Why films fail? Marketing lessons from Bollywood failures…

This is very basic observation. But it needs mention, because it has slipped the attention of many in the Bollywood.

A film, is an Audio-Visual story, an entertainment product. Now the basic function of a film as a product must be to tell a story through the effective use of Audio and Visual. On any one or all of these media, sometimes even the most aniticipated and hyped films fall short.

Inaudible Audio :

I recently saw Jab Tak Hai Jaan on SET MAX. A very good film, acted by my favorite, a veteran, Shah Rukh Khan and directed by the legend Yash Chopra. But, while watching the film, I came across 8-10 instances where the dialogs are either :

a) Delivered too fast OR

b) Spoken in very low volume voice (whispers), which are hardly audible

Invisible Video :

Some films, even though directed by great directors, have some scenes where there is a stark darkness on the screen, coupled with strange, inaudible audio, where audience has to struggle hard to make sense of what is going on. Ravan (2010) by Mani Ratnam is one such example which comes to my mind.

Ineffective Storytelling :

Many films, fail to tell the story in a coherent manner. I remember going to watch Khatta Meetha (Akshay Kumar) with a lot of hope to see something as good as the funny original Khatta Meetha. But here, the story was moving so erratically, with many illogical cuts and joints, that one felt it was complete waste of time.

The end result of such audio which is not audible, the video which is not visible and the story which does not hold our attention, the average person (and there are a lot of such people like me), feels disconnected from the film. Many such instances in the same film, and the disconnection results in irritation. This results in bad word of mouth. And the films don’t live up to the expectations or hype. Regardless of SRK, Akshay Kumar, Yash Chopra, Mani Ratnam or whatever or whoever.

One reason for such shortcomings could be that they as actors, directors or editors watch the film or scenes too many times. So, they don’t realize the problems which the person watching it for the first time may face. Technically perfect, marketed with a lot of style and noise, the Bollywood products fail because such simple ideas are missed even by veterans.

Marketing lesson : A product must deliver on the basic promises it makes. An audio visual story should have three basic elements delivered clearly : Audio, Visuals and Story. The Bollywood must remember that a lot of ordinary people like me go to watch their films. If they make their films understandable only by highly intelligent and smart people, they will get very few of them, because they are in only a small fraction and also sometimes Bollywood is beyond their taste… Typical Bollywood fans come to watch films for entertainment, not to tax their ears, eyes or brains.


Author: Sanjay Shah

Sanjay is the author of "Business Management Simplified" which provides Practical, Actionable Solutions for Entrepreneurs. It is an all-in-one guidebook to start, run and grow a small and mid-size business to the next level. He is also an SME Business Coach, Seminar Leader and Motivational/Keynote speaker, Sanjay is based in Mumbai (India). He advises many businesses on Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Branding, Customer Experience Management and Organization Development. He conducts various self-help seminars and workshops for companies and groups in English, Hindi and Gujarati. For more info, visit : www.SanjayShahSeminar.com

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