Good morning! It’s Akshay Kumar tweeting directly to you about his new film | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Good morning! It’s Akshay Kumar tweeting directly to you about his new film

Tech-savvy Bollywood actors are sending personalised messages to their followers through social media — it’s a novel way to promote their films by cutting through the clutter and tapping into emotions.

bollywood Updated: Jul 15, 2017 13:40 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Actors Bhumi Pednekar and Akshay Kumar in a still from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.
Actors Bhumi Pednekar and Akshay Kumar in a still from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

Imagine waking up to a personalised tweet by your favourite Bollywood actor on your Twitter timeline! Well, your day is made. That sort of frenzy was seen recently, when actor Akshay Kumar sent out personalised tweets to all his followers, sharing the trailer of his upcoming film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Along with the hashtag #ToiletEkPremKathaTrailer, there were messages such as “Are you ready to be a part of the #SwachhAzaadi movement?”, “Intezaar hua khatam”, “Ek anokhi prem katha aapke liye”, “Thank you for supporting the film”, “A token of gratitude for your support”, “I loved the enthusiasm you have shown”, “I am humbled by your support”.

Call it a strong marketing tool or a great way to have a direct connect with fans — it’s obviously a strategy fit for the digital age, and tech-savvy stars know it.

And this is not the first time an actor has opted for this clever ploy for film promotions. Last year, actor John Abraham surprised his fans when he tweeted to them the poster of his film Rocky Handsome, with his digital signature and a customised message for each.

Actor Nimrat Kaur feels it’s great to stay relevant like this. “So much of what we do is online — whether it’s the release of the first look [of a film] or a poster or a trailer, everything is slowly moving towards the Internet. Fan reaction [to a project] can also be assessed instantly through the Internet. So I find this trend a great move by the actors. It’s all for the good of a project.”

Celebrities reaching out to their fanbase directly isn’t a new trend, says Omar Qureshi, Bollywood observer and film critic, adding, “Actors have millions of followers — a reach far greater than what most magazines and newspapers have. And with print media dipping [in popularity], the smart stars know that they have to reach out beyond their fan base, and cultivate select influencers.”

In the past also, actor Shah Rukh Khan happily ‘spammed’ the Twitter timeline of his fans when the trailer of his film Dilwale (2015) was released on his birthday (Nov 2). Whoever wished the actor, got a ‘return gift’ in the form of a personalised tweet, with the link of the trailer. The tweet read: “Thank you for the birthday wishes. Here is a little return gift for you.” In another customised message, Khan wrote, “The Dilwale trailer is here. Watch and let me know what you think?”

Actor Shah Rukh Khan is known for promoting his films with a smart digital strategy. (Hindustan Times)

Hrithik Roshan, too, opted for the same strategy to promote Bang Bang (2014), sending out a digitalised poster with Twitter names of the fans and autographs from him and co-star Katrina Kaif.

In some cases, this personalised promotion has worked wonders for the stars, as it has pulled huge crowds to the theatres after the film’s release. Filmmaker Onir feels that such a strategy definitely empowers lead actors and filmmakers, helping them connect directly with the audience. However, he points out that too much of it isn’t a good thing. “If you go overboard and get too personal with these promotions, it can backfire, too,” says Onir. “When stars post highly customised messages, fans sometimes are clever enough to guess that it’s an agency doing it on their behalf — no actor has the time to do all this for thousands of fans.”

Time will tell if more actors will follow this pattern and arouse their fans’ excitement with these personalised promotions.

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