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Shine goes off the premieres

The once-grand events have become a haunt for the underemployed.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 17:49 IST

There wasa time, not so long ago, when film premieres were exclusive affairs. Only very prestigious banners or producers of films with a stellar cast hosted such events. The premiere was the final strategy to publicise a film, and the stars turned up in force to make the event spectacular.

Now, in the age of PR-driven parties and for-rent ‘celebrities’, film premieres are no longer the preserve of the privileged. Today, every cinema hosts a preview screening of every film,Bollywood or Hollywood,and dubs it a premiere.

"In the good old days, a premiere was a grand occasion," says producer-director Ravi Chopra. "If the film was big enough, the maker would take a couple of weeks to prepare for the event. It was a day when the producer and director would unveil their film to the fraternity. Today, it’s only for the people involved in the film." The present-day premiere is quite often a cola-and-popcorn affair, drawing TV personalities with time on their hands and the occasional film actor who cares to drop in. Sometimes, even the stars associated with the film give it a miss. Not so in the hey-days of great production houses.

Mamaji, a veteran at RK Studios, recalls, "Each premiere had a unique concept, which was talked about for days." Metro, Liberty, Eros and Maratha Mandir were preferred venues, and coverage was left to film magazines, which hit the stands only once a month. That also helped keep the film in the news a month after its release.

As Mamaji says, "When Sangam was premiered in Delhi, it was a like a national event. At Asifsaab’s premiere of Mughal-e-Azam, prints came on an elephant. The grandeur of the premiere was at par with that of the film." When the colour version of the film was released a couple of years ago, the print arrived the same way at Eros.

This tradition of grandeur has all but disappeared, abetted by the rise of multiplexes. They have taken it upon themselves to host film premieres, often assisted by a sponsor.

Memorable publicity measures
Mughal-e-Azam:
The prints for both the original and the colour version arrived at the premiere venue on an elephant
Saudagar: The Subhash Ghai film was the first to premiere at more than one cinema (five, in fact)
Rang De Basanti: A group performed bhangra to dhol beats the moment a star walked the red carpet
Shaadi No. 1: The venue was done up like a mandap with about a ton of flowers. The heroes arrived on horseback, like bridegrooms

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 23:00 IST