Khichdi The Movie is the film adaptation of the popular Hindi TV comedy series. The film opened in October 2010. Being a small film for a fairly niche audience, the aim of the marketing campaign was to remind viewers of the original series about the comedy style, and to try to introduce the cast to newer viewers, all while keeping the marketing budget to a minimum.
What are the challenges?
- Small film, no star actors or hot music to back it up.
- Being derived from a TV serial is a double edged sword. Fans of the original show will probably see it anyway. Those with a neutral opinion of the show can be persuaded through additional marketing. Those with a negative opinion of the show probably can’t be persuaded.
- TV is also enjoyed in a different manner, with a different level of focus to a film. The film’s writing has to be good enough to keep people glued to the screen for two hours, rather than 30 mins. There will likely by some doubt regarding whether the film will be of the quality required.
- Opening against two huge films: Robot and Anjaana Anjaani.
Step One – keep it in the family.
The original serial screened on Star Plus and the film was made by Fox Star Studios. By leveraging the group’s assets, and looking for catchy ideas for PR stunts, the marketing budgets can be minimized.
Road Block (get people talking)
To grab attention, the 2.5 minute trailer of Khichdi The Movie was screened across all of Star’s 18 channels. This is a tactic usually used by much bigger films, but hey, if its your film and your TV channels, you can do what you want.
Keep Popping Up Everywhere (keep the conversation going)
The film’s cast also made guest appearances on many of the shows on the Star channels. These include Sasuraal Genda Phool (Star Plus) Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma (SAB) and Rang Badalti Odhani (Star One).
In order to get people talking about the film, they organized several screenings for groups that can be considered as influencers: the Indian Medical Association, for doctors, and for the ladies of the Indian Merchant Chamber.
And their kids….
A smattering of digital, including posts on lots of film related websites. Online competitions to win tickets to screenings.
PR Stunts (to stay in the news)
The team displayed the first poster for the film in public, outside Shahrukh Khan’s house. Why? Because he was a TV actor who made it in film, and now they are hoping to do the same thing. A big crowd and lots of press gathered in the hope that SRK would come out and join the fuss. He didn’t, but of course everyone still went back to their keyboards and wrote about it.
And the best way to follow that up, is of course to have SRK come and meet the cast a few days before the film releases and to get a couple of good quotes from him, such as ““Please go out and watch this film if you feel like laughing with your family, I can assure you it will be a fun filled evening”. Awwww how shweet.
Cheap but catchy.
Cardboard cut-outs incorporating distorting mirrors were placed in cinema lobbies. People waiting for other films could entertain themselves by walking up to the display and seeing their reflection distort in comical ways. Innovation like this is far more eye catching that the regular displays in these locations.
Leveraging the channels within the Star network allowed for reduced expenditure on the outdoor media that would normally be essential for a small film like Khichdi the Movie.
Still waiting for box office figures, however I have been told the first weekend takings were around Rs.5Cr, which is probably respectable for a film like this with a predominantly single screen audience, opening against 2 huge films.