Cable Sankar



Marketing lessons from Kalaipuli Dhanu, Kalaipuli Dhanu, Kandhasamy


Kalaipuli Dhanu

If there is a name that is synonymous with film publicity in Tamil film industry for more than two decades, it is Kalaipuli Dhanu. Typically, he initiates his campaigns well ahead of a movie’s release.  He creates a good deal of expectation among the public through his advertisements, which is very handy for the opening of the film.

Dhanu and Sekar, another distributor, jointly produced a medium budget horror movie namely ‘Yaar?’ with a then not-so-famous Arjun and relatively new technicians. The producer duo created great expectation for the movie with their big budget movie scale advertisement for the film with pasting huge posters all over the state. Usually, budget movies like this have gradual pick up trend, fuelled mainly by mouth talk.  Due to this advertisement, crowds started to gather in shows right from the release. Film was reasonably good, and this helped adding the publicity with mouth talk. Having this as lead, in multiple magazines and posters, the producer duo waged the onslaught of innovative advertisements. Movie was a super hit.

Dhanu was known for his full-page newspaper advertisements. There was a time fellow producers were shocked by his advertisement attacks and approached producer council, to ban and restrict the size of Dhanu’s advertisements in newspapers. For ‘Koolilkkaaran’ he innovatively erected a statue of Vijayakanth pulling a handcart in the entrance of Devi Theater. Recently too, his Kandhasamy’s invitations were done in laptops and created a frenzy in the tinsel town. Dhanu is the producer who created huge buzz and expectations about a film well ahead of its release through massive advertisements newspaper ads and thus revolutionized the film publicity campaign.

Like him, many people have adopted multiple techniques in advertisement and succeeded. One of my friends was running a theater named Jyothi in Arcot.  Once they screened Thai Manasu, a film dubbed from Malayalam. It was a hit in Malayalam, which was with a high sentimental note. Typical trait of dubbed movies is that, they relatively do better in B and C centers than A centers. This film too, was released with such expectation and despite good talk of mouth the collections were nothing to write home about. It was time my friend has leased the theater for the first time. Driven by the motivation of making a good film successful, they announced a sticker bhindi pocket would be disbursed free with every movie ticket purchase. Slowly crowd started gathering. Next week, they announced prize of three buckets everyday on lucky draw basis. This further brought in crowds. Film’s storyline too, was satisfactory for the female audience. Their talk of mouth ensured the movie a successful run. Now this theater is no more. It was demolished a few years back.

Before the advent of Sun TV’s distribution business, film advertisement in the Television was a rare thing. When that scenario prevailed, Sun TV almost has irritated the viewers by their bi-hourly, non-stop advertisement campaigns of the movies it distributed. However, they anchored their attention on to their film and managed decent opening through this. By this success, they have established a fact that if a movie has to reach every corner, television advertisement is mandatory. Also they are leveraging this fact to their advantage (read advertisement income for their channels from producers).

Only recently, internet advertisements have started for Tamil movies. All the producers and directors have started to realize the importance of internet. It is becoming a culture to release the interviews of a film in internet magazines before movie launch and releasing the trailers on the internet.

Movies like Eeram, Pazhasiraja and Yogi started the new trend of campaign by giving heads-up information to thousands of target viewers in the form of email. These campaigns have turned out to be a boon for small budget films.

[…to be continued

Respond to
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.



This page hosts the views of the authors of the column. The views are generally about films, movie reviews, movie news, songs, music, film actors and actresses, directors, producers, cinematographers, music directors, and all others that contribute for the success or failure of a film. People looking for movies online, movie reviews, movie analysis, public response for a movie, will find this page useful.