I wasn’t going to bother with a post about this, but we have already talked SO MUCH in the comments about how much we hate it, I thought I might as well give us one central place to discuss the new stupid Yash Raj promotional strategy.
Let me back up and look at where they are coming from. Yash Raj says “Gee, it’s a lot easier to promote a film if people care about the stars. You can do that by casting an established lead. But that’s really expensive and complicated. Or you can do that by casting a star kid who is already familiar to people from all the paparazzi shots of their childhood. But Karan Johar has cornered that market. So what if we try to create our own stars?”
This is kind of a path they have been on for years. Heck, even before it was a big studio, back when Yashji picked Shahrukh to be in Darr. Building those personal connections with young talent can pay big dividends when they are old talent.
And then in recent years, they have picked up Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, and made them all into stars. And then kept them working for the studio for a while until they kind of paid off their debt. They weren’t like Shahrukh in Darr (or Amitabh in Deewar) with a decent amount of work behind them but nothing that had really “hit” yet, they were complete newcomers who could be crafted as the studio desired.
And now we have reached the point where they are trying to make people with no body of work at all into stars. Which is SO STUPID!!! If you want us to care about these people, show us something real. I understand the thought of creating buzz and launching them just like you would a film. But the point of buzz around a film is that, eventually, THERE’S ACTUALLY A FILM!!! There’s a purpose for all the buzz, and an end point. But in this case, it’s just sort of “here are people! Like them!” But, why?
(I don’t care about this girl. Beyond wanting to fix her skirt because it really doesn’t seem like it should be that way)
To bring it back to the Star Kids example, the reason we care about Jhanvi or Aryan or Sara is the same reason you care about the kids of your college roommate that you just see in Christmas card photos every year. We have watched them grow up, there is a natural connection through that. And we “know” their parents, which makes us care about what their parents care about, and thus their children.
You can’t create that sort of bond out of thin air. Aadar Jain is not Ranbir Kapoor. We didn’t watch him grow up, we don’t care about his parents. Just saying “And he’s a Kapoor!” doesn’t do it. And Anya Singh is even less so, just some random actress that we are supposed to bond with because we see an interview. We need to see years of interviews, decades of photos, then we will have that bond.
(Well, if you are just an aspiring actor, why is his face all over your shirt?)
More importantly, Ranbir Kapoor isn’t Ranbir Kapoor! The “star kid” bump really isn’t that big of a deal. You spend your entire life in the public eye and it buys you, what, about 5 crore extra in box office for your first film? After that, you are on your own. Speaking purely in terms of public interest, the whole “producers cast you because they know you” thing is something else. But box office wise, Ranbir is about as starry in background as you can get, and he still can’t “open” a movie a decade into his career. Varun Dhawan, who has those industry connections but not the “I watched you grow up” effect on the audience, he is closer to it than Ranbir right now.
You know why Varun is right there? Because he makes good movies! If you want your homegrown stars, just make better films! Starmaking films. Student of the Year, as I said at length in my post on it, was a starmaking film. The whole purpose was to introduce these 3 fresh faces in a fun way. The movie works because we enjoy watching these actors, and these actors worked because the movie worked. Along with the film release, Karan took his kids on the road, they made public appearances and gave interviews up and down India. But, the film was the centerpiece. All the other stuff, that was just to get people in the door to see the movie. And then the movie was the closer which made us actually care about them.
(See, it’s not just about seeing a photo of them it’s a photo of them in costume for the movie they are promoting. They are promoting their work, not just themselves)
But here, there is no “closer”. We are just being given the fluff around the edges, nothing real. And Yash Raj expects us to fall for it, which is I think what we are all finding so infuriating. Really, Yash Raj, how dumb do you think we are?