Bollywood film promotion took a turn for the worst and plummeted to new lows on Tuesday when actor-trio Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol and Sonam Kapoor jetted in to Dubai to promote their latest comedy, Thank You. Short of going to the moon, the good-looking team hopped from one place to the other before talking up their latest caper — for a good seven minutes. And in true Bollywood style, they turned up two hours late for most of their slated public appearances.
Let's fill you in about the most ludicrous attempt at promoting Thank You, a tale about three philandering husbands (Irrfan Khan, Bobby Deol and Suniel Shetty), their ditzy wives (Sonam Kapoor, Celina Jaitley and Rimi Sen) and a relationship expert who intervenes to set things right (Akshay Kumar).
The weirdest part of the experience was Kumar's attempt to play a relationship guru in real life and solemnise the vows of happily married couple Akash and Vidhi Khanna under the stars in a desert area outside Dubai. As romantic as it sounds, the whole affair amounted to no more than the actors landing on stage at 10.30pm and getting the couple to exchange floral garlands.
And, let's not forget the Khiladi star's spiel on respecting women and maintaining the sanctity of marriage. How did he do it? First he asked the husband in question whether he understood the meaning of marriage. Then he went on to make lewd remarks about his mushy response.
"My better half is somebody I look up to and go up to any time — especially in my bad times," said the love-struck Khanna. And pat came the response from Kumar: "Oh, you mean somebody you can go up to any time... Hmmm..."
Now, the double entendre would have been funny if the reel-life stars had staged this episode at a decent hour, rather than a time nearing midnight. But the nocturnal star continued unabashed. "Our film Thank You is a comedy, but it has a very important message.
"When I had heard the script, I knew the film didn't show men in a good light. Frankly, the film belongs to you women — the women who support their men throughout their lives but we haven't really realised your value. So you women are going to enjoy this film. Be sure to drag your husbands for it, though," said Kumar.
‘There are good men'
Kumar — who is going through a rough patch in his career with all his recent films, including Action Replayy and Patiala House failing at the box-office — added that Thank You reveals some of the deepest, darkest secrets of men. "Watch this and you will know what I mean. But I am not saying all men are dogs — there are some good men around.
"All of this is said in a fun, enjoyable way," he said.
Meanwhile, co-star Kapoor played up to the galleries with her take on marriage and men. "My guy should smell nice — there's nothing more off-putting than a smelly guy," she said, wrinkling her nose.
"And of course his shoes. I always judge a man by his shoes. About marriage, I am too young to think about it, but it sounds like an adventure — so if a right guy comes along, why not?"
Their eager salesman act — mostly led by Kumar — was not an isolated incident. Earlier in the evening, Kumar was at a shopping mall entertaining hundreds of fans who had gathered to catch a glimpse of some Bollywood action.
"Guys, you must go watch this film because I need a hit badly," quipped Kumar. His plea — intended to be a joke — couldn't have encapsulated their whirlwind promotional junket better.
But like they say, there's nothing more off-putting than a desperate salesman.
ONE HECTIC SCHEDULE:
- 2.15pm: The trio headed to a branch of Emirates NBD for a photo opportunity.
- 4.15pm: A round of press interviews plus a meet-and-greet with the management of the Ibn Battuta hotel.
- 7pm: A meet-and-greet with fans at Oasis Centre.
- 10.30pm: Desert marriage.
- Midnight: After-party at It's Mirchi.
- 4am: Flight Back to Mumbai.
RUMOUR HAS IT...
Bobby Deol turned up late on stage at the desert event, blaming food poisoning. But according to sources, his late entry onto the stage had very little to do with bad shrimp and more to do with a few beverages too many.
The numbers game
Does maniac promotion actually translate into box-office hits? We give you the facts about Akshay Kumar's latest attempts — you do the math:
Action Replay: The premiere was held in Dubai in November. Unfortunately, the marathon interviews and press coverage did not translate into filling the box-office coffers. According to reports, the Rs40 crore (Dh32.28 million) magnum opus did not even recover its cost.
Patiala House: A cricket match, an after-party at a nightclub and a round of press interviews in Dubai couldn't improve the fate of this drama. Here again, Kumar didn't bowl the cricket-mad audience over with his cricketing saga.