The countdown to Durga Puja has begun. New Market and Gariahat are chock-a-block even on weekdays. Puja committee members are brainstorming to come up with innovative ideas to increase footfalls at their pandals. The Bengali film industry, too, is gearing up for the big festival. And much like puja organisers, who are racing against time to finish pandal decoration, Tollywood’s directors too are going all out to promote their films.
There are six releases this Durga Puja — Zulfiqar, Gangster, Prem Ki Bujhini, Byomkesh O Chiriakhana, Chocolate and Abhimaan. The actors and directors are not just banking on doing the rounds of pandals to promote their films, but also are waging a war on social media.
Watch the trailer of Anjan Dutt’s Byomkesh O Chiriakhana:
If producer Kaustuv Ray is busy sharing posters of his upcoming film, Byomkesh O Chiriakhana with Jisshu Sengupta in the lead, on Twitter, producer Himanshu Dhanuka is flooding the social network with photographs, teasers and the trailer of his next release, Prem Ki Bujhini, starring Subhashree and Om. He also points out that the song, composed by Savvy, has 34 costume changes.
Yes, you read that right. Is that a world record, we don’t know that yet! Meanwhile, Srijit Mukherji, who is known for storing his best film for puja, is very active on social media. This year, he is gearing up for the release of Zulfiqar — an adaptation of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, which stars some of the biggest names in Tollywood. From sharing the trailer, songs, to unveiling the looks of the actors, Srijit is keeping his fans updated about every development. If there’s one director who’s giving stiff competition to Srijit on social media, it’s Birsa Dasgupta. From sharing shooting stills of his film Gangster in Istanbul to uploading songs, Birsa is on a mission to make his film popular among the netizens. Yash Dasgupta, who is being launched in the film, too, is leaving no stone unturned to promote the film. The fact that producers and directors are competing to market their films online, doesn’t mean there’s any bad blood between then. In fact, there seems to be a lot of bonhomie.
Raj Chakraborty, whose film Abhimaan with Jeet and Subhashree is releasing this puja, is heaping praise on Birsa’s film. Recently, the Shatru director praised the cinematography of a song from Gangster and posted, “Ki Bhalo ganta @BirsaDasgupta ki bhalo shoot korechi @subhankarbhar sobai ke khub bhalo lagche, sobai khubii sundur.”Actor Koel Mullick, too, took to Twitter to praise the Yash and Mimi Chakraborty starrer. “http://bit.ly/ThikEmonEbhabE #Gangster Awwww how cute!!!!! Bhishone mishtiiii @VenkateshFilms @BirsaDasgupta @Yash_Dasgupta & @mimichakraborty,” the actress wrote.
If we have to name one actor who’s aggressively promoting every puja release, it has to be Dev. From congratulating music composer Arindom Chatterjee for the soulful track of Tomake Chai in Gangster, to appreciating the beautiful locations in Prem Ki Bujhini, Dev is the current social media darling.
Watch the song, Thik Emon Ebhabe, from Gangster:
Ask the Zulfiqar actor about promoting films on the social media, and he says, “Some of our filmmakers think that films become hit on the social media. I try to promote everyone’s film. In fact, I promote others’ films more than my own film. Social media is the biggest platform today. I don’t know where it’s heading but a time will come when it will reach a saturation point. Till then, let’s keep tweeting,” says the Chander Pahar actor, who has more than 3.5 lakh followers on Twitter.
Though there’s still time before we get to know how these films fare at the box office, for now we do know how many hits their trailers and songs are receiving on YouTube. Now, if Birsa is posting the number of views his song, Thik Emon Ebhabe, has got on YouTube, Srijit, too, is tweeting about Zulfiqar’s song Ami Aaj Kal Bhalo Achi crossing one lakh views in just a day. “#ThikEmonEbhabe from #Gangster crosses TWO lakhs YouTube views in much less than a day! Congratulations to the team for setting a new benchmark,” posted Birsa.
On August 30, Srijit posted, “#AamiAajkal from #Zulfiqar crosses one lakh YouTube views in just over a day! Congratulations to the team!:).” Himanshu, the producer of Prem Ki Bujhini, says that this is the new-age marketing tool. However, he is in no mood to label it as a ‘social media war’. Rather, he says the popularity of these films on social media proves the excitement among the viewers. “I think everyone is aware that the films will clash at the box office and hence they are trying their best to promote their films online. Also, I believe it’s a healthy sign that our fraternity is coming together and promoting each other’s work,” he says.
Birsa says he feels great when people appreciate his hardwork. He is all praise for his Tollywood friends, who are encouraging each other on social media. However, he smilingly says, he is not sure what is happening offline. “I guess it’s not how many followers we have on Twitter or Facebook that’s driving our film... it’s the quality of work,” says the director.
Director-actor Sujan Mukherjee is the latest one to join the on social media promotion bandwagon for his film, Chocolate. Hope, he catches up soon.
Watch the trailer of Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar :