FILMS: A lot is at stake for director Nikhil Advani and the leading pair of Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.
A bumpkin from the narrow gullies of Chandni Chowk in old Delhi finds himself in China. He learns the martial arts and goes through a series of adventures there. The storyline of Chandni Chowk to China may not sound like a potboiler but appears a reasonably good recipe for success.
Still, Warner Brothers, which has produced the film along with Sippy Productions, has left nothing to chance. The marketing support is heavy duty. After all, a lot hangs on the film which is slated to hit the theatres on Friday, January 16.
Director Nikhil Advani desperately needs a hit after his previous directorial attempt, Salaam-e-Ishq, flopped miserably.
Action man Akshay Kumar needs to keep up the momentum after the phenomenal success of Singh is Kinng. Rivals Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan have delivered mega hits in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini, respectively. If the film fails, Kumar will have to play second fiddle to the Khans, at least for a while. Chandni Chowk to China must succeed if Kumar wants to remain the highest paid star of Bollywood.
And leading lady Deepika Padukone needs a success formula for her career. Though her last film, Bachna Ae Haseeno, did well commercially, she got little credit for its success.
This clearly explains why the film’s lead stars, Kumar and Padukone, are going whole hog to promote the film. In Mumbai, last month, some media persons were invited over parathas (in keeping with the theme of the film) to look at 25 minutes of exclusive footage on the film.
On MTV, Kumar has flagged off Roadies, an extremely popular show with the youth. The two have been seen on various programmes on other popular channels too. Kumar’s new commercial for Thums Up (a Coca-Cola brand that he’s endorsed for long) plays on the theme of the film. From what one hears, the drink makes an appearance in the film too.
Then there’s Fiama De Wills, a brand that Padukone endorses. The stylist for the film, Jaimal Odebra, was brought in through this ITC brand. The spokesperson for the film says that there’s not been too much in-film branding in Chandni Chowk to China.
The film will have a plethora of paid previews too. According to the spokesperson, as many as 650 paid preview shows across the country will be held on January 15, 2009. Multiplex exhibitor Fame Cinemas alone will have as many as 45 paid shows on Thursday night. In fact, Fame Cinemas will have a show as early as 7 am!
Made at a multi-crore budget, Chandni Chowk to China will be released with 1,300 prints. The promoters want to get the film as many international audiences as possible. It has already had premieres in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and London — cities where the Indian population is large. The film is also set to premiere in Hong Kong and Dubai.
Since Warner Brothers has produced the film, the US market is being looked at closely. According to Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution, Warner Pictures, the film will release in more than 125 screens in the US and will have one of the biggest openings in the markets there.
In an interesting marketing move, the trailer of the film also debuted on Apple.com in December 2008, making Chandni Chowk to China the first Bollywood film to do so. Then there’s a new video game ,CC2C, which can be downloaded from the official website.
Chandni Chowk to China is Warner Brothers’ second Bollywood film. It is the first film ever to be shot on the Great Wall of China. “No other film,” says the spokesperson, “has ever managed to shoot a film there.” The film also features Gordon Liu, the Chinese action film veteran.