Chhapaak Trailer: What is the Purpose of a Trailer? Does This One Fulfill It? I Say NO

Well, this is a bad trailer! Just, as a trailer. Which is a specific kind of art form that can be done poorly or well and have no relationship to the movie it is promoting. Except for indicating the skill and understanding of the producers of the film for the product they have.

Trailers! Let’s think about them in a cosmic way.

A trailer can do three things:

  1. Accurately conveying the content of the film to help you make an informed choice
  2. Accurately conveying the mood of the film to get you emotionally connected to it.
  3. Trigger excitement, emotion, and curiosity in your brain that will drive you to see the film no matter what the film is actually about or actually like

The main goal of a trailer is to get people to buy movie tickets. The ideal trailer fulfills the third option above all else and the first two are just extra. For instance, one of my all time favorite trailers is this one for Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii which gives only vague plot information, and only lightly matches the actual mood of the film. But by golly I was there opening weekend even if I had to hitch a ride!

Another all time classic trailer is the Darr trailer. Which perfectly conveys the mood of the film while giving basically no plot details. And was an exciting intriguing piece of art all on its own which drove people into theaters.

A mood trailer, or a random exciting unrelated trailer, will both build an emotional connection. They get you excited for the film and, as a by product of that goal, they are also exciting interesting works of art all on their own. They show an originality and intelligence on the part of the productions and PR team for the film, and a dedication to making sure this film gets the kind of release it deserves. For instance, this trailer for Befikre told me that Adi was really committed to his vision for this movie, enough to make a risky little short film to promote it, and that he HAD a vision for this movie.

And this brings me to Chhapaak! Terrible trailer. Like, there is no momentum to it, no art, it’s just showing the story of the film and little bits of scenes that are edited in such a way that they have no impact, I feel like I just walked into the middle of a conversation with no context. All it does is show the plot of the film. Dips is attacked, is depressed, goes to court, meets bearded Vikrant Massey, gets a job, regains her respect and happiness, finds a community of acid attack survivors.

Let me give some alternative ideas. What if it had been just the two minute scene of Dips being attacked, and then a 10 second quick flash montage of everything that happened afterwards (glimpses of protesters, court cases, Vikrant Massay, and then her smiling)? We would have caught the mood of fear and anger from the attack, plus been intrigued by the little glimpses of what comes afterwards.

Or what if it was just one a long slow scene? I think a big part of the problem with this trailer is that Gulzar doesn’t do short scenes. Her films take their time, you can’t cut one 5 minute scene down to ten seconds for a trailer and have it still work. But if this trailer was Deepika talking to Vikrant about her feelings for 2 minutes, I think we would probably be in love with the film. And have a better sense of what the experience of the film will be in the end.

Or stick with this idea, the traditional “trailer gives you a taste for the whole plot in little bits” but just do it BETTER!!! Check out the trailer for Raazi, for comparison. There were handy little chryons to tell us all the themes of the film, striking visuals strung together, impactful dialogue moments chosen, and so on.

Which isn’t to say I think Chhapaak will be a bad film! In the trailer, the moments like Deepika and her friends through their scarves in the air, those were beautifully shot and impactful. I can believe that the final film will be a lovely story that just wasn’t well represented here.

Where the trailer concerns me is that this is Dips’ first film as a producer, Meghna Gulzar is a hard complicated director who needs the right promotion, and I am worried that this trailer is showing that the film is not going to get the expert loving care it needs.

What do you think? About anything I just said?

21 thoughts on “Chhapaak Trailer: What is the Purpose of a Trailer? Does This One Fulfill It? I Say NO

    • Yep, that’s exactly how I feel. And it’s a fault of the trailer, not necessarily the film. They just through a bunch of 5 second bits together in chronological order, there’s no mood they are trying to evoke, there’s no drive to it, there’s no emotional journey.

