Thursday, July 18, 2013

Titter Proof Titles

Critics are easily the most unloved sub-species among Homo sapiens. Artist Man Ray once expressed his deepest feelings for them with an epic statement: All critics should be assassinated. Most Bollywood film makers would secretly concur with Man Ray’s assessment as they've been victims themselves of poison arrows from the rather mean quiver of the nasty critic.

Of late, the barbs have been getting crisper, sharper and snarkier thanks largely to the 140-character attention span of the connected cosmos. It all began with RGV’s ill fated ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag’. Every reviewer worth his ink jumped into the bitching fest. The most pungent of them all came from Raja Sen who dubbed it ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aargh!’ Then the wannabes rushed in with ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Daag’ and the tweets got regressively more below-the-belt.

Ironically, Raja Sen got a taste of his own medicine, when a two-bit reviewer labelled his script ‘Go Goa Gone’ as ‘Go Goa Gonorrhoea’! As a namer, I am of the view that a lot of these malicious wisecracks can be done away with, if one just picks a title with very little spoofability.

When you choose a catchy ‘Fukrey’, it might get you a few extra eyeballs but you run the risk of being rubbished as ‘What the Fukrey’ by some critic, venting his spleen. When ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ was released recently, Shobha De, the queen of cattiness, finished her soaked-in-the-acid review with a punch line that read ‘Bhaag Audience Bhaag’! Such tarty verdicts can derail any film from reaching its blockbuster destination.

The only way to protect your movie from the vultures of twitter is to make it titter-proof. Always think of negative words, idioms and expressions associated with the title. If you’ve picked ‘Policegiri’ expect a ‘watching the film is like a jail sentence’. If you’ve chosen ‘Air Force One’, you’re asking for ‘Air Farce One’. ‘A Dark Knight’ can be laughed at by making it ‘A Dork Knight’. Remember, cunning wordsmiths can turn even a harmless ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ into ‘Harry Plodder and the Lamest of Sequels’. So to escape scathing reviews, give the punster no scope for word play.