There’s a new, cinemascope-sized campaign out for an upcoming film which is beguiling Bombayites into lowering their precious N95 masks for a better look.
Is it the oddness of its premise? The plainness of its ego-centric and heretofore unknown lead actor? Or is it the chutzpah and bravado with which he has plastered his mug all over the place – opening himself up to sublime ridicule from the sneering masses of our city.
Nasser Khan is a classic Bollywood wannabe – he possesses the typically inadequate attributes melded together in a tragic combination which suggest a life of unfulfilled cinematic yearning; and he couples these fatal flaws and the lack of an x-factor with the heartbreaking enthusiasm which one regularly sees up and down the leaden streets of Lokhandwala.
Except he is different. He faces a handicap most newcomers could not hope to see around: He is blind.
Thanks to the epic journey he has taken to create and release his self-embracing vanity project, he has made the entire clan of primping, preening B-town hopefuls look like shy debutantes.
While we will stay away from casting judgment over the manner in which Nasser has exploited his handicap, we must say that we are mighty impressed at a few best practices emerging from his attempt to emerge from obscurity:
A FEW POINTERS IN THE ART OF SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION (see also Verma, Ram Gopal)
Rule No 1: Believe your own hype. Remove every shadow of doubt.
Rule No 2: Co-opt other people to push your story. Smitten good samaritan Sallu attends Shadow‘s mahurat, ‘serious’ actress and co-star Sonali Kulkarni makes the following non-ironic quote: “(Nasser is) the only man I have met with extraordinary vision”, NGOs talk up the “un-romanticized” version of his dramatic tale.
Rule No 3: Prepare yourself for failure with a pre-emptive strike on your detractors. See this HT story, which brims over with passive aggressive barbs and sets up a trap for anyone wishing our hero ill.
We’re not sure that he needs it, but we wish Nasser all the luck with his career.
He has certainly shown more foresight than co-star Milind Soman, who, despite his God-given-gifts, proves, with his presence in this project, that his upcoming biography is very aptly titled A FEW POINTERS IN THE ART OF BLOWING EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT AND DISAPPEARING FROM PUBLIC MEMORY ENTIRELY
Readers interested in the bittersweet game of life that is Bollywood would do much better watching Supermen of Malegaon, an absolutely precious documentary following the heroics of a bunch of small-town Indian filmmakers whose hilarious and hugely inventive movies are no doubt top-shelf material in the Be Kind Rewind library.
There’s a standout scene in Supermen where all the camera equipment (basically an 80s camcorder and tripod) falls into a river, along with the movie’s epopnymous superman, which provides more drama and pathos than Nasser Khan could hope to produce through his entire repertoire of circus stunts and self-aggrandizement.
In traditional style, Shadow has been declared a hit on arrival – even if the declaration has been made by the filmmakers themselves… see attached ad.
These so-called success ads, success parties, etc are released with such predictable frequency that you’ve got to expect they’ve become a blunt marketing instrument. The savage reviews this film has received should also help keep crowds away. Finally, there’s word of mouth, read this interesting article about how instant WOM is helping audiences beat the machinations of fraudulent movie marketers.