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Shahrukh has learnt advanced Media Relations

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By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The weekend was a somber one - Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Bhool Bhulaiyaa are no comic capers, so entertainment came from unexpected quarters - Shahrukh Khan's witticism at HT's leadership summit.

There was no dearth of quotable quotes, politically correct or otherwise, from SRK. Ruling out a move to politics, he said, “I'm too materialistic, too selfish, and too capitalistic. Besides, I'm too good looking."

He also enlisted for the media's support by playing patriotic “I use the media when I have a film coming up-like now. Om Shanti Om will be competing against a Sony Columbia - Tri-star film, so I have told the media that I don't have 30 or 40 crores to spend on the publicity like Sony and I have asked them, “Will you help me?"

The timing is significant-the two films Om Shanti Om and Saawariya are slated for Diwali release and SRK, always ahead of the pack, has learnt his lessons in media relations well. It could be that playing Kabir Khan in Chak De! India reiterated the advantage of playing the underdog or it could be that he learnt from the outrage that follows a skirmish with the media. Either ways, the actor / producer is not taking a chance.

Becoming accessible to friends and favorites in the media around the time of a film's release is de rigueur- even the most elusive, reluctant star, to borrow a phrase from Dickens, “is willing," Nothing new about that except the clever bit making appear as though requesting their support. And then pitching himself - a passionate actor / film maker - against the invaders. It works like a charm.

True to his word, Khan has gone to town using every available platform to wax eloquent about his six - pack, why and how he acquired them, the brand new heroine of his film Deepika Padukone and all else related to his forthcoming film. Reality show round have been done by both the OSO and Saawariya teams and there was recently even a fashion show devoted to the former.

Whether it is the war of words between Bhansali and Farah Khan and Deepaika Padukone's liaison with Ranbir Kapoor, all news related to these two films has been chronicled in great detail. So far, the media footage for both the films has almost been equal but as the release date draws close, the blitzkrieg is likely to get even more intense.

At present the scales certainly tilt in favor of OSO, what with SRK's witty rejoinders and director Farah Khan's humorous asides and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. And of course, the six-pack abs. Unfortunately, the how-Sanjay sir-tutored-and-trained-me lines don't appear to be working quite as well, Neither do Sonam's drastic weight- loss saga (though she could well turn out to be the scene-stealer) or that bit about Ranbir dropping the towel. Maybe they need to give their publicity campaign a new spin-the suggestion of a romance between the actors is ruled out since they have already declared themselves childhood friends. Perhaps a story about a fictitious rivalry or some such would help? Or they could take a cue from the keep-them-guessing couples John-Bipasha and Kareena-Shahid.

As till the time the films are released, my vote for the most entertaining publicity campaign could certainly go to OSO.

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