May 24, 2006

Is it all P.R.?

Indian media tell us that the Fanaah release is facing some troubles. First you have the Gujarati Multiplexes banning the movie because of Aamir Khans support for the Narmada dam opposing groups and second it might be in trouble because Yashraj is demanding a higher share of the ticketsales in Multiplexes all over India which might cause them to not play the movie as well.

Somehow all of Aamirs movie openings in the last year had PR "nightmares" before opening. The trouble MP ran into was that it was feared that the figure of Mangal Pandey was shown "historically" incorrect (which was weird because there is not much known about Pandey apart from his military records anyway) then RDB ran into controversy because of animal rights activists complaining to the censor board and there were the - false- media reports about problems with the indian army. Now we have the BJP threatening to "tear down" any theatre in Gujarat that shows a movie with Aamir in it.
It all looks a bit fishy to me. My knowledge of indian cinema is still only limited to Hindi cinema so I don´t follow news about the south indian movie industry. But my guess would be that there are similar PR stunts.
Let me as an total western outsider ramble for a bit. Indian Politics run on a high emotional scale. Undereducated people will always listen to polemic paroles. And films, the film industry and its stars are easy targets for P.R. hungry politicians. So the explanation for the Gujarat trouble is easy. But are the threats the only reason? I don´t think so. My guess its just about money and PR.
What really would interest me (and so far my knowledge of indian media processes and relationships is still to sketchy) Does the press - which obviously is the key element in pushing this kind of PR - hype it deliberately? Are they compensated? Is it institutionalised or are there just some few journalists or publishers gaining from bagging stuff like that? And most important is the indian public really led by news of this kind or are the media again overplaying these events, so that news is producing the news?
So is Fanaah really in trouble?

EDIT 25/5/06: surprise, surprise...Fanaa will be playing at the multiplexes (except for Gujarat I guess)

oh, and here´s a link to the Aamir-Kajol in conversation about Fanaa show...PR bla bla mainly. The only interesting bit for me was to hear that Aamir is taking a 6 months sabbatical now.

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