One of the most irritating aspect of Bollywood is the way it executes “Product Placement” in its movies. Remember Veere Di Wedding? A three-hour orgy of product-advertisement-juggernaut which was more of a glorified advertisement than an actual movie! The movie was a case in point on how not to place products in a movie. It might give them added revenue, but hurt much more in terms of disrupting the flow of the story.
In Hollywood movies, a product is intricately woven into the story. A person using a Mac is a person who should be using a Mac. It never feels forced upon the audience. And the introduction is so subtle that it impacts more at subconscious level. Never distracting you from the flow of the story. It should not be done at the cost of the aesthetic of the scene.
But Bollywood movies just bring in any product as long as it is getting good moolah out of it. The product placement is absurd. Even funny, which becomes apparent at once. Even damaging the potential impact of the scene. Bollywood is yet to grasp this form of marketing.
But if you thought Veere Di Wedding was over the top, wait till you watch Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanjay Dutt (so called) Biopic “Sanju.” Through this movie, Hirani has taken product placement at a whole new level. For the product he is placing is not a physical product like a phone or a laptop or ‘bikaji’ namkeen. But a living human being – Sanjay Dutt.
Sanjay Dutt is the Product of the movie
Yes. The two-hour forty five minutes movie is a blatant promotional advertisement focused on selling one product. Sanju Baba. Message being – Baba might be a brat. Baba might be a drug addict. Baba might be a casanova. But Baba isn’t a terrorist. This is the one message that runs throughout the length of the movie. So much that by the end of the movie you feel like saying “Yes, Yes, Baba is not bad, I agree, but don’t repeat it anymore. But Hirnai doesn’t stop. Even as the end-credits start rolling, On-screen & Off-screen Sanjay Dutt joins together in a Music Video and start the cacophony again!
And the sad part is that, even after so much effort, movie fails to make you believe in that message. The message feel like more begged then made to feel. Not once I believed in Sanjay Dutt’s Story. The message more being forced down your throat rather you feeling it in your bones. (Can’t help feeling like this having recently watched Lion, a 2016 movie starring Dev Patel. Watch it if you hav not. It leaves you in tears with sheer power of acting and no-nonsense story.)
The main reason which drew towards the movie was the uncanny portrayal of Sanju by Ranbir Kapoor which I’d seen in the trailers.
Also I didn’t have much background on Sanjay Dutt’s backstory. So I went into the movie theater without any prejudice. The trailers looked promising. With the help of prosthetic, and the talent that Ranbir Kapoor is, the trailers promised, at least, a thrilling acting performance by Ranbir Kapoor.
But even that was missing from the movie.
Also published on Medium.