      On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 11:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • We have the protest and the court case interspersed, but beyond that it is Dips being attacked, Dips in hospital, Dips depressed, Dips getting a job, Dips talking to Vikrant Massay, Dips happy.

          On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 11:19 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • They could have put the big protest scene at the end, that would have been cool, like it is building to that big moment. Instead of having it at the beginning, and then slowing us down again.

            On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 11:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Or use the scarf as a thematic image that ties it together, it would have been easy to do each of these scenes and end and start with a shot of her scarf, ending with her taking it off.

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  1. From what I read on twitter, people are not impressed with the trailer but everybody has something good to say about Vikrant, and it makes me very happy.

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  2. I know it’s an important subject but it looks so boring. It’s hard to criticize movies like this without seeming like you’re putting down the subject but I just didn’t like it. The problem I have with these films is that we already know everything so the story alone won’t draw you in. It has to be made in a newer or more entertaining way and this just looks painful for so many reasons.

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    • Exactly! I still have faith/hope that the movie itself will be good, because Meghna has tackled Talwar before (for instance) and that was based on a true story that everyone went in knowing, and she managed to film it in such a way that it felt new. But this trailer is not anything new.

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  3. The trailer was too melodramatic and dramasque(so many slow-mos) which is not usually Meghana Gulzar’s style. I was expecting more nuance(maybe the film will have it)and I was hoping Vikrant Massey(based on his work so far) would be the bad boyfriend who throws acid-like Asif Ali. That wd have made it more impactful that good-looking men can be equally bad. But instead we have the usual lower class, uneducated faceless lout,who is too easy to hate as the acid thrower. I didn’t like the screaming Deepika when she sees her face first. Like that’s the most predictable,dramatic reaction.I also hate the self-congratulatory mode the team seems to be on before the movie is even out. Not looking forward to this one.

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    • Taking a step back, the “watch this movie, it’s good for you” promotion campaign makes me worried that no one will want to watch the movie if it WASN’T good for you. You know? Like, people don’t say “eat bacon, it’s good for you”. They say “eat bacon, because you will love it”.

      Agree about the screaming with her face. I want an acid attack story where the survivor is focused on regaining the function of her body and surviving the pain and doesn’t even think about her appearance until weeks and weeks later.

      On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 9:25 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Totally agree about the screaming, not only is it really cliched but it makes a lot of total screaming in the trailer. And I don’t like the “Dun dun!” horror show reveal of her face either. (But I’m there for the movie!)

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  4. The remark about the acid attacks victims being women who want to study or make a career is such a silly thing to say.The victims are women who dare to say “no” to the attackers.Also the subtitle was not perfectly right .The actual dialog says “Women who want to study or get ahead”. The trailer let me curiously unmoved. Again reminded me of Meghan’s father Gulzar’s films which usually leaves some space between the viewer and the tragedy on screen. You would empathize with the tragedy but not be wrapped up in it.

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    • That’s certainly how Talwar was. Such a tragic horrible story for all involved, but Meghna found a way to give us just a slight distance, if only by constantly changing who the audience’s POV character is. But can she do the same thing here if DP is the big name and the producer? And if not, how will she maintain critical distance on the issue while still keeping us trapped in the heroine’s mindset? In Raazi, she had the heroine herself end up so conflicted and complex inside that the audience couldn’t have one view of the situation because she did not either. But with this, if we have to go through Dips thinks she is ugly-Dips finds strength-Dips learns to be happy again, I will be seriously bored.

      On Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 11:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Absolutely spot on. I was thoroughly and utterly unimpressed with the trailer. I am not a Deepika fan(the only thing I have liked her in is Piku), but I really like Vikrant Massey and Meghna Gulzar’s work, and thought that the story looked promising. However, this trailer made me feel underwhelmed in a not good way. Still, I hope the movie is good because the message is important!

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    • Yes! It’s just a bland bland trailer that gives me no additional reason to watch the film.

      On Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 7:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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