Over the last month, every other serial on TV has faced the promotional onslaught of two films. First came Chennai Express. The gorgeous Deepika Padukone and the man who has aced the marketing card for years - Mr Shah Rukh Khan. They danced, talked, laughed and made sure that all TRPs were their own - at least for that day.
Doesn’t matter how much money changed hands, we don’t get into greenback discussions here - Deepika and Shah Rukh, with Rohit Shetty in tow, made sure that everyone was talking about Chennai Express. They were on Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, Madhubala, Comedy Nights with Kapil, Indian Idol Junior, Diya Aur Baati, Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and god alone knows how many more. We lost track. Then of course there was the Fashion Week that also paid their dues to the stars by making them show stoppers. King Khan charmed his way into every viewer’s house and his leading lady played the perfect foil in her very well-chosen wardrobe.
End result? Chennai Express is at Rs 150 crore and counting in its second week running, Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobara’s release notwithstanding. If trade analysts have it right, Chennai Express will soon (if it has not already) derail Ek Tha Tiger’s revenues from last year. According to a website, Chennai Express raked in Rs 28.05 crore by Day 2. Ek Tha Tiger was at Rs 23.06 crore on Day 5. Do your math.
Next came Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobara. They pretty much followed the same promotional trajectory of reality shows, sitcoms and city tours; pretty much the same shows that the Chennai Express team had hit weeks prior - perhaps give or take a few. However, one thing was conspicuous. Akshay Kumar seemed to have let his younger co-stars do all the running around. Imran and Sonakshi went all over the place, Akshay was picky and almost seemed disinterested in all the hullabaloo. Sonakshi seemed well in her groove, you have to give it to her, she had good practice with Lootera.
OUATIMD seems to be a damp squib in the box office. Opening figures have been decent, but going by the looks of it - it seems that the run won’t be that glorious. There’s Satyagraha coming up next week - however we don’t see much promoting happening on that front - that’s another story.
While it is a little absurd to peg Chennai Express’ success on the promotional campaigns alone and blame Akshay’s half-hearted promotional participation for the impending crash-and-burn of OUATIMD; you cannot completely dissociate it either.
Given SRK is a total charmer, given that he knows his audience better than anyone else, given that he IS one of the most bankable actors in Bollywood despite some total BO duds - but Akshay is not exactly alien to the game either.
When Jhinuk Sen is not procrastinating on Twitter, she is changing channels.