In recent times, more and more filmmakers are using gaming for film promotions by either designing movie-specific games or using in-game branding of their characters in existing popular games. RA.One (2011), Don 2 (2011), Kahaani (2012), Gali Gali Chor Hai (2012) and the upcoming Agent Vinod are some of the films to have used the gaming platform to connect with their audiences.
Samir Bangara, COO, UTV Indiagames says, “Social games are popular with the youth and filmmakers want to target them online.” But he agrees that not every movie lends itself to a game. He adds, “Movies whose central theme revolves around action, strategy or revenge do well as games. That’s why the game we are launching for Agent Vinod is a good fit. It has the right mix of action and conspiracy.” However, such games have a short shelf life and their fate depends on the film’s box-office impact.
Rahul Razdan, president - products and operations at ibibo.com, explains how in-game branding works: “It’s like promoting your film by appearing on a popular soap on TV. We provide in-game branding in our popular games, which have a loyal and committed audience, but only if there is a fit between the theme of the movie and the game.”
For example, Once Upon A Time… in Mumbaai’s (2010) actors Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi found their avatars being placed in the popular game Mumbai Underworld. But Razdan adds, “Once the movie’s run went dry, these characters faded away. Now since Agent Vinod is coming up, we have introduced Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s characters in the same game.”
Rahul points out that such integration helps existing gamers get their masala element while movie buffs are lured in too. Gaming enthusiast Nisha Sampath says, “Unless it’s a kicker game, it doesn’t appeal to me. I am not lured to play a game just because there is a celebrity in it.”
Some games and their film connections
For Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), a game was developed where one could throw tomatoes at Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan.
Kahaani’s yellow cab was added as an element in The Great Indian Parking Wars game. Players helped Vidya Balan find her missing husband.
RA.One Genisis, an online game, crossed 1 million downloads in a week. Sony PlayStation launched RA.One-The Game making it the first collaboration between PlayStation and Bollywood.
Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s characters from Agent Vinod have been introduced in Mumbai Underworld. Agent Vinod is a protection agent who saves the gamers from outside attacks. He is accompanied by Iram, played by Kareena Kapoor in the movie.