SS Rajamouli’s ambitious epic Baahubali is the current toast of Indian cinema after its opening and rave reviews. The film has already grossed $25.6 million (Rs 162.5 crore) in its opening weekend, creating new all records and earning rave reviews.
Social platform Twitter played a major role in the promotion of the film; a process that started on January 17, 2013 with the creation of the film’s official Twitter handle— @BaahubaliMovie .
The actual promotions started a month later on February 17, 2013 when the first Telugu hashtag ever was created for the film and tweeted by the director. Currently, the official film account has 112,622 followers with 1,778 tweets.
“We have been working closely with the production house behind Baahubali for quite some time. The Telugu hashtag launched in February was trending nationally, which gives you an idea of the reach it received. Rajamouli (the director) has also been very active on Twitter, as have the other cast and crew,” said Pratiksha Rao, TV & Entertainment Partnerships at Twitter.
The platform was mainly used to keep fans appraised about the latest going ons on set and revealing character looks. An example is the following tweet—
There were also Twitter exclusive updates to further generate excitement among the fans.
Twitter India also promoted a behind-the-scenes video interview with the cast of the film. In fact, video was one of the main channels used in the promotions through Twitter’s new live streaming service, Periscope.
“Periscope allows us to bring ‘moments’ to people in their raw form. For Baahubali we did a Periscope screening of the wrap-up puja at the end of the production,” informed Rao.
Rao says that Periscope will be a key part of film promotions going forward. “The Indian film industry has a huge audience. Because of the nature of the platform, we will be doing a lot of fun and innovative promotions. For example, for the promotion of ‘Bangistan’ we had a Periscope stream of Ritiesh Deshmukh speaking with people from around the world. It does not have to be an overproduced video,” said Rao.
Twitter says that it does not look at film promotions as a monetization opportunity. Speaking about the potential of platform for this particular genre, Rao said that the use of Twitter for promotions has been increasing. “Even when it comes to independent cinema, we have seen those who might not have enough money for large-scale marketing campaigns use Twitter effectively. One recent example is the movie ‘Masaan’. It is a great way to connect with audiences who you might not be able to otherwise,” opines Rao.
Interestingly, Twitter had also partnered with the holder of the previous record for weekend box office gross, Happy New Year. The company had helped the film makers create personalized trailers for its fans on Twitter.