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Singham Returns and Mardaani top the charts for Best Promoted Film in the month of August. Here’s why

For any film, strong content backed by innovative marketing is the key to drawing a huge audience. So, as we enter the month of September, it’s time to take stock of the films that hit cinemas in August and the production house that went guns blazing to promote their films.

Among the elaborate list of films which were served to movie-goers last month were Akshay Kumar-Tammannah starrer Entertainment, which also marked the directorial debut of writer duo Sajid-Farhad. This was followed by Singham Returns, one of the most anticipated franchises from the Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgn stable. The week thereafter witnessed the release of Mardaani, the hard-hitting social drama from the YRF camp that saw the director-actor jodi Pradeep Sarkar and Rani Mukerji team up after their last film together in 2007.

Another director-actor duo, Kunal Deshmukh and Emraan Hashmi, who got together after a year, released their con revenge drama Raja Natwarlal. Smaller films that dotted these big banner releases were Lateef The King Of Crime, Mad About Dance, Life Is Beautiful, Katiyabaaz, Trip To Bhangarh, Identity Card and Last Benchers.

Of all these releases, two films emerged winners in terms of the best promotions and these were Singham Returns and Mardaani. We arrived at this conclusion by speaking to the people who are the driving force behind marketing and promotions. We also spoke to distributors and exhibitors, who are best placed to judge whether production houses and marketing gurus did full justice to their productions.

This month, the verdict was unanimous, and the marketing teams at Reliance Entertainment and Universal PR for Singham Returns, and Yash Raj Films and Spice PR for their promotion of Mardaani, emerged winners thanks to their success stories at the ticket window.

Here’s the industry’s take on why these companies deserved laurels for the best-marketed film:

Shashank Ghosh, Director

I believe marketing is a key decider in the success of any film. Although I was busy finishing my own film Khoobsurat, I didn’t have the time to actually analyse the marketing startegies of all the films that released. But from what I gather, Singham Returns and Mardaani stood out in terms of promotions and their box-office success speaks for them. They went all out and were visible across several media vehicles. There was certainly a huge pre-release buzz around these films.

Raj Nidimoru, Director

I don’t think any single film drew extra mileage for their promotions. Every film was promoted on television and hoardings. But Yash Raj Films’ Mardaani took the off-beat route and went that extra mile. For instance, they did the National Anthem in a unique style in some cinemas. Singham Returns didn’t need extra promotion as the trailer was very powerful and dragged the audience to cinemas on its very first day.

Vishal MahadkarDirector

Singham Returns was the best-marketed film as its posters were splashed across hoardings everywhere. The Honey Singh song Ata majhi satakli was playing everywhere. On top of that, the trailer was so attractive that the film didn’t really need any further promotion.

Anand L Rai, Director

I believe Singham Returns deserves pride of place because, first, it’s a Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn film. Second, it was a sequel to a superhit film. But when the first trailer released, you didn’t even feel like comparing it to the first part; it was a completely new story. Also, they went all out to promote the film, like their tie-up with the police and other initiatives. Rani Mukerji’s Mardaani was also very well promoted.

Ronnie Lahiri, Filmmaker

Singham Returns was the best-marketed film in August, for obvious reasons. It was one of the most awaited films of the year and I believe the first trailer was its best marketing campaign as it created a huge buzz. The promotions were very unique and they did some tie-ups with the police force. Wherever you went, you could see hoardings advertising the film. Also, it was a Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn film, where action was the key.

Pradeep Sarkar, Director

For my film Mardaani, the credit goes to YRF’s marketing team and Rani (Mukerji). They went all out to promote the film in a unique way. We didn’t have songs in the film so we couldn’t use music to promote the film but Rani’s promotion was like a campaign and everyone across the country was aware of the film due to this. Next, word-of-mouth was the best publicity and it grew every day. Apart from our film, Singham Returns was uniquely marketed. But every film has a unique way to promote it and one can’t really categorise them.

Subhash Ghai, Filmmaker

In terms of promotion, Singham Returns and Mardaani stood out from the others. Singham Returns is a big franchise and they went all out to promote the film. For Mardaani, YRF went all out to spread the word about the film as Rani (Mukerji) was seen everywhere. But for Mardaani, I believe word-of-mouth did the best promotions.

Ratan Jain, Filmmaker

In terms of marketing, it has to be Singham Returns as they did all sorts of promotions, tie-ups with the police and visited various cities. The Honey Singh song clicked and everything fell in place. Above all, the first trailer was very strong so was a decider for the audience.

Rajesh Thadani, Multimedia Combines

Singham Returns and Mardaani have to be the two films that stood out in terms of marketing in the month of August. Both films had a big USP in their stars. So while Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor and Rohit Shetty did their utmost to promote their film on TV channels and across media, Rani Mukerji rooted big time for her film Mardaani. Both deserve huge credit in terms of marketing.

Jaspal Dhingra, Nanaksar Enterprises

Mardaani and Entertainment executed the most unique marketing strategies for their films. For Mardaani, the trailer was hard-hitting and it didn’t mislead the audience. It was a gritty film and the trailer gave the audience a glimpse into exactly what it was all about. Rani Mukerji travelled to various cities to publicise the film and the producers made sure the promos played at every cinema hall. Along with the trailers, there were standees placed at several cinemas, which is a very good recall factor for the audience in small towns.

Entertainment had great music and two songs, Johnny Johnny and Veer di shaadi, which caught on very well. Besides, since the film was produced by Jayantilal Gada, they exploited Zee TV’s channels to the fullest to promote their film and made sure the promos filled up the advertising spots.

Debashish Dey, Aum Moviez

Singham Returns and Mardaani went all out with their promotions. Singham Returns did a lot of brand tie-ups as well as on-ground activities with the police and so did Mardaani. For Mardaani, Rani Mukerji is already a hot favourite here as this is her hometown. So when she came to visit Kolkata for a day, the crowds went berserk. She also spoke to a lot of young girls who were achievers and highlighted several issues pertaining to those shown in the film. Mardaani is an issue-based film and the promotions were in tune with the subject.

Vijay Kher, NR Multimedia

Mardaani was promoted very well. The theme of the film was to be fearless and what better way to convey this message to the audience than visiting jawaans in Jammu and Kashmir? She did several city visits and spread the message of the film instead of merely visiting cities and posing for pictures. I think integrating the Police and the Army into marketing worked well for the film. Singham Returns had a buzz about it because of the content but I the promotions of the film were quite half-hearted.

Sanjay Marudhar, Marudhar Enterprises

Singham Returns and Mardaani fared well at the box office but their marketing strategy didn’t deviate from the usual city visits, reality show appearances and tie-ups. I think there promos were the most visible on TV.

Jeetu Khandelwal, Movie Pioneers

The plus point of the Singham Returns’ promotion was that they included the Yo Yo Honey Singh song in it. But the drawback was that the song was not a part of the film. When you show a promotional video during the end credits, the audience in smaller towns doesn’t bother to stay and watch till the end. Mardaani was the other film that was marketed very well. The promotions stayed true to the subject of the film and they didn’t mislead the audience by throwing in any razzmatazz.

Harsh Jain, Sanman Group

Singham Returns and Mardaani scored top points when it came to publicity. Especially Mardaani, which soared high when the government made it tax-free. Even though this was not a marketing strategy, the makers hyped the fact that it had been given tax-free status. Since not every film is awarded this rebate, the seriousness and quality of the film got that stamp of approval.

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