Movies are usually promoted in multiple ways. A 150 second official trailer is one of them. A trailer is (normally) supposed to inform the moviegoer what a movie contains, a brief storyline, some punching dialogues, a song that’s among the chartbusters. These 150-odd seconds should attract the viewer to watch the movie when it’s released - a crucial moment of truth for the movie. Having a popular actor or successful director or sequel to a successful movie has its own pull factor. For example, a Salman Khan / Shahrukh Khan movie will be watched by his loyalists irrespective of the trailer / songs / storyline etc. Director Rohit Shetty ensures his movie is full of entertainment and car chases. A Dhoom series will be watched despite what you think of it.
Once in a while comes a movie that goes against the norms of movie promotion. So much so that the movie will be released in a few days’ time and we still don’t know for sure what this movie is all about. I am, of course, talking about “PK”. The movie posters don’t reveal much. The movie trailer is more intriguing than the posters. These touch-points confuse more than convince. We have no idea of the story, no idea of the genre, hardly any concrete information on key characters. Initially, there were rumours that “PK” is about god-men and then about Aamir Khan’s character as an alien.
“PK” team has gone for teaser campaigns to promote their product. The beauty about teaser campaign is that it will keep on testing the viewers, make them think. Maybe PK will be the name of Aamir Khan’s character, we don’t know for sure. Aamir Khan’s character appears to be very curious about everything that’s happening around him (Ranchordas from 3 Idiots, anyone?). He goes against the society norms, wears almost comical outfits. We already have many theories regarding “PK” based on the poster background, Aamir Khan’s attire, his wide open eyes, his exposed ears, the transistor et al. People are talking and now it has reached a stage that they want to watch what the movie is all about. Curiosity kills the cat, they say. And till now, “PK” has succeeded to do what they wanted.
But teaser campaigns are a double edged sword. It’s a high risk, high reward game. The teasers will involve viewers like no other promotional channels. But the climax has to live up to the teasers. And the team, led by Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, knows that this is a huge gamble. And that’s where the problem lies with “PK”. The critical success / failure depends on the climax now, which is the movie itself. The climax should be at least as good as, if not better than, the promotions. And even if it’s slightly less exciting, the same people who are talking about it and are part of the viral marketing campaign, will go against you.
After all the intrigue, “PK” now has to deliver and deliver big. A product of Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Aamir Khan is bound to be financially successful, but these are the same people who also vouch by critical acclaim and that’s what should matter more than money. I am an Aamir Khan fan and I expect this to be an epic, but don’t count on me. I am the same guy who thought Aamir Khan will bring his unique and smart touch to the Dhoom series and I obviously messed up my prediction last year.
“PK” will mint money for sure, but can it sustain and bring in more people than anticipated remains to be seen. The promotions have ensured that this could either be a “3 Idiots” or a “Dhoom 3”.