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Will Shahid turn out to be 2013's Paan Singh Tomar?


Shahid, which just like its central protagonist had arrived as an underdog, is seeing some pitching and placement for itself. So much so that with Rajkumar Yadav in the lead, the film is already being equated to the kind of standing that Paan Singh Tomar had enjoyed when it released last year.

"Paan Singh Tomar had Irrfan Khan in the lead with Tigmanshu Dhulia as a director, both notable names in their own right. However the makers didn't hard-sell the film and after some smart packaging and market placement, they allowed the film to talk for itself. The strategy worked and the film turned out to be a sleeper success of the year," informs an insider who has been closely following the progress of some offbeat films managing to leave a good mark, both commercially as well as critically.

As for the critical acclaim, Shahid already has a lot going in its favour. UTV, which is marketing and promoting the film (just like they did for Paan Singh Tomar), organized multiple special screenings for the who's who of the industry so as to ensure all around positive word of mouth to flow by itself.

"For films like these, this strategy works like viral, something that has allowed Shahid to see a gradual build in buzz over last couple of months," the insider adds, "Though the film has been travelling national as well as international film festivals, it is a different stage and setting altogether when your own peers and contemporaries from the industry talk positive about it. This was always on the lines for Shahid and now that the film is running in theatres, it is pretty much expected that it would live on beyond the so-called 'rule' of opening weekend rush."

Director Hansal Mehta and others associated with the film are taking cue from the superb run that Paan Singh Tomar had enjoyed last year when released on the similar set of guidelines.

"Moreover, there is uncanny similarity in characterization and theme as well," says a source attached to the film, "Both are biopic and tell a tremendous underdog story. Moreover, unlike Milkha Singh (on whose life Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was recently made and hit a century at the box office no less), Shahid as well as Paan Singh Tomar are not about popular men but about those who overcame struggles to become who they were."

No wonder, Shahid has been smartly placed in theatres that matter, what with the entire process going through handpicked precision. Instead of carpet filling theatres with a large number of screens, Shahid has been strategically placed in select locations across the country so as to bring in right audience at right locations and the right time.

Now if the film indeed turns out to be yet another sleeper success, it could well prove to be a case study for right marketing, promotion and placement of offbeat, yet entertaining films.


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