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Business News/ Industry / Media/  Off-Key: Theatre owners concerned over lack of buzz around Bollywood tunes
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Off-Key: Theatre owners concerned over lack of buzz around Bollywood tunes

Strategic promotion of music can still play a pivotal role in a film's commercial success.

The success of recent films like Pathaan and Animal underscores that effective music can still be crucial in building anticipation before a movie's release. (Screengrab from YouTube/T-Series)Premium
The success of recent films like Pathaan and Animal underscores that effective music can still be crucial in building anticipation before a movie's release. (Screengrab from YouTube/T-Series)

New Delhi: The once potent synergy between Hindi film music and box office success appears to be weakening, particularly among audiences in smaller towns. Traditionally, hit songs could boost a film's opening box office revenue by at least 20%, serving as a vital marketing tool. However, the emergence of independent music and a noticeable decline in music marketing efforts by studios are diminishing the role of film soundtracks in creating pre-release excitement, say theatre owners.

The success of recent films like Pathaan and Animal underscores that effective music can still be crucial in building anticipation before a movie's release.

Amit Sharma, managing director of Miraj Entertainment that operates multiplex theatres, highlighted the importance of music in attracting audiences to theatres, suggesting that the industry needs to elevate its game in film music to match the diverse tastes of Gen Z, who are also consumers of international music.

The challenge is further compounded by inadequate marketing efforts, especially in smaller cities, Sharma said, and a noticeable lack of enthusiasm from actors in promoting songs.

As of Tuesday, the list of top 50 songs on Spotify in India was dominated by older hits like Satranga and Pehle Bhi Main, both from the movie Animal, and Chaleya (Jawan) besides non-film tracks such as Heeriye and Husn, indicating a shift in listening habits.

Yet, the enduring appeal of film songs in driving box office success is undeniable, with tracks leaving a lasting impact beyond their cinematic run, said Yusuf Shaikh, business head of feature films at production and distribution firm Percept Pictures.

For instance, Ekta Kapoor’s Ragini MMS 2 had immensely benefited from the Baby Doll track featuring Sunny Leone when released in 2014, and Emraan Hashmi-starrer Aksar is still remembered for the Jhalak Dikhla Ja song sung by Himesh Reshammiya. 

“A lot of films take off when mass-market audiences come for a particular song. Music can be one of the biggest selling points for a film but a lot of it depends on how it’s promoted. Assuming only social media will do the trick doesn’t help, without on-ground awareness around the songs, half the battle is lost before release," Shaikh explained. 

He cited the example of films like Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani and Rajinikanth’s Jailer, buzz around which picked up thanks to specific songs.

Film distributor Sunny Khanna emphasizes that engaging music, coupled with star power, significantly enhances a film's marketability, offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising methods. “Filmmakers should understand it makes for such exhaustive marketing, from YouTube and television to radio and outdoor events—everything that would otherwise have to be paid for," Khanna said.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lata Jha
Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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Published: 13 Feb 2024, 02:57 PM IST
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