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A crore for 10 seconds?

Are high-budget promotional songs for movies a viable option? Hiren Kotwani tries to finds out.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 19:30 IST

We have all heard of the ‘herd mentality’ in the film industry. Here’s one that filmmakers are following religiously for over two years now – showing a promo song shot and played exclusively as credits roll at the end of the film.

The trendsetter: Tata Young crooning Dhoom machale for Dhoom in August 2004. And the latest to copy the style: Title track of Bhagham Bhag. The only difference: Rs 1 crore spent on the music video featuring Govinda and Akshay Kumar.

The actors, stylishly dressed as rap singers, do a number with a bevy of Russian beauties and about 200 junior artistes. Choreographed by Ganesh Acharya, the song’s backdrop – scenic mountains – is created by art director Sabu Cyril.

Confirming the cost, Dennis Selarka of Shree Ashtavinayak Creations Ltd, the producers of the film, said: “Yes, it cost us a crore to make and we’ll be spending an equal amount on promoting it.” He said this expensive promo song will help “fuel the hype the film has already created. Besides, it is targeted at the youth”.

On setting a trend, Sanjay Gadhvi, director of Dhoom and Dhoom-2, says: “The Tata Young song was Adi’s (Aditya Chopra) idea. Maybe he knew that it would start a trend.”

He further adds, “Whether the song is required or not depends on the film’s content. An innovative concept is important if the song has to work with the audience.”

But doesn’t the novelty wear off ? To this, Gadhvi says, “The audience knows it’s just a promotional song, and they can see it often on television. So they’re not overtly curious to see it in the theatres. If the execution is great, it works well. Like in the case of Kaal, which no doubt helped in adding to the film’s hype before its release.”

However, trade analysts differ, “Except for T-Series, no other music company acquires the rights to promote the soundtracks aggressively.” Dismissing the talk of lavish budgets for songs, some analysts feel, “It’s just a desperate attempt to hype the film. When the music isn’t selling all that well, how does a song promo help?”

“It makes no difference to the viewers whether the producer spent Rs 20 lakh on a song or Rs 1 crore, because they can’t judge it in song promos,” they pitch in.

According to trade pundits, “It’s more important to make a promo that tells the audience something about the film, so as to draw them to the theaters. If it’s just a song they want to see, they can catch it on numerous television channels. Why would they go to the theaters for just a song?” But good music does help in generating a buzz about a film. Even the trade analysts agree.

And finally, on herd mentality, trade analysts feel, “This trend will go on till a new concept succeeds. And then everyone will jump the bandwagon again.” So true.