afaqs!

Paa paves the way in movie marketing

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | November 16, 2009
The family movie has lined up a series of interesting activities around the central character, Auro. It is not a document on a condition called progeria

R Balakrishnan, better known as Balki, is ready to open his second film to the audience in the first week of December. The movie, called Paa, deals with a father-son relationship; Abhishek Bachchan plays father to real life father Amitabh Bachchan in the movie. The film also marks the return of AB Corp, previously known as ABCL, which was re-launched as AB Corp in 2003.

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Before Paa, Balki wrote and directed Cheeni Kum, his debut movie; Amitabh Bachchan was the lead actor in that film, too. Paa is the emotional journey of a father and his son, Auro, who suffers from progeria, a condition where he grows nearly five times faster than normal, making him look much older than his 13 years.

The film is slated for release on December 4 and the pre-release promotional activity has kick started a month ahead. The teaser campaign, where Auro (Amitabh Bachchan who plays the 13 year old) is peeping out of a cardboard box, hit the TV screens on November 4. A trailer of the movie is also doing the rounds.

Along with the teaser and trailer, outdoor hoardings were also released. Balki shares some of the other activities that have been planned around the movie. A website for the movie, www.paathefilm.com, has been created, which is also available on mobile. The website has links to the Facebook and Twitter pages of Paa. The website has received more than 55,000 unique visitors until now.

Mall activities have been chalked out in a couple of big malls around the city. One is called 'Paa and I', where a child could be the father for the day, clicking pictures in the famous pose from the movie (where Abhishek Bachchan carries his 13 year old son Auro) and others. The pictures will later be assembled into a collage.

A cinema activity for the promotion uses a slide that says 'Stand up for the national anthem, or I'll tell Paa', using the slide before a movie commences and the audience is requested to stand up for the national anthem. Similar messages are displayed while making an announcement to switch off cell phones in the theatre and also on trash cans within multiplexes.

Balki says, "We have done the usual things, but used them well."

Balki is very clear that he doesn't want Amitabh Bachchan the actor but Auro the character to be the star of the movie. Hence every effort is being taken to put Auro in the forefront. During the cricket series, when a wicket was taken, it was supported with a small figure of Auro on the screen, doing the 'Auro dance'.

The movie isn't a treatise on the condition of progeria, clarifies Balki, but an emotional story about a family. No stone will be left unturned to promote the film among the masses. Rahul Nanda, partner and creative head, H1, the publicity company, shares that there is a different strategy in place while targeting the regional areas of the country through newspapers.

All these events are planned before the launch and comprise the first phase of the marketing for Paa. Following the release, another slew of activities will begin to roll. The probable events are chat shows and interviews on TV and radio with Auro, where a static Auro will be present in the studio and a voiceover of Amitabh Bachchan will answer the questions. In the multiplexes where the movie will be playing, one screen may be converted into a classroom.

Sending Auro back to school is also on the cards. Here, however, he will not be dressed as Auro because morphing into Auro through prosthetics and make-up is an arduous four hour long process. Also, post release, certain ties ups and participation of audiences will be carried out.

The family movie is geared up for its theatrical performance.