Bollywood hero can’t be bald. He has to be good looking with six-packs and savior of the society. With every movie, Ayushmann Khurrana is breaking one myth at a time. In the movie Dream Girl, he transformed into a young woman with a hot voice and for Bala, his latest release he plays a young man from Kanpur who is suffering from alopecia or baldness. Ayushmann’s third movie in 2019 is already a major hit with collections of more than Rs 94 crore.
Knowing the kind of movies the actor does, I booked a 4 PM Monday show in a nearby cinema hall. The theater was almost packed. I believe the trailer’s buzz and the recent success of the actor were pulling crowds on a weekday.
As a habit I look at the credits, brands and digital associations. For this movie, two names stood out – TikTok (the social networking partner) and The Man Company.
Both Ayushmann and Yami Gautam, one of the female leads have been busy promoting the movie on social media.
I no longer read or write about movie marketing campaigns. Generally, Bollywood movies follow the same format of promoting trailer releases, song releases, some social media campaigns around the movie, etc. Almost all actors and actresses are active on social media for their movie promotions. These days since TikTok is the talk of the town, movie promotions are rampant on the looping short-form video platform.
So I had my doubts with TikTok that it might be one more boring brand integration. But I was proved wrong.
TikTok movie integration
From frame one the movie is an entertainer, so TikTok was out of my mind. Only to be reminded when our hero Ayushmann aka Balmukund “Bala” Shukla finds a ray of hope in his depressed life when he gets an opportunity to meet Yami aka Pari, a TikTok influencer. Our man works in a marketing company and for a new product shoot the fairness brand has roped Pari because she is beautiful and popular on TikTok. That reminded of, Sonali Phogat, the TikTok star picked by BJP during the Haryana elections. She didn’t win the elections but her popularity on TikTok gave her the big break.
For time being our hero is working with the fairness cream brand but he is also pursuing his passion for comedy. He is also a big fan of Pari’s beauty and her TikTok videos. TikTok transforms into a modern-day Cupid for Bala and Pari. At this point, a couple sitting beside me finds it cute that TikTok is writing their love story.
From here on TikTok becomes the lead for the next 30 minutes. Both the love birds use the app in the movie to express their love, and romantic feelings while lip-syncing popular romantic Bollywood numbers. The audience is already having a ball. Not only you see both the couples singing and dancing but whenever you see the app it showcases the increasing like counter and the perfectly placed hashtags. The integration has been designed with ultimate perfection. Nowhere TikTok is bigger than the story.
Even during the breakup drama, TikTok is the hope. Friends help Bala to create a heartbreaking video and our hero keeps on checking the app to see if his love has liked it. Finally, she does and this gives our hero a ray of hope.
Go ahead and watch the movie to find out what happens to Bala’s love story and his passion. The movie has a perfect offline integration with TikTok but it also highlights how our society has become a slave to technology and social media.
TikTok online integration
Prior to the release, Bala ran an online integration with TikTok. #Dontbeshyagain challenge is inspired by the movie song that asks users to use the #Bala filter, sync it with the soundtrack of the movie and upload videos. These filters are nice and you get a glimpse of your bald self. The hashtag already has 541 million views and counting.
Additionally Maddock Films, the production house has shared clips from the movie on TikTok. However, I fail to understand why the cast didn’t grab this moment to be popular on TikTok. Both Ayushmann and Yami have accounts on TikTok but they are for namesake. Maybe the actors are already active on other popular social networks that one more adds more pressure when millions are following you.
On the contrary, the marketing team could have created TikTok profiles for Bala and Pari.
Additionally, Ayushmann should be active on TikTok because his movies are about showcasing stories from small towns of India. TikTok is already popular in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and the platform is growing its focus on regional for expanding its ongoing growth.
Gentleman kise kehte hai?
Later in the day, I came across a retweet from Ayushmann. The tweet was from writer and lyricist Gaurav Solanki embedded with a video link of Ayushmann reciting a beautiful poem decoding the modern gentleman – Gentleman kise kehte hai?
Gaurav has written the poem and it is in association with The Man Company which provides premium grooming essentials to the gentlemen of today. The video has received more than 2 million views, with the media and internet appreciating the effort.
However, the brand has clarified that the video is not associated with the Bollywood movie Bala and it is just a gifting partner. The timing of the video is a mere coincidence. (Earlier version of this story had mentioned that the video is associated with the movie, my apologies for the goof up.)
TikTok’s integration with the Bala movie is non-intrusive and not over the top. Not every movie will offer such integration but it is worth appreciating the efforts of the marketing team and TikTok for planning it so well both offline and online.