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Hiding the truth to entice movie audiences

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS


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Noticed a new phenomenon in publicity campaigns for Hindi films - 'hide the truth, entice the audience' to get people flocking to the theatres? It happened with "Fida" and with this week's release "Phir Milenge" as well.

Noticed a new phenomenon in publicity campaigns for Hindi films - 'hide the truth, entice the audience' to get people flocking to the theatres? It happened with "Fida" and with this week's release "Phir Milenge" as well.

Fida WallpapersLast week "Fida" opened to an intriguing lack of genuine information on the film. Says Bihar exhibitor Roshan Singh: "No one knew what to expect. The promos showed Kareena with both Fardeen and Shahid. So some people expected to see Kareena in a double role. Others had heard Salman Khan is the real villain of the piece. When he didn't turn up till the last, they went away disappointed."

Salman is now in another intriguing situation in another distinctly different mainstream film.

Phir Milenge WallpapersRevathi's "Phir Milenge" is a film that tackles the very real and very disturbing issue of AIDS. Both its protagonists, Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty, are HIV positive. But for some bizarre reason, the producers are marketing the film without highlighting the film's main theme.

"That's because they're afraid no one will come to see a film about AIDS. You tell me, who would accept the muscled and sexy Salman as a guy fading away with AIDS?" asks a top filmmaker.

"Oh, plenty of people would want to see Salman playing a vulnerable character. Didn't he play a mentally disturbed character in 'Tere Naam'? And wasn't that a super-hit?" says Shilpa Shetty, who is outstanding in the central role.

"And, please, no one in the audience is stupid enough to come to see Salman and me do another 'Garv' in 'Phir Milenge'. The audience knows exactly what to expect from a film even if we don't spell out all the details to them."

But why deliberately play down the film's main thrust and theme?

Shilpa shakes her head vehemently: "None of us has hidden the fact that this is a film about AIDS. Maybe we didn't shout about it from the rooftops. But Salman has been speaking about his role as an AIDS victim at all press conferences. Who can stop him from saying and doing exactly what he wants?"

Phir Milenge Wallpapers"And, yes, I play an HIV victim. For a large part of the film, I'm pale and without makeup. In fact, my director Revathi wanted me to be without makeup on the posters as well."

Pausing for breath she continues: "Isn't it about time we stopped looking at stars as commodities and allowed them to play real characters? Tom Hanks played an AIDS victim in Philadelphia and got an Oscar for it.

"Salman, too, deserves all the awards for his performance. He's toooooo good in the film. So natural, confident and not at all afraid to be vulnerable on screen."

Issue-based films have always been rare and precious in mainstream Hindi cinema. The last such film was Govind Nihalani's "Dev" where the director went all out to project his film not as a star-studded extravaganza but a film where the stars played real characters.

"Phir Milenge" is another film in the same genre. "And we're very proud of the film. The fact that even the UN has taken note of its sensitive issues is a very positive sign. Salman or no Salman, this isn't a film about stars but about the subject."

Shilpa has the last word.

Last week "Fida" opened to an intriguing lack of genuine information on the film. Says Bihar exhibitor Roshan Singh: "No one knew what to expect. The promos showed Kareena with both Fardeen and Shahid. So some people expected to see Kareena in a double role. Others had heard Salman Khan is the real villain of the piece. When he didn't turn up till the last, they went away disappointed."

Salman is now in another intriguing situation in another distinctly different mainstream film.

Revathi's "Phir Milenge" is a film that tackles the very real and very disturbing issue of AIDS. Both its protagonists, Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty, are HIV positive. But for some bizarre reason, the producers are marketing the film without highlighting the film's main theme.

"That's because they're afraid no one will come to see a film about AIDS. You tell me, who would accept the muscled and sexy Salman as a guy fading away with AIDS?" asks a top filmmaker.

"Oh, plenty of people would want to see Salman playing a vulnerable character. Didn't he play a mentally disturbed character in 'Tere Naam'? And wasn't that a super-hit?" says Shilpa Shetty, who is outstanding in the central role.

"And, please, no one in the audience is stupid enough to come to see Salman and me do another 'Garv' in 'Phir Milenge'. The audience knows exactly what to expect from a film even if we don't spell out all the details to them."

But why deliberately play down the film's main thrust and theme?

Shilpa shakes her head vehemently: "None of us has hidden the fact that this is a film about AIDS. Maybe we didn't shout about it from the rooftops. But Salman has been speaking about his role as an AIDS victim at all press conferences. Who can stop him from saying and doing exactly what he wants?"

"And, yes, I play an HIV victim. For a large part of the film, I'm pale and without makeup. In fact, my director Revathi wanted me to be without makeup on the posters as well."

Pausing for breath she continues: "Isn't it about time we stopped looking at stars as commodities and allowed them to play real characters? Tom Hanks played an AIDS victim in Philadelphia and got an Oscar for it.

"Salman, too, deserves all the awards for his performance. He's toooooo good in the film. So natural, confident and not at all afraid to be vulnerable on screen."

Issue-based films have always been rare and precious in mainstream Hindi cinema. The last such film was Govind Nihalani's "Dev" where the director went all out to project his film not as a star-studded extravaganza but a film where the stars played real characters.

"Phir Milenge" is another film in the same genre. "And we're very proud of the film. The fact that even the UN has taken note of its sensitive issues is a very positive sign. Salman or no Salman, this isn't a film about stars but about the subject."

Shilpa has the last word.


 
 

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