PUB­LIC­ITY GIMMICKS: HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?

Bol­ly­wood talks about no-holds-barred stunts in view of the fake kid­nap­ping of Tamil ac­tor Var­alaxmi

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Nikita Sax­ena nikita.sax­ena@hindustantimes.com

The al­leged kid­nap­ping of Tamil ac­tor Var­alaxmi Sarathku­mar (top), and then the rev­e­la­tion that it was just a fake news for the sake of her film’s pub­lic­ity, leads to a de­bate on how far is go­ing too far to sell a prod­uct.

Tamil film pub­li­cist Nikkil Mu­ru­gan sent Twit­ter into a tizzy on Tues­day, when he posted a pic­ture (above) of the ac­tor gagged and tied on a bed. The cap­tion read: “#Var­alaxmiGotKid­napped”.

Hours later, as panic lev­els were peak­ing, Var­alaxmi tweeted, say­ing it was all for a pro­mo­tion. The back­lash was se­vere, the crew slammed for triv­i­al­is­ing kid­nap­ping.

Talk­ing to HT City, Var­alaxmi says, “I had no clue that such a tweet was be­ing posted. I was in Delhi... at that very mo­ment. It was only when I got a call telling me that some­thing of this sort had hap­pened, that I found out.” She says that the pos­si­bil­ity of such a stunt was dis­cussed, but she had nixed it. “But it’s done now. It’s okay, this is all a part of show­biz,” she adds.

Is it re­ally okay? Bol­ly­wood ac­tor Saqib Saleem says that he’s against us­ing a false­hood to pub­li­cise a film. “Mis­lead­ing any­one or cre­at­ing a false per­cep­tion is wrong,” he says.

Film pub­li­cists are di­vided on this. Ab­hishek Thukral says that such gimmicks never as­sure a film’s suc­cess, they only in­spire some memes. Dik­sha Pun­jabi is of the view that such a gim­mick might work, as young­sters may think that “the film­mak­ers man­aged to pull of some­thing re­ally cool and crazy.”

Every­one wants to sell their wares in a clut­tered mar­ket­ing space, but no one should do il­le­gal things. A stunt may cre­ate in­trigue; it doesn’t work for pro­mo­tion VIKRAM BHATT, FILM­MAKER All is fair in love and war and pro­mo­tions un­til peo­ple’s per­sonal health and safety are com­pro­mised. There’s a fine line that needn’t be crossed RICHA CHADHA, AC­TOR

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