Yash Raj Tries to Create Buzz, We All Hate It

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?

Image result for anya singh yash raj

(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.

Image result for aadar jain

(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.

Image result for siddharth varun alia

(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?

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32 thoughts on “Yash Raj Tries to Create Buzz, We All Hate It

  1. It’s laughable how bad this promotional campaign is! Without a film to promote, you’re right, these are just random glamour shots and not even clever or well thought out shots. I would be mortified if I was Anya Singh. I’m not a prude, but that shot is not classy at all. And the “it’s not nepotism but it really is nepotism” of the Jain boy is hilarious. Both do nothing for me in terms of their “fresh faces” but I’m willing to give them both a shot once I see their work (her more than him just based on her outsider status and she seems to be signing films fast so she must be auditioning well?). I don’t generally get worked up about the whole star kid thing. I’ll honestly admit to being curious about what Sara Ali Khan, Jhanvi Kapoor, and Shahid’s brother will be like on screen, so I can’t claim that I’m offended by the nepotism thing generally. However, YRF’s missteps here are so out of character with how they handled other debuts like Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra’s. Again centered on their very interesting film!

    These shots also totally remind me of the random aspiring actor pages in Filmfare magazine.

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    • I have the same problem with Anya’s shot. I believe women can wear what they want, but they literally sell her like a piece of meat. Panties in almost all pictures. The more I think about it the more disgusting I find it. She should be dressed more classy but still sexy.
      And the guy is not even handsome (yeah I know it’s superficial but I don’t know about him so I can only judge his look)

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      • Yes! To Anya. And it doesn’t match the “narrative” they are trying to set up with her. She is supposed to be the average girl from Delhi with the big dreams. And then they give her this super sexy photoshoot, instead of of something simple like jeans and a Salwar and a big smile, which would feel like the average Delhi girl they are selling.

        On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 4:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I was thinking about the FilmFare thing too! And in FilmFare, we all know it’s just a filler page with a pretty face on it, it’s not like they are actually promoting these people at us, it’s just there to look at and forget.

      With nepotism, see, that’s the thing, I am interested in Shahid’s brother and Jhanvi and Sara because I’ve been seeing their photos for years and I like their families. But even there, that just gets me in the door, I still need a film that will grab me to keep caring about them. And this kid, who I have never even heard about before just now, I’m not coming in the door just because he reminds us that he is Raj Kapoor’s grandson! I need more than that. And he better have an actual acting talent to show me if I give him a chance!

      On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more! How dumb do they think their audience is?

    I think you’re right on the money in your comparison of these two with the star kids. The star kids do get a first break, but it isn’t about being a star (at least at first); it’s about a movie they’re going to do.

    I really hope this approach fails miserably because it is just so stupid!

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    • Exactly! The star kids get their first break both from the industry and the audience. But that’s it, they only get one chance. From both of us. The audience is going to give them a chance because they were so cute in their baby photos, but if the film is bad, we will be done with them. And the industry is going to give them a chance because they know their parents, but if that first film fails, they will have to work darn hard to make it in their next one.

      On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. My question is: what happened to Adi? Talk about being an industry kid..He should know better. Karan and Shah Rukh and everybody talk about how smart he is. How did he make this huge marketing misstep. It is NOT the same as a film going “wrong”. You can believe in a film and have it not liked..But a marketing strategy? Why didn’t he wait for them to have a movie. This seems so wrong, so odd and out of character. Maybe the reason Adi took so long to marry and have children is because he knew it would distract him and this proves he was right. He is distracted.

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    • I wonder if it was a miss step in delegation? I saw something about their superstar casting director being the one who found Anya and signed her, maybe she has also been promoted to a position to design the launch?

      It’s still Adi’s fault, but in a different way. Heck, in a way that goes very very far back. If they are looking to become more corporate and lose that personal touch, then Adi has to delegate. But he can’t delegate, because the studio rises and falls on his talent. And now an incompetent has been given control of a key part of the corporation because Adi has to look after the global distribution wing and the 5 new film releases coming out next year and on and on.

      If you compare it with Dharma, Karan has ultimate control over every little detail. Sure he puts other people in charge of stuff, but he has final decision on everything. He makes mistakes and misses stuff and there is sort of an upper limit to how big the studio can get, but we never see anything like this!

      On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 5:34 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • And all of them should look at Red Chilies: Venky is in charge. He makes the plans and brings them to Shah Rukh who signs off. He has surrounded himself with competent people and lets them do their job.

