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Padmavati controversy brewing up – Viacom releases Sanjay Bhansali’s video appeal

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Padmavati, Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the Rs 190-crore budget film has landed in a massive controversy with several Rajput community groups such as Karni Sena. These groups are alleging that the movie distorts historical facts. Looking at the present situation the release date has been postponed which was earlier set for December 1, 2017.

Watch Video: Here’s what Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali had to say:

Padmavati controversy brewing up – Viacom releases Sanjay Bhansali's video appeal Viacom18 Motion Pictures PadmavatiClick the link for Full article https://goo.gl/5ubTpb

Posted by CreativSoulz – Jobs & Portfolios on 20 नोव्हेंबर 2017

Several people and groups have approached the Supreme Court to ban the film, but to the benefit of the producers the apex court for the second time, this month refused to ban the film. However, no one is heeding the Supreme Court’s judgement as besides Rajasthan the release of the film is already in jeopardy as many states have already called for a ban of the film. The state governments of Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have announced that the film will be banned in their states, putting it at risk of more States joining in. The debate has managed to bring different political parties to the forefront.

“Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind ‘Padmavati’ has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1, 2017… We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies including the Central Board of Film Certification. We always have and are committed to continuing following the established procedure and convention. We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film. We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course,” the company spokesperson said in a statement issued to us when we reached out to them.

However, it is undeniable that the movie is in quite a soup and the situation is taking a political turn with the upcoming elections at hand.

A BJP official from Haryana announced a bounty on the head of Sanjay Leela Bhansali while another fringe group leader announced a reward to anyone who would cut Bhansali’s head and nose of Deepika Padukone. Their statements completely disregarded the law and provoked violence.

 

While the release date of the film is a question for now, but an even bigger question is its brand associations. Padmavati is a big budget movie and brand associations bring in a substantial amount of revenue for producers.

Padmavati’s Attractiveness to Brands

Even though the film’s release has been deferred, jewellery brand Tanishq, which announced its association with the film in September, has continued its ad campaign across various digital platforms.

The brand released its Padmavati collection of jewellery and launched outdoor ads with film’s lead actress Deepika Padukone wearing the jewellery plastered in several places.

Usually, a big budget film of this scale is a property that many brands are keen on tying up with. However, apart from Tanishq, no other brand has announced its association with the film till now.

“Obviously, brands do not like any form of controversy. I don’t think any brand enters any form of association hoping that something like this will happen. Padmavati was a big movie to begin with, which would have opened strongly even if it was not controversial. We are in uncharted waters here. When you talk about blue-chip brands and large established companies they are not looking for a short blitz caused by certain sensationalism,” says Ajay Mehta, CEO, Interactive Television.

Mehta further adds that brands will closely look at how this stir with Padmavati ends. “If the movie gets released after a few weeks then everything will be okay, but it is stalled and there is no idea when it will be released, or if it is released and there is fear of some agitations, it may have an impact on brand associations,” adds Mehta.

However, Naresh Gupta, CSO and Managing Partner of Bang in the Middle feel that eventually the film will get released despite the controversy and brands will associate with it. “At this point in time, whatever controversy maybe happening I don’t think people are even realising about the brand tie-up. The controversy is in the movie and if a brand was extensively marketing the movie with the brand then it is a different matter. A movie which is this big will have multiple tie-ups and you can’t do a movie without multiple tie-ups at this time. Once it gets released I don’t think a controversy will come into play,” says Mehta.

Till now only one big jewellery brand has tied up with the film. It leaves a huge opportunity for several brands to partner with the film and reaches their audiences.

Ahmed Naqvi, CEO and Co-Founder, Gozoop feels that while a lot of established and big brands would be wary of associating with the film, there would be emerging brands that would want to associate with take the situation as an opportunity to get higher eyeballs. “A lot of emerging brands could consider it and have the risk appetite and take this as opportunity to really reach out to its audience and resonate to values of what that audience really stands for. But if a brand is such that its target audience would hate it (the film) or if it is a very large brand where all kinds of public opinion are extremely important, they would be very wary of associating with such a kind of an activity,” says Naqvi.

One of the experts also pointed that the films set in history too have a little limitation to them as there are a lot of brand categories which may not be able to associate with this kind of film due to their products.

“Given the fact it is set in history Tanishq can be an integral part (of the film). Yes, if some brand was associating with the film in the last week they might have been deterred it because of the controversy,” mentions Mehta.

Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director of Samsika Marketing Consultants says that most brands choose to stick with non-controversial things as they attract instead of distract from their goal.

While there has been a lot of protests, Padmavati, the film has also been garnering a lot of support from people on social media and other quarters.