Mama marketing’s miracle & Mainstream media’s madness


Mama marketing’s miracle

Sonakshi Sinha, in her debut role, with Salman Khan in film Dabangg (“Fearless”). PHOTO/Glamsham

The marketing technique has such a mind numbing effect on many people that they get ready to buy things which usually they either don’t need or cannot afford—though the advertisers would call this imposition, the art of selling. The big companies also conduct scientific research on consumer tastes and explore the ways to get consumers addicted to their brands. The launching of new products now resembles a war, not a minor one, but a US style all out attack with overwhelming force.

Indian companies have also started applying similar strategies. The Indian film industry is not far behind in taking advantage of this method and ripping huge benefits.

The makers and the cast of the film Dabangg, released on September 10 (the day coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr), used aggressive tactics to promote their film. The people were bombarded with ads and programs, and the Dabangg team showed up on various TV channels—they even donated blood under the glare of media. (One has to appreciate, however, the secular message.) A twenty two minute two parts video, “the making of Dabangg,” is also released where the team is responding to queries by Shatrughan Sinha (the heroine’s real dad, himself an actor but not in this film). The co-producer Arbaaz Khan and his brother Salman Khan, film’s hero, are full of praise for the script written by the film’s director. There is nothing new in the story and the screenplay, in some places, seems disjointed.

The over enthusiastic reviewers have over-praised the film—especially, Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India. For her, Dabangg is to be enjoyed as a non-sensible entertainment. The problem is that the film is unevenly entertaining, and is not like Farah Khan’s 2007 film Om Shanti Om or last year’s block buster 3 Idiots which were truly entertaining throughout. However, Salman Khan’s acting is very good and Sonakshi Sinha should get herself ready for a bright future.

The movie Dabangg has broken the previous record of highest first week collection set by 3 Idiots. The co-producing company’s shares or stocks have gone by 8.3%. The makers of Dabangg have already announced a sequel.

This is the power of marketing: it can make you forget the mediocrity of the product and incites you to climb onto the praise-wagon.

Mainstream media’s madness

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The mainstream or dominant media in any country has the hold on the majority of the people and this in turn gives it the power to influence people’s thinking and decisions in the manner it would like to see. Under authoritarian regimes, it is the government which controls the media and so there is little or no room for private or independent channels—unless they toe the official line. In capitalist countries, the power rests with the corporations—which also exerts immense hold on the governments. But nowadays, the media is enjoying or over enjoying its freedom in most of the countries and so from right wing rubbish to entertaining nonsense has become the routine.

Since the early 1990s, when the Indian government (with Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, at present he is the Prime Minister), opted for more privatization, the private TV channels have cropped up in big number. And it is following the universal trend of infotainment—which nowadays has less and less information and more and more entertainment—if one can call that entertainment. The entertainment and fashion related news and tidbits have found special channels, besides taking up decent amount of time from the regular TV channels. Many a times,it is, what I would call, “assumptainment.” One example follows:

Actress/model Katrina Kaif (Hong Kong born of English mother and Indian father, and raised in Hawaii, and later in England) got her first film role in a 2003 Indian film. She has been close to Salman Khan and his family, who have helped her the most as she was new in India, a fact she has acknowledged on several occasions. Neither she nor Khan has ever publicly said anything about their relationship because they think it is their personal life. However, the media people (now on 24 hour channels, continuously repeating the same things), have to make their bread and butter and steak for their owners and so indulge in making pure assumptions.

The following is my unembellished translation from the Hindi/Urdu program “World of Bollywood.”

Good news for Salman-Katrina’s fans. To marry Salman, Katrina is willing to go to any length. And that’s why Katrina is getting closer to Salman’s family. That’s right! Katrina arranged a special screening of her film Rajneeti for Salman’s family, where the whole Khan “Khan”daan [means family in several South Asian languages] was present; that means Katrina has fully made up her mind to be Salman’s bride.

Have a look! [Different videos show Katrina with Salman and other actors.]

The good news is on the way for Salman-Katrina’s fans: Now Katrina has decided she’ll do anything to become Salman’s bride. Katrina has already made room in Salman’s heart, now Katrina doesn’t want to give up any chance of getting near to Salman’s family. That’s why Katrina is playing the game of rajneeti [means politics] with Salman’s family.

Don’t get shocked. This rajneeti of Katrina is to make room [for herself] in Salman’s house. In fact, Katrina arranged a special screening of her recently released film Rajneeti for Khan “Khan”daan, where from Salman’s sister Alvira to his mom Salma Khan and [his dad] Salim Khan himself were present too. Including Salim [!*], everyone liked Katrina’s role very much. Thus, the Khan family has put a seal of approval on Katina’s name.

It’s obvious that right now Katrina’s heart is obstinate to become Salman’s bride and now she wants to be a part of Salman’s family. And this special screening was a beginning in that connection, and to very extent, it did succeed. Before that, she herself had told an English daily that by 2012 she wants to get married and settled down.

Don’t know why but Salman’s heart is continuously ignoring Katrina and that’s why Katrina has now decided that she would make some room in Salman and his family’s heart too. Besides, Katrina herself has said on many occasions that in Mumbai [formerly Bombay] nobody gave her the support which the Khan family gave her and that’s why she considers herself close to Salman’s family—even though, Salman was not present at Rajneeti’s special screening which shows that Salman is causing the delay. Yes, few days back, by tweeting, Salman had expressed his desire to watch Rajneeti.

But by arranging the screening of Rajneeti for Salman’s family, Katrina has once again tried to put wings on her hopes. Besides, Katrina was very excited at the response she received for her film.

Now what is to be watched is when Salman’s heart melts for Katrina and when do Salman-Katrina’s marriage takes place?

The only news in the above 422 words and 3:18 minutes segment is: Katrina arranged a special screening of her film Rajneeti for Salman’s family, where the whole Khan “Khan”daan was present. That is just 19 words and less than 10 seconds. The person reporting didn’t meet Katrina nor did she talk with any of the Khan family members, so all else is a made-up stuff.

Just a couple of points:

Going to any length? Arranging special screening is common and when you’re close to a certain family it’s simply a natural thing to do.

Seal of approval? Did the Khan family told her that Katrina is going to be our daughter-in-law?

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

*Usually reporters are careful to add a suffix or a prefix of respect with the names of senior people; probably in her excitement, she forgot to put Shri or Sahab.

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