That Fridays can make or break a film is something we all know. But for days together before the all important Friday, hundreds of people come together to create cinema — now that’s something we all ought to know.
Filmmaking means different things to different people — a heady rush, tremendous hard work, glamour under the spotlight, endless chaos, a creative high – it’s all that and more for me. I see filmmaking in three stages; Stage 1 — Before the camera rolls: The gathering of the script, the crew and the technicians. Stage 2 — Action: The shooting, post-production, getting the background score in place and editing the film to perfection. Stage 3 —
Promos: Choosing the right promotional activities for a film and getting a lasting first impression.
It may seem like a breeze to you, but Stage 3 is actually one hard decision-making process after another. They say first impression is the last impression — and that holds true for films as well. Endless thought goes into which promo should hit TV screens first to ensure that we get it right. (Most of the times we get it wrong). It’s not just the TV; let’s not forget about the posters and the print campaign. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Switzerland on the covers of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Guru Dutt and Madhubala on the posters of Mr & Mrs 55 – these posters are worth a million words.
And yes, we also hire a Public Relations firm. That’s where all those scandalous stories about film sets come from. The PR’s job is generating curiosity about the film. They gather all the information about the fun and scandalous stuff that happened on the sets of the film. They sort through endless stories and strategically bring the juicier ones to public notice — without letting the viewer know that they’re behind it. (Sometimes even we as actors don’t know these things had ever happened).
Of all the three stages, what I find most tiring is On Ground Promotion. Endless interviews to newspapers, TV and radio channels, answering the same questions a million times, but with the same enthusiasm as the first time. Sadly, only one person in a hundred tries to pitch something different, the rest are the same old.
After all this, we never really know if we’ve done the right thing, if it will all pay off on that final Friday. Many times it doesn’t and Friday turns into a disappointment. Still, we get back to Stage 1 all over again, working towards that day when one Friday hits the bull’s eye.