Bollywood bizarre!

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By Hindustan Times

New Delhi, Sept. 29 -- Bizarre promotional strategies seem to be the norm when it comes to promoting movies in Bollywood these days. Take, for example, the lie-detector instrument, that'll welcome those coming in to watch John Abraham starrer Jhootha Hi Sahi, which releases soon.

Movie-goers will be required to answer a question after placing their thumb on it, and if it changes colour, they're lying. Similar lie-detector cards will also be distributed along with the music CD of the movie. "Audience involvement has been used as a key factor for the film's on-ground promotion," says Apurv Nagpal of the production company. Last year, condoms were sent along with an invite to the premiere of Dev D, and a phone line was set up for people to call on and discuss relationships problems. "It was completely outlandish because of the kind of film Dev D was," says Shikha Kapoor of UTV Motion Pictures.

For the low-budget film, Peepli Live, actor-producer Aamir Khan took on the task of doing the film's PR. When news broke about singers of the film's popular song, Mahangai dayan, they were invited to perform live at the music launch to cash in on the controversy. To promote Udaan, a film about a rebellious boy, co-producer, Anurag Kashyap resorted to bashing a car in public. "It tapped into the need to let out the pent up anger in each of us and it struck a chord with the audience," says Kapoor.

But, trying too hard is hardly the way to go. When film-maker Ram Gopal Varma hung a dummy dead body on billboards for the promotion of Agyaat, a police complaint was filed against him. "Anything out-of-the-box calls attention. A dummy body hanging would have been a bizarre sight for anyone. Imagine if you saw one!" says Varma.

OTHER PUBLICITY GIMMICKS

Love Sex Aur Dhoka (2009): The film's makers sent out stabbed stuffed toys and distributed break up cards Ghajini (2008): Aamir Khan gave fans haircuts identical to his in the film.