Sudden Impact

The first look and trailer of a film is increasingly playing a vital role in pitching the movie to the audience. How do you make your film stand out from the crowd?

Cut the perfect trailer, get the first look right, and that’s half the battle won. As they say, the first impression is the last impression and filmmakers are milking that cliché to the hilt. But it’s more than a cliché; it’s a fact. In fact, many would even call a trailer and the first look a litmus test of a film’s box-office collections. And there’s no arguing that making sure the response from the audience is positive right from the start is the only way to get that crucial first-day opening.

This is especially true right now, when we are being treated to a slew of trailers, posters and first looks of upcoming films. Given the content and cast of these films, expectations are going through the roof, putting considerable pressure on the makers to create the biggest impact they can while unveiling the first glimpse of their films. The first look must be hard-hitting, convey the right message and be appealing enough to translate into footfalls when the film finally releases.

Not many films have done great business at the box office this year, so far, but the trailers that released recently suggest that things are about to change. Starting with the trailers of Rocky Handsome, Ki & Ka, Kapoor & Sons, FAN and the first-look posters of Rustom, M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story and Baaghi, we asked the trade to comment on the noise these trailers and posters are making, and on the fate of these films at the box office:

Aanand L Rai, Director

I was blown away by the trailer of FAN where we can see Shah Rukh Khan in a totally new avatar. The Gaurav character tells you that there is more to watch out from King Khan. For a moment you don’t realise that it’s Shah Rukh Khan, he has played Gaurav’s character so brilliantly. When you see the trailer you realise there is a thriller element and far more that the film has to offer. I believe the script will be the USP of the film. Another trailer which I found very unique is Kapoor & Sons where it shows a dysfunctional family and a fresh star cast pairing. So these are the two trailers which I found very unique. Talking about first looks, I am a director and unless and until I see something in motion I really can’t comment.


Shoojit Sircar, Director

I was bowled over by the trailer of FAN, where Shah Rukh Khan looks very different. For a second, you actually think someone else is playing that character. In fact, the teaser was very different from the trailer, which means the film has a lot more to offer the audience. It’s the same with Rocky Handsome. It has such a massive action-packed trailer and never-seen-before type of action for fans. John Abraham and Nishikant Kamat are back after Force and it’s gaining a lot of attention. Ki & Ka is looking very fresh and different from what we have seen so far. Talking about first looks, I believe the first look of Rustom and M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story also speaks volumes about these films.

Pradeep Sarkar, Director

I was knocked for a loop by the trailer of FAN. After watching the teaser, you assume the film is only about a fan but when you watch the trailer you realise there is a lot more to the film. This is one film I am really looking forward to. Shah Rukh Khan is doing an offbeat role after ages, and post Chak De! India, people have been eagerly waiting for him to do something like this. Rocky Handsome and Ki & Ka are other films which are looking very interesting, with the latter featuring the fresh pairing of Arjun Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan. The Kapoor & Sons trailer is very fresh. Talking about the first look, I believe Akshay Kumar’s Rustom says a lot and he is once again in a patriotic kind of film, which everyone loves.

Remo D’Souza, Director

All the trailers that released recently are looking outstanding and each one caters to a different audience. Let’s start with one of the most-awaited films of the year FAN, where SRK fans have waited a long time to watch a different King Khan. The trailer has done justice to the long wait. This is one of the most promising trailers to have released in a very long time. Ki & Ka and Kapoor & Sons are totally for the youth and also the family audience. The music is catching on and both films look very refreshing. Kapoor & Sons will have Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan’s fans coming in to watch the film.

They say the first impression is the last impression and that’s why a lot of creativity can be seen in the first look of movie posters. Rustom and M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story look very engaging as they speak for the film and what movie-goers can expect once they enter cinemas. The first poster of Baaghi has just released, starring Shraddha Kapoor and Tiger Shroff, and it’s very nice. They are the actors to look forward to.

Ronnie Lahiri, Producer

All the trailers which have come out are very refreshing and something which we have never seen before. Among the trailers, I believe FAN has stood out the most, it has SRK in a new avatar and the trailer is very promising and also, you expect a lot more from the film. It gives you the feel of what we have seen Shah Rukh Khan doing in Darr. Then the trailer of Rocky Handsome is something which shows action like never-seen-before in India. It’s a hand to hand combat and Nishikant Kamat and John Abraham coming together after Force is something very promising. On the other hand, the Kapoor & Sons trailer looks very young and beautiful and all the three stars have a huge fan following. Among the first look, Rustom and Baaghi are very unique.

Devika Shroff Nihalani, Founder, Spot On Film Marketing

The trailer of Rocky Handsome beautifully encompasses both aspects of the film – action and emotion. As a woman, it kept me engaged despite the heavy dose of action. The visuals looked fresh and the songs are catchy. A perfect edit!

Coming to the first look of Rustom, most films launch one first look but Rustom broke that rule. I like the fact that they revealed multiple first looks so early in the campaign. It builds intrigue and positions the film as one to watch out for. I am definitely waiting for this one.

Devang Sampat, Business Head/Strategic Initiatives, Cinepolis

The Indian film industry has clearly learnt the importance of marketing and a new and innovative way of positioning movies, which is reflected in the strong line-up for 2016. The audience usually decides their next movie outing when they look at the first poster and teaser of a film. The trailers of Ki & Ka, FAN, Kapoor & Sons and Rocky Handsome have really caught on well. Rocky Handsome is more for single-screen consumption, has mass audience action and its music will only help in getting an opening. On the other hand, Kapoor & Sons is for the family audience and is a pure multiplex movie. The Ki & Ka trailer is really catching on with the young generation and people are already connecting the film with 2 States. And then we have the FAN trailer, which is outstanding. Everyone has been waiting to watch a film like this from Shah Rukh Khan. The audience is thirsting to watch their biggest actor in a different avatar.

