Movie making is a serious business. Emphasis on business because cinema is no longer a medium that is solely dedicated to the art of film making. Like every business, its existence is hinged on the profit and loss scale where the profit needs to outweigh the loss for the sake of long-term survival. There is so much that goes behind the scenes, so many stages that a film has to go through before it is released for the audience to see, that it becomes nearly impossible for a film to remain a venture that can afford to be unprofitable.
Why are movie promotions so important?
So, how do movie makers make sure that their movies make them a profit? Well, that happens by ensuring that the audience actually goes to watch the movie. And that is done by sending the word of awareness out to the audiences about the movie that they have made. In other words, movie promotions matter a lot and the promotion period can actually go a long way in affecting the fate of the film.
Parey Hut Love, the Asim Raza directorial, still has at least three months to go before it gets released. The movie hasn’t started its official promotion period yet. But when I examine all the news related to the movie right from its announcement to the writing of this article, I can’t help but wonder that despite not officially stepping in the promotion race yet, PHL has been winning this promotion game.
The case of Parey Hut Love
For starters, there has been no negative buzz about the movie. It might not sound like a lot but when we look at the news about all the upcoming releases, we can see this evident wave of confusion around some of them. With the way the release dates keep getting announced and then changed, it’s not hard to see that there is no solid plan that is being followed by those movies.
On the other hand, Parey Hut Love has solidly stuck to a plan. Back in March 2018 when the film was announced (when Mahira Khan was to play the lead role in it, making it her third venture opposite Sheheryar Munawar), there was news that the film would go on floors around the August-September time with Eid-ul-Azha 2019 as the release date. Despite the minor hiccup of Mahira bowing out of the film as a lead due to schedule conflict and retaining her part in it as a special appearance, Asim and his team still managed to stick by the plan they had originally made. The film started production in September, with Maya Ali taking on the lead role alongside Sheheryar Munawar, and by the end of December 2018, the team had thrown a lavish press conference announcing the wrap of the film and making the Eid ul Azha 2019 the official date for its release.
What Asim Raza himself has to say
Asim Raza has recently talked about the importance of inclusivity in the industry; that filmmakers shouldn’t be so singularly focused on their own projects that they end up harming the industry. It is something Asim has done practically with the way all developments regarding PHL have never been hidden from the media. When he talks about having a long-term plan for every film right from production to release, he isn’t only all talk but he has set up an example with his second directorial feature.
“It is all part of a deliberate plan,” said Asim when I got in touch with him to talk about the topic. “Considering the limited number of screens and the issues that arise when movies get cluttered at the last moment, it is very important for everyone to know these developments. The plan is to be fair to everyone, including our film. This creates an inclusive environment and it also allows your audience to be part of the process and have certain ownership over the film.”
A word on PHL’s promotional strategy
The other very interesting win for the film is that despite being in news for over a year, we still haven’t seen anything of the film. Now, I call it an interesting win because this promotional strategy, where the buzz being created for the film is being done so in an indirect way, not only grabs the attention of the audience but it does so without tiring them. Too much and too little of something are both dangerous territories to tread in and Parey Hut Love has managed to find the sweet spot in between these two places.
The only official content released for the movie has been a motion poster, a one-minute long behind-the-scenes video about the making of the film, and a couple of very vague posters for Maya, Sheheryar, and Mahira. The film’s official Instagram profile has posts dedicated to almost all the principal actors of the film but done so in a way that doesn’t reveal much about the film itself. This creates interest without over-doing it.
Parey Hut Love is supposed to be a “classic romance” so it is crucial for the film’s hero-heroine to have the chemistry to sell that romance. And well, if the recent shoot for a magazine that Maya and Sheheryar have done, they have that chemistry in abundance. Even if we take away the glamour of a well-directed magazine photoshoot, the time this duo spent in Europe as they raised funds for the construction of a cancer hospital is evidence enough that these two people share comfort and a bond that could very well create magic on screen.
All of this contributes towards creating a buzz for the film but without the official tag of promotions on it. Be it the promise of Maya and Sheheryar’s chemistry in the film, or Mahira’s special song number, Meera’s special appearance, or Fawad Khan’s cameo in the film – Parey Hut Love has nailed the tact of being in the news for all the right reasons.
Why the delay in releasing teasers/trailers?
So, why hasn’t anything from the film seen the light of the day yet? We asked the same question from Asim Raza and here is what he had to say:
“Personally, I believe the trailer for the film should come no more than a month before the film’s release,” explained Asim when I asked him why the film hasn’t even released its teaser yet. “We don’t want the audience to get bored of the film through its trailer way before the film is even released. This is the reason for all these indirect promotions.”
Of course, right now Asim’s focus is on finishing the editing of the film; a task that is taking all his concentration and energy. He added that once the film’s edit is complete, they would move towards other steps of releasing more content from the film. But the way they have carried on creating the buzz for the film, it is not wrong to say that the approach towards promoting the film would be similar to how it has been till now.
“I get so lost in the process of finishing up my film that I get no time for doing anything else. It means that I have to sacrifice on a few things but that is just how I work. We have worked hard on this project and of course, we want this to work with the audience. No one wants their hard work to not reach the audience properly. We have plans for how to carry out the official promotions for Parey Hut Love and all of that would be revealed in due time.”
From what I have seen of the film’s promotional strategies so far, it looks like Asim and his team is on the right way of creating buzz for the film. It sends a positive message of inclusivity to the industry as a whole. And until the film starts its official promotions, there is enough excitement for the movie created already that has me eagerly waiting for Eid ul Azha when I’d be finally able to experience this Asim Raza extravaganza on the big screen, like it is meant to be enjoyed.