said: “What works for one director doesn’t work for the other. When I worked with Mani (Ratnam) sir for the first time in OK Kanmani, it took me a while to understand what really he wants. When we collaborated the second time, the working experience was much easier as I’d cracked what works with him the first time. The same applies to Murugadoss as well when we worked together in Kaththi. The second time with him in Sarkar has been fun.”
Apart from Sarkar, which is easily the most anticipated upcoming Tamil film, Gopi also has films such as 96, Super Deluxe, Sandakozhi 2, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, Sivakarthikeyan’s science-fiction film and Suriya’s next yet-untitled project with Sudha Kongara.
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