Bollywood’s Risque New Ads
Since Darwin sailed to the Galapagos, it’s become apparent humans are basically machines bent on survival and reproduction—and these instincts can be subtly manipulated by savvy industrialists looking to unload everything from cheap watches and sunglasses to music and movies.
The promotional campaigns currently causing a stir in Bollywood are centered on three films: Hate Story, Jism 2, and Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum. The posters relatively depict a topless mystery girl straddling a male actor, a nude woman lying outstretched under a wet and transparent sheet, and barebacked beauty lying in the sand with man hands all over her.
Vivek Agnihotri who directed Hate Story, which is being touted as India’s first onscreen erotica, has emphatically denied exploiting sexuality to sell the film: “We are not using sex as a marketing tool for this film. We have made an erotic thriller, and we are marketing it as an erotica film.”
Nevertheless, it has to be said that the film is generating an awful lot of buzz thanks to the dare to bare scenes of Bengali actor Paoli Dam.
Kumar Mohan, a member of India’s Film Publicity Clearance Committee maintains that all publicity materials related to India’s film industry are checked before release. However, he acquiesces, “sometimes, going by the content of the film, some bold posters have to be passed.”
Whether or not studios will effectively recover production costs by uncovering eager young actors remains to be seen. For those easily seduced by splashy ads and filmy propaganda, buyer’s remorse looms as an ever-present danger. After all, Bollywood is hardly the first industry to try and camouflage a mediocre product in seductive wrapping.