Speaking of first looks, the first poster of a film is also very important and Akshay Kumar’s Rustom is looking very impressive. M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story fans are waiting to watch his biopic too. India is crazy about cricket and Bollywood, so nothing can beat this untold story.

Overall, this additional marketing strategy is helping production houses to assess the impact of their marketing campaigns and modify them if required.

Thomas D’souza, Programming Head, PVR Cinemas

The trailer of Rocky Handsome looks promising, and there seems to be a balance between emotion and gritty action. John (Abraham), in an action avatar, appeals to youngsters as well mature audiences, and his appeal includes boys, girls, men and women. About Ki & Ka, R Balki always has a trick up his sleeve, and this time he has presented a modern day reality, and the trailer is creating more than enough curiosity for the film. Shakun Batra’s Kapoor & Sons, right off the bat, looks like a winner, with Alia Bhatt charming her way through the trailer. The songs have been unveiled and are tracking extremely well.

The FAN teasers had piqued the interest of the audience and trade alike, with the Jabra song, and with the new, full-blown trailer, SRK has stoked the fervour of his ‘Fans’. Baaghi seems to be the transition of Tiger Shroff from boy to man. The response to the poster has been very positive. Moving on from one good looking boy to the ageless and fittest man in the industry, the tireless Akshay Kumar… Rustom looks promising, and Akshay Kumar has now officially proved that he can rock any uniform – army, navy and, of course, the police uniform.

Rajesh Makhija, AVP Sales and Marketing Carnival Cinemas

To each his own. Having said that, every movie creates its own buzz and vibes in the world of cinema. Rustom and Baaghi with the first released posters look very promising. Akshay Kumar with his stardom and success trails, yet again gives us a unique look and feel. Similarly Tiger (Shroff) and Shraddha (Kapoor) make a great pair.

The trailers of Rocky Handsome, Ki & Ka, Kapoor & Sons, and FAN have got amazing response on digital media. But once again, the Khan Formula sweeps the market with its release of the song (Jabra Fan) in various languages by celebrity singers. This also initiates the start of a new trend through such an unconventional promotion.


Akshaye Rathi, Director, Rathi Group of Cinemas

Very interestingly, the films that are up for release in the next two months belong to extremely diverse genres and cater to an equally diverse audience! From a massy action flick to an urban romcom, from a thriller featuring SRK to a family drama – the audience is in for a treat when it comes to the sheer variety of films on offer.

FAN looks like the pick of the lot, courtesy the presence of SRK, coupled with the intriguing theme of the film and the film looks like a sure shot winner at the box office. These films will show the industry a ray of hope at a time when mega scaled cricket events are poised to dominate the horizon when it comes to entertaining the audience.

Rajesh Thadani, Distributor, Mumbai

From the very first look, SRK’s FAN stole the show. From the song Jabra to its multiple language tracks and its trailer, this film has ‘blockbuster’ written all over it. The Rocky Handsome trailer too looks promising. The trailers and poster that have been released in recent times all have a huge star cast and the ability to charm the audience. Each one of them has had a warm welcome, from trade and the audience. Ka & Ki and Kapoor & Sons also look great as both films have a refreshing touch and are being marketed well with their songs. Baaghi and the most recently released M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story posters look energising, which the youth will definitely enjoy.

Gaurrav Gaur, Distributor, Rajasthan

The trailers and posters that have released in the last few weeks have created quite a stir. This year has seen only two impressive films so far – Airlift and Neerja – and hence the audience is eagerly waiting more good cinema. Undoubtedly, Shah Rukh Khan’s FAN is creating massive waves of excitement among the audience, since the first look of the film and now the trailer have been extravagant. Not only the audience but distributors and exhibitors are pinning their hopes on the film. Rustom looks fabulous as Akshay Kumar’s look has created a big buzz around it. Baaghi’s first look posters, which were released on both Shraddha Kapoor and Tiger Shroff’s birthdays, too have created a lot of curiosity among the youth. The Rocky Handsome trailer has been tracking really well in the trade and expectations from the film are high.

Gaurav Ruparel, Distributor, Girish Pictures

Today marketing has become a very important factor when it comes to films. And these days even before the film goes on the floors, the marketing starts by releasing a first look. I believe from the recently released first looks it is Baaghi which I found very promising, featuring a fresh pairing. M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story is something which everyone is looking forward to. Sports biopics are hit in India these days and this film is on one of the most popular man of our country. And the first look tells a story of a boy coming from a small town and making it so big.

Now coming to the trailers, it’s obviously one film which has become the talking point of the industry and among audiences and that’s Shah Rukh Khan’s FAN. The Gaurav look of SRK shows something we haven’t seen on Hindi screens so it’s unique. Ki & Ka looks promising right from the first trailer, the film will open to a phenomenal response. The fresh pairing of Arjun (Kapoor) and Kareena (Kapoor Khan) is looking very unique. Kapoor & Sons also looks young as it stars Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra and also has good production value but the one who will steal the show will be Fawad Khan as he has a huge fan following among the Indian audience.

Soumita Sengupta and Rohini Nag
Collection Chart
As on 17th November, 2017
Qarib Qarib Singlle111.20CR11.20CR
Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana16.14CR6.14CR
The House Next Door192.43LK92.43LK
Mera Bura Saaya108.2K08.2K

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