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:
- Accurately conveying the content of the film to help you make an informed choice
- Accurately conveying the mood of the film to get you emotionally connected to it.
- 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?