A random call with a wailing sound from a child asking for help gets abruptly cut. And when you call back, you get the trailer of the forthcoming Hindi film Pihu (2018).
While this marketing strategy did not go down well with a section of people, director Vinod Kapri says the intention was only to draw attention to a movie which is offbeat and sans stars.
Towards the end of last month, some social media users shared details of the call, slamming it as “a horrible idea, inhuman and desperate promotion strategy”, “totally disgusting”, “traumatizing” and “disgusting”.
Pihu’s ‘edgy’ telemarketing strategy leaves a section of the audience disturbed
Kapri told the IANS news agency: “There are many people who didn’t like that, but when you do such films — offbeat, out-of-the-box, unique kind of films — and when you don’t have a superstar, when you don’t have a big director, sometimes we try to get attention. Many people didn’t like the idea, but there are many people who told us that after that particular phone call, they got to know about Pihu and they will watch the film.”
The Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho (2015) director has himself worked extensively in the media industry.
“We know how to pick stories and which part of a story we should pick, so my media friends pick the negative side of stories,” he remarked. “There are many people who wrote on Twitter that they got to know about the film from that phone… so, for some people it works, for some people it doesn’t. But the intention was to get people to know about the film.”
Pihu trailer: Heart-stopping tale of a 2-year-old left alone in the house
Pihu is a movie which has a single protagonist, the two-year-old girl Pihu. A social thriller, it traces how Pihu grapples with being left alone by her parents at home.
The movie had opened the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa last year and elicited positive response with its edge-of-the-seat drama.
Kapri described it as a “complete family film”.