So, it was not hoax… This contest news started doing rounds in media somewhere in last week of July’08 and almost every publication including ET has covered it. But somehow I kept on thinking that it’s not real and is yet another scandalous strategy to promote the upcoming horror movie of Ram Gopal Verma – PHOONK. But well, I was wrong, it’s true that Ram Gopal Verma is running a “Dare to watch it alone” contest wherein he is announcing a prize money of Rs. 5 lakh for anyone who dares to watch this movie from start to finish alone in a theater. Very interesting promotional strategy to instigate people to watch this movie.
Azam Khan the producer of the film says, “We're confident that the film is so scary that it will be extremely difficult to watch it all alone in a theater. We will be running a contest and giving out details on our website about how to participate in it. Right now we have decided that we will screen the film for the winners of the contest a few days before the release of the film, that is on August 22. At the moment we have planned four trials that we will screen in a preview theatre.” (source: economictimes.com). Infact the contest details are out on their website www.phoonk.in as well as their official communities on facebook and orkut. Official communities on facebook and orkut are asking people to visit their website and I must say that PHOONK website is a very well done up website unlike many other movie website which are just a collection of some html pages promoting the wallpapers and ringtones. I really liked the UI of this website and the background score is creepy enough to scare a person like me at night :P, have a look on this snapshot yourself:
This contest has definitely become a hit I think, as out of 423 members (as of today) on the official community of facebook, more than 180 people have commented saying they are willing to accept the challenge. Not only that all official articles in online newspapers, official blogs etc are flooded with comments of people dropping their mobile number and email ids to participate in this contest. It had to happen for sure, general human psychology is that the moment you dare people for anything, most of them would like to try it out. I am sure that because of this contest and hype about Phoonk being one of the scaroest movies ever made, many people will go now to watch it in theater. Apart from this dare to watch it alone contest there is another contest announced on their website viz., “It Happened to me” contest wherein participants are supposed to share their real life scariest experience, black magic stories or ghostly encounter and the 10 best entries selected by Ram Gopal Varma will be paid Rs. 25,000 each. Not only that, if your story is good enough to be made into a feature film you will win as good as Rs. 5 lakh and if your story is selected and you can write a complete script for the film you will win Rs. 10 lakh!
Yet another exciting and very impressive promotional strategy from bollywood! As I mentioned earlier bollywood is getting seriously innovative day by day to promote its movies and PHOONK is another example of that. Now let’s wait and watch if these marketing gimmicks are going to give any success to Phoonk or it will be just another dud from RGV factory!