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        • And he also lets them pick their job. Diversifying wherever there is talent and branching out into new areas, instead of delegating people to do what he should be doing. You know? there is only one Adi, and if he can’t do something, he should find something else that can be done by someone else. Launching a major new star, that HAS to be an Adi thing. Let someone else, I don’t know, start a TV division.

          On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 9:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. After checking out the Yash Raj website, I do have to take back a little bit of my first comment since I was reminded that these two kiddos will be in Habib Faisal’s next and he actually debuted Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti (in her first lead role). So, the promotional campaign is still stupid, but I have more interest in the pair solely because they are working with Faisal and he directed two of favorite films, Ishaqzaade and Daawat-E-Ishq.

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    • And see, this proves my point! If the announcement had been “first looks and meet the stars of Habib Faisal’s next film”, you would have been all excited. But instead you had to track it down on the Yash Raj website, because it’s not the headline of the story.

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  5. To make a promotional picture set work you need astonishingly good looking people. Both these kids look like champus to be honest. You can just see the lack of confidence in them! It’s so obvious that YRF is trying to project their power (and failing)!

    Would it be that hard to give these kids 2-3 decent, small budget films to open their careers with and then have their 3rd or 4th be the summer blockbuster of the year that you put your money into?

    Even these pictures are not very interesting. People that’d go to the cinema to watch these people are living on Instagram. I don’t know a single young college kid who’d tap twice on these pictures!! 😁

    Content is king right now. Even Salman can fill seats in a theatre at the moment and he’s THE Salman Khan!

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    • And the funny thing is, it looks like they are going to get 2-3 decent small budget films! If I am reading the reports right. The first will be a rom-com by Habib Faisal who seems to specialize in smaller romances.

      So just wait until the films are ready to be promoted, and promote them with that. Why promote them just as people?

      Oh, and agree about the photos! It’s not just whether or not they look good, they don’t look INTERESTING. I would want to see what Dabboo Ratnani would have done with them, put them in an interesting set and a neat costume that matches their personalities so these photos tell us something about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So true about instagram! I remember my first thought after seeing this new boy photo was: I have seen more handsome and much more interesting random Indian guys on instagram.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. YRF’s new girl could wear a full gown and still be accepted if she does well in her film.Just see how Alia Bhatt is presented in that picture. The contrast in the costumes of ‘the new boy’ and ‘the new girl’ shows how some filmmakers perceive the Indian audience.

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    • And neither of them really have a great option. The new girl is super sexualized and glamorized, and the new boy is all about his family background. Neither of them get to sell themselves for themselves.

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  7. I don’t get why they don’t even mention what movie they’re about to star in or anything. I know these people are supposed to be Habib Faisal’s next but that’s only because I remember the news from when it was announced that YRF will launch Aadar Jain. Also they could do something like they did for Sui Dhaaga and other new announcements when they talk about what the movie will be about or what the movie will be like.

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    • Exactly! They are supposed to be a movie company, after all, not a “bad photoshoot” company.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 12:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Ok so about that Anya picture. Let me first admit I don’t know the first thing about fashion/style or even dress sense at times(!) and I’ll even admit that I’m among the group that such a racy picture is squarely (and unfortunately) directed towards with borderline perverted designs to grab attention/titillate.

    After the Deepika cleavage controversy she and many others were in agreement like “duh so women have breasts and hence cleavages, why is this still a thing?”. Then there is the whole “bra strap is visible or semi translucent top so what lol its a normal undergarment worn by women, get over it”. And then there are those photoshoots with women in such wildly varied garments appealing to the lets say imagination so much (“backless dress wow, so no bra..!” or “look at that open strip running down the sides of dem pants, so no panty..?! “). And now we have this next level thing with panty showing and its not cool. I understand that the difference here is maybe this being her launch shoot itself being this “low level”, but always wondered about the line between what is seen/perceived as cheap and classy. (i’d think that same pic were it taken with the gown covering the crotch but leaving the side slightly open indicating that same no panty!! imagination, that may have been less offensive)

    /rant over

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    • Oh this was FASCINATING! I had honestly never thought of these photos in that way. Kind of like when I went online to find a still for a post from Pacha Bottassi and discovered a large portion of the internet was obsessed with the one shot of Tamanah’s back that I hadn’t even noticed.

