The #PadManChallenge isn’t the first-time actors and producers have come up with unique promotional gimmicks to promote their films. Most film-stars resort to public appearances, interviews ahead of their film’s release, or collaborate with TV shows. But some stars have taken their movie promotion game to a few notches up in the past. From giving Nimbu mirchi to Autowallahs to the latest posing with a sanitary pad, Bollywood has done it all.
Here we recall 10 times when movie makers and stars used unique promotional gimmicks ahead of their film’s release.
24 Toilets in 24 hours
Akshay Kumar used the theme of his film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, to create awareness about sanitation and hygiene both on-screen and off-screen. He and co-star Bhoomi Pednekar participated in Uttar Pradesh government’s cleanliness drive. Kumar was also appointed as the brand ambassador of ‘Clean UP mission’ by UP CM Adityanath.
To keep his promise of working to make the state free from open defecation, Kumar launched 24 toilets in 24 hours on 7th of August last year.
The Express Adventures
Actor Shah Rukh Khan happily traded the comforts and luxury of first-class air travel for our Bhartiya Rail Seva, to promote Raees. However, the resultant stampede to catch a glimpse of King Khan led to the death of one person. Maybe, the organisers should have made equal arrangements for the safety of the superstar and his fans.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote a profound open letter to his grand daughters prior to the release of film Pink. He wrote on issues like marriage out of love, making your own identity and gender issues, etc. He advised them, “Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom”.
It is disheartening that everyone, including Mr Bachchan, forgot about the letter after the release of Pink.
Fake Engagement Card
Deliberately spreading the rumours of the lead couple’s hook up is one of the oldest trick used to promote films. Actor Alia Bhatt went a step ahead, and put a creative twist on spreading rumours by posting a card of her engagement, to promote her film the Two States.
The Tweeples didn’t lose their marbles, as they did a few days ago, when Sallu Bhai posted “Mujhe ladki mil gayi”. (Which was also a promotional gimmick for an upcoming film under his banner.) But full marks to the creative team though.
Offering autowallahs Nimbu mirchi:
To promote what is one of Bollywood’s finest thrillers in recent times Kahaani, Vidya Balan turned up at Khar Railway station, with a fake baby bump and pamphlets about her missing husband in hand. She went around the station, with the press in tow, asking confused strangers whether they have seen her missing husband. The gimmick must surely have worked, as the film had a solid opening and went on to become a super hit.
Lingerie for auction
How do you promote a film, which is a launch pad for one of the most popular adult movie star? You cash in on the very image. Pooja Bhatt, the producer of Jism 2, hence put up Sunny Leone’s lingerie for auction.
Considering that Leone is named India’s most Googled celebrity year after year, the lingerie must have fetched more money than film’s box office collection.
Though the money raised from the auction was supposedly used for charitable causes.
Living Out of a car
Back in 2010, when his career was not in a good shape, actor Shahid Kapoor had to spend a night in the car. The tiny car though was parked in a film studio. The studio was dressed up with vada pav stalls and khatiyas to make it look like a street side. He shared the discomfort with his co-star Genelia D’Souza, to promote the movie Chance Pe Dance. Sadly, the gimmick failed to garner any public attention and the film was a dud.
A Guinness World Record
Yup! And that too by none other than Abhishek Bachchan. In 2009, Bachchan Jr. broke the Guinness’ world record for maximum public appearances in 12 hours while promoting his film Delhi 6.
Haircuts and disguises
No one does film promotion like Amir Khan.
Khan went around giving people the famous Ghajini haircut to promote his film Ghajini.
Then to promote his film 3 Idiots, he disappeared from the public eye and resurfaced across the country dressed as an old man or Banarsi Babu, while his co-stars gave clues to his fans. If only Amir had chosen to sponsor space travel for his fans to promote PK.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own