Kaushik L M



What Vishwaroopam did that Maryan didn't


As the saying "You can fool a person into going to see a movie with a good trailer" goes, there have been countless examples of good trailers paving the way for a movie's release and grand opening. A trailer is seen as among the foremost tools employed to market and sell a film and inform the masses about it.
Now we even have a teaser which is a 'micro trailer' and one that prepares the audience for what is coming their way. But teasers are mostly reserved for the films which are able to generate hype and audience interest straightaway, due to the cast, crew and other factors.
On the other hand, it is the trailer which is employed for every film that is made out of every movie industry in the world. Trailer launches are being seen as big events in themselves and fans eagerly look forward to seeing these 'mini movies' which have their own grammar and set of rules to be followed.
Experts opine that there are just three simple rules to be followed while cutting a trailer for a film
- Don't give too much away
- Don’t be too cryptic (mysterious or complex)
- Speak to your intended audience
The second rule talks about the fact that the trailer shouldn’t be too mysterious and disconnected from the actual movie’s core plot. If the trailer gives across the message that the movie might be too complex or confusing, the whole purpose isn’t served. At the end of the day, the movie in question might actually be a simple feel-good ride but a cryptic trailer can play the spoilsport.
The third rule is of prime importance too and it speaks about the fact that a trailer should communicate to the group, which is most likely to see the movie on its release weekend. An action movie’s trailer should be clearly targeted at the core audience - the male youth. In the same way, a family tearjerker’s trailer has to have its moments for the housewives.
The first rule - ‘Not giving too much away’, brings us to the core idea of the column. Let’s talk about Dhanush’s Maryan, which has been received with pretty warm reviews but is average at the ticket counters. The trailer of the movie, which was released 3 months back, became a huge fan favorite and has clocked more than 2 million hits till date. It perfectly set up the movie for its release, and something spectacular was expected
After seeing Maryan on the first day, I realized that the movie was exactly what the trailer led me to believe. The trailer showcased almost everything that one can call a ‘highlight’ - the underwater scenes, the cheetah episode, Maryan’s struggles as a hostage, the concept of hope through the ‘Nenje Ezhu’ number and even the mass scene where Maryan kicks Theekurusi and comes out stylishly with a little ‘beedi’ in his mouth.
So when I saw the movie, none of the above scenes gave me any sort of surprise as I already knew that these superb scenes would be there. Just imagine if you were seeing the cheetah scene or the underwater scenes out of the blue for the first time in the theater on Maryan’s release day. Of course, a lot of press coverage has to be dedicated to these special scenes, in the form of interviews and articles but the footage of these scenes could have been held back.
For that matter, Bharatbala could have kept even the Sudan kidnap portions under wraps and just hinted at a struggle, rather than uncover the African rebel terrorists in the trailer itself.
In the case of Vishwaroopam, Kamal had an element of mystery in his trailers even though he did reveal parts of the Afghanistan action and other important moments. But, the Rajini dialog “Idhu Chumma Trailer Dan Ma, Main Picture a Nee Innum Paakala” is perfectly applicable to Vishwaroopam, as the main picture had breathtaking moments such as the mass transformation scene, Kamal’s authentic Afghani makeover and more, which totally hit the audience when they saw it for the first time. This element of surprise arrested audience’s attention and the box-office result is there for all to see, as people were simply charmed by Kamal’s effort and the new canvas they saw in the movie.
Ultimately, there might be solid reasons as to why a director or producer cuts his movie’s trailer, the way it has been. To get more understanding on how the process of cutting trailers go, I spoke to young editor T.S.Suresh, who has worked in movies such as Thamizh Padam, Kaadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi and also in much expected upcoming films such as Vaalu, Vanakkam Chennai and Rendavathu Padam. Let’s close with his professional insights on the whole idea of cutting a trailer.
“The way a trailer shapes up depends on the brief from the director and the producer. Most of them decide to communicate the crux of their film, in a simple but well-packaged form. Some such trailers which I really enjoyed in recent times are Maryan, Udhayam NH4 and Kalyana Samayal Saadham. Even my trailer cut for Kaadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi was a simple but enjoyable crux of what the film was.
I personally feel that if your movie has interesting content which is sure to cause an impact, then you can play around with the trailer and make it a bit abstract and cryptic. Like how we have done the teasers for C.S.Amudhan’s Rendavathu Padam. There is definitely a curiosity element surrounding these teasers and the director is also confident of having something fresh. Hence his decision to add more mystery and quirky misleading elements to the teasers seems justified.
Finally, some directors / producers decide to include all the highlight elements in their trailer probably to increase the grandeur of the project and sometimes even due to distributors’ pressure to increase the saleability of their projects.”

So, if Maryan’s trailer had been cut in a different manner with some element of mystery in it, the end result might have been better, given the unquestionable effort and commitment that the team has invested into the project.

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