      Here’s something interesting. Most of my friends are Bi, that is, women who are attracted to both men and women. So I’ve gotten to listen in on lots of conversations about what actress is hot and so on, and I’ve come to sort of know there taste. However, this whole implication-of-clothing thing is completely outside our conversations. Maybe because women are just attracted to different things (“O La La” is a big hit, for instance), or maybe just because they all wear women’s clothing themselves so the thrill is gone. Anyway, none of them would be attracted to this photo I think mostly because she looks like a little baby and it feels weird.

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      • Haha, well yes it’s mostly about the targeted group, in this case men, because frankly I don’t think they cared much if at all about what the women will think about her introductory shot so much as their intention to make sure the predominantly male audience took notice and find her hot, even if only on a superficial piece-of-meat way. But they probably went a bit too far hoping that this underwear shenanigans will pass for feminist/sexual freedom for women or something.

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        • Or in this case, “that kinda girl”!

          I’m curious. How long does “that kinda girl” hold a male audience’s attention? Compared established, certified hotties like Deepika and Priyanka who don’t mind showing skin, I mean.

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          • As always one person can’t speak for everyone but as women fight the (sometimes dangerous) cliches propagated by films and other media I think the cliches about men are largely undeniable even as a generalization especially how easy most are to please/get the attention of for example. So yeah how long that attention/image holds is proportional to er skin shown in subsequent pictures/media IN MY OPINION no matter how puerile.

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  9. About the Ranbir v Varun comparison, I don’t know what is valued more, acting skill/talent/ability or just box office success from largely formulaic/masala films? Yes Varun is yet to deliver a flop and is on a run which is kind of unprecedented in the history of the industry for anyone since debut. But Badlapur is his only work till date which is genuinely standout in terms of testing/stretching his acting mettle/pedigree or at least trying non conventional cinema. Ranbir already has what 4 or 5 such terrific films? Rocket Singh, Rockstar, Barfi and even Wake up Sid and Raajneeti to some extent. Ranbir is far and away the better actor but sure, Varun has almost now achieved the “opening” ability which Ranbir has yet to. But from his interviews and his frank nature in them, as a film watcher I’m glad that it doesn’t appear to bother him and he probably isn’t even gunning for it really, as long as good/meaty roles or offbeat films come to him. Not that he hasn’t tried the masala options, but just that so far he’s failed miserably and Varun of course has been killing it there so far.

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    • What bugs me is that the whole idea of this promotion campaign, clearly, is to make the audience have a connection with these stars and thus be excited to see them onscreen. But both Varun and Ranbir show that you can get that connection with the audience either by talent, or by savvy film choices. The promotion campaign is like the 8th best way to do it.

      For myself, for Ranbir vs. Varun, I look at overall success in the goals of the films. Like you say, Barfi, Rockstar, those were made to stretch artistic abilities, and they succeeded wonderfully. But continuing on Ranbir’s filmography, he has tried to be commercial in Besheram and other films, and failed horribly. In contrast, Varun was aimed at solid commercial success. Not fake pumped up success, but just good films people liked even if they weren’t that deep. And he has always succeeded. And the one time he tried something more artistic, he succeeded there too. So I would hope that Varun is looking to build a broad career, mixing art and commercial, in the same way the biggest stars always have. But we just haven’t seen his art side yet.

      On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 3:19 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Well IMO definitions of good/best/success in the film industry is always relative/subjective. By and large it’s mostly a numbers game any which way but perhaps not always. I don’t see why this approach by YRF is grating/irking people tbh. They’re a production house and they’re just doing what they think is the most effective way to get these kids as wide a reach as they can so that as many people as possible become aware of their existence etc. I do get your point about at least pretending to dress it as a movie launch also by mentioning their debuts as well, fair enough.

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        • It’s mostly that it is such an insult to our intelligence. Like we are going to be interested in these actors because of a couple of boring quotes and an unimaginative photo shoot. It’s one of those things where the story itself is no big deal, it’s more the way it was presented to us that is so infuriating. I don’t blame them for wanting to promote their new actors, I blame them for being so lazy in how they are going about it. Which also makes us start thinking about why they are being so lazy, what might be happening at YRF headquarters to make them lose touch, all those kind of big picture things.

          On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 4:33 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Haha, at what point do we stop before entering overthinking territory!

            But yes low effort stuff from them who can do better.

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  10. The trailer of Qaidi Band, the movie with these two, has come out and it doesn’t look that bad. In fact it looks kind of interesting. It would have really helped in marketing these people if they were first introduced by a trailer. Here’s the trailer:

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    • The girl looks so much better in the trailer. And now, seeing what kind of movie it will be, this “glamour” photoshoot makes even less sense.
      I’m very surprised with the theme of the movie. Seems like something new.

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