Entertainment Bollywood 25 Jan 2017 Promotional problems

Promotional problems

Published Jan 25, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Jan 25, 2017, 7:08 am IST
Shah Rukh Khan’s train journey to promote his film Raees caused chaos, confusion and a death... all that could have been easily avoided.
Shah Rukh Khan promoting Raees at Vadodara Railway Station.
 Shah Rukh Khan promoting Raees at Vadodara Railway Station.

One person died and dozens were injured at Vadodara Junction, Gujarat, on Monday night, when fans of Shah Rukh Khan rushed to the station to catch a glimpse of the star, who was travelling on a train to promote his upcoming film Raees.

The actor had boarded the August Kranti Rajdhani Express at Mumbai earlier in the day and was heading to Delhi with a stop at Vadodara. Police had to resort to mild lathi charge to disperse the unruly crowd. In the midst of the chaos, a local politician — Fareed Khan Pathan, and the uncle of a journalist aboard the train, suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.


SRK put out a statement on Tuesday, “We started the journey thinking we will all travel, spend time with each other but when you lose someone like this, it saddens us all... It was really unfortunate... On behalf of everyone, our prayers and blessings with the whole family.”

However, many felt that the incident was not just avoidable, but that the promotion stunt was also completely unnecessary.

Varun Gupta, founder of Trigger Happy Entertainment (that worked on the publicity for Dharma films such as Student of the Year and Baar Baar Dekho) says, “A promotional activity for a film should be related to its content. What is Raees’ association with trains? Besides, Ranbir and Deepika had done it for Tamasha already, so there’s no novelty here. Big stars like Shah Rukh and Salman don’t need extensive promotions. It’s the newcomers who need it. In films such as Raees, content is king apart from the superstar actor.”

Director Sajid Khan says,  “Not-so-successful films translate into bad box-office collections and even big names like Shah Rukh and Aamir haven’t been able to save those films, like Fan and Talaash. With Raees, the trailer worked and all they had to do was build on that excitement.”

Critic Omer Qureshi adds, “An accident can happen anywhere and anytime. You can’t blame it on SRK. The makers might have thought it as an innovative idea to let him travel by train to Delhi.”

An injured man at the Vadodara railway platformAn injured man at the Vadodara railway platform

Completely uncalled for
Bollywood publicist, Shailesh Giri, says, “Railway stations are sensitive platforms and one must hold promotional events at such public spaces with utmost care. I think SRK and his team should not have been given the permission for this event. Apart from the person who lost his life, there must be several others whose train got missed, tickets got wasted and more accidents could have happened.”

He adds, “Emraan Hashmi had come for an event which was supposed to be held at the Delhi Metro’s Rajiv Chowk station. We organised it around 3 pm. But suddenly a very crowded train arrived and we immediately took Emraan back to avoid any mishaps.”

‘Why’ is more important
Talking about crisis management, Bollywood publicist, Dale Bhagwagar, says that the ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘where’ are not so important than the ‘why’ of an event.  “The ‘when’ here tells us that this event happened when the star had left the venue... after the train passed the station. Also, he would have definitely had the required police permission to carry out such a promotional event so that’s out of the question. As for the ‘how did it happen’ — you can contemplate on whether the star had provoked the fans, crowd, etc., which in this case — did not happen. Had it been his provocation, then the story would have been completely different. Coming to ‘where’ — at a railway station, a public platform where the police should have paid extra caution. You can’t blame the stars. That’s about it,” he adds.

Raees vs Kaabil: Equal screens at multiplexes in Hyderabad
Sunil Narang, Multiplex owner, Asian Cinemas

Generally, the top actors of Hindi films get a big release, but this time, Telugu films are giving strong competition and most of the theatres are trying to accommodate all of them.

“We are giving equal importance to Hindi films and Telugu movies. We have to accommodate them as people are coming to watch them, especially in the multiplexes,” says Sunil Narang.

He adds that this year, Telugu films are going strong and so the number of shows for these two Hindi films could come down. Suriya’s Singam 3 was supposed to release on January 26, but it got postponed and these two Hindi films may take its place.