That’s the big promo for tomorrow’s Hands Up. The version you saw earlier in the day was fake. 🙂 Don’t miss the last 15 seconds.
Ok, so here’s how we got ourselves some super cheap publicity. Because April Fool is not to celebrate the classy and the intellectual. It’s to celebrate the juvenile and let the mischief out. And since none of us involved here have ever claimed to be mature or serious, we decided to have a little fun only because some of you started taking a rather innocuous comment made by Amudhan rather seriously.
His original reaction to Venkat Prabhu mocking Chennai 28 was: “AM OFFENDED. I AM HURT. I have lost all respect for Venkat Prabhu, Premji, Sudish Kamath & NDTV. To ridicule me is one thing, but to disrespect a defining, epic movie like Tamil Padam is unacceptable. To poke fun of Shiva’s Barathanatyam is simply blasphemous.”
“While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole caper, especially planning these things with Venkat Prabhu and Sudhish, the one thing that was really hard for me to do was to call Tamizh Padam an epic defining movie. I felt dirty after writing that one,” says Amudhan.
The last line clearly indicated that he was joking about the whole response. He only gave his trademark satirical response and he made it rather obvious with his following comment that he was only giving a “typically industry “response (based on a comment made by a certain star who had watched Tamizh Padam). “The one thing i can’t stand is people making fun of other’s work. Don’t u understand that it hurts feelings. It reflects very poorly on your upbringing. I did not expect this from you or venkat sir and premji sir.” (Again, the Sir giving away the tongue in his cheek.)
And to that, Venkat Prabhu responded with: “Mr amudhan… Please kindly take things easy… Like our movies… When u took it on chennai 28 we were cool about it… So chill brother… Next time work on ur story screenplay and direction… U will get much better results… Just as a friendly suggestion…”
Now this is where the game changes because it reads very serious. And I text Venkat asking him if he’s sure he does not want to hint it is a joke. And Venkat texts back saying: “Let’s go with this. Amudhan and me are happy and cool with this.”
Looking at the response it was generating, I decided to add drama to make the tension believable with the Public apology.
And Amudhan suggested we delete his earlier comment lest the smarter ones among you figure out he was kidding. So the reference to Shiva’s Barathanatyam is deleted and I quote him selectively on my blog.
This is where it gets fun (for me). I get about 250 hits on my blog on a Sunday and about 450 hits on a weekday. But four hours after my apology went up on my blog at 8.30 p.m on Sunday, I got a thousand more hits.
On Monday, I got 4300 plus hits. On Tuesday, 4800 hits. And just to make it believable (because people get suspicious around March 31), we stopped posting updates and pretended that the issue was already “sorted out” and insisted that the media leaves the name of the channel out of it. Subversion worked because this is exactly when Behindwoods reported it, followed by Zimbio, IndiaGlitz and some movie buffs who bitch about cinema on Orkut on the Tamil cinema community went overboard with 120 plus responses to What’s the problem of (sic!) C.S. Amudhan? I got another hundred responses over Twitter and Facebook and all this was wholly believable because Venkat Prabhu and Amudhan had a pact to take light digs at each other’s movies in the Tamil press.
Since it was closer to April 1, both of them stepped up the offensive and it got to a place where the entire film industry started talking about it, picking sides, bitching about the other…
So Shiva, Charan, the common costume designer of both crews Vasuki (who also happens to be Venkat’s sister), Vaibhav and other friends of the filmmakers responded and swung into action to patch things up or to advice to stay away from the other. We are pretty sure some of them are going to be pretty uncomfortable facing each other after April 1. 😀
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Venkat Prabhu and Amudhan came down to NDTV HINDU for the fake PUBLIC DEBATE episode (which we hope you know by now is the new episode of Hands Up) and I put up tweets saying that Hands Up will return next week, revamped as a clean, fun, family show.
Gotcha guys there again. Almost all of you fell for that one. I am touched that you guys insisted that it shouldn’t change.
A special word about those who thought they guessed it was a prank… Most of them changed their minds because of our responses ranging from aggressive to blocking them off the FB list and blog comments etc while some just assumed it was a prank only because they didn’t know the detail of how far Amudhan and Venkat had gone to make it look real. They had even taken ads in the papers abusing each other’s films and we were not going to let smart asses play spoilsport. So all you people who believe I yelled at you, Gotcha too suckers! 🙂 Will unblock you soon.
But yes, we admit that it is not possible to fool everyone and some of you smart people did get it and mail us privately in the right spirit of the All Fool’s Day tradition.
Also, our apologies to Shakti Girish, Editor of Galatta magazine who went on record to say that the Tamil film industry did not have a sense of humour and director Gautham Menon who responded to our request to the fake Public Debate byte. A big shoutout to my producer Suriya Narayanan who sat all night to edit the teaser promo and the final one today and ran around to get all the quotes needed for tomorrow’s episode.
To see how all these responses have been used and why and to watch directors prove that they could make very good actors, watch (or you are welcome to skip it if you are mad at us) Hands Up at Friday 9.30 p.m and the repeat at 1.30 p.m and 11.30 p.m. on Saturday and 8.30 a.m. on Sunday with one last repeat on Wednesday 6.30 p.m.
Thank you all for taking us to No.4 of the most watched videos on the NDTV HINDU channel on Youtube that has about 1900 videos.
“Yes, it was all for cheap publicity,” as Amudhan says.
You can’t expect anything more or less from us.
Hands Up will continue to be politically incorrect, juvenile and borderline offensive. If you want something else, watch something else.
Have a great All Fools Day. ☺