Big films have big challenges in creating awareness and ensuring that it translates into footfalls in theatres, says the Ghost director Srinivas
Not too long ago, when Kannada actor-director MG Srinivas was working on getting his film Old Monk to theatres, he had told us that the greatest challenge for filmmakers was in getting their movies to audiences. With his latest, Ghost, which has Shivarajkumar in the lead and has great buzz going for it, one would expect that things have gotten easier for Srini. “Honestly, now also it’s the same challenge, but in a different measure. Big films have big challenges. With a small film, you may have budget constraints to promote the film, so you have to get creative in whatever you do to give it maximum reach. With a big film, you may have the money, but the question then is how to get it across to all categories of audiences in every state. Whatever you do in terms of promotion has to be universal. Say, if I release some material about the film, will everyone understand and connect with it? I can’t present something very state-specific, which is why, for the OGM track, we just had one version with bits in every language. The idea was to get maximum reach for one product. I have been adapting myself to think universally,” says the filmmaker.
Although there is some expectation surrounding Ghost, Srini has not got complacent and continues to work hard to get it across to as many people as possible. “Yes, there is a good buzz about Ghost, the Big Daddy teaser, OGM track and the trailer have been well received, but I can’t sit back and relax. If I want to take the film to the next level, right now, it needs a big push to get it to the finishing line in all its markets. At the moment, say, I have got a man and his wife interested in going for Ghost when it releases, but I am not sure if the rest of the family members, including the parents and children, siblings, etc., will accompany them. My target is to get every single member of every family to go and watch Ghost. That grassroot level work is what is happening now,” explains Srini.
The filmmaker is also acutely aware that creating awareness about the film with on-ground promotions is not enough to translate into footfalls in the theatre. “Let’s say I go to a college to promote Ghost, why will they come to watch my film on October 19? They will not, because whatever I have done has only amounted to awareness about the film. Any number of on-ground activities will convert into ticket sales only if the content creates curiosity. Ultimately, it’s the report from the first show of the film that will decide its fate. If audiences have no idea about the film and hear that it is good, it will take them a few days to decide whether or not to watch it in the theatre. But if there is an awareness about the film and then the first report is good, I will be assured that based on this positive word-of-mouth, they will go and book tickets for the next show,” says Srini.