WTF Is The Deal With This "Reality Teaser" For Bala's PARADESI?

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer
This teaser for Bala's upcoming drama, Paradesi, has been making the rounds online since last night and the general consensus is, "What the fuck, dude?" The minute long behind the scenes teaser shows the director apparently being a prick to his actors in an effort to elicit "reality" from their performances. He beats and berates everyone in his immediate vicinity and ends the teaser with a shit-eating grin on his face. This newest attempt to market the film is perplexing a lot of people, though I have my suspicions about it's veracity.

My best guess is that this is a weird, sure to be misunderstood, publicity angle attempting to prepare filmgoers for the brutality they're going to see in Paradesi. I seriously doubt that Bala, or any other filmmaker, would allow themselves to be shot on set whipping, slapping, and cursing their actors in a candid setting. My guess is that it is all staged. However, that doesn't really give the director free rein, unfortunately, because the backlash against this teaser has already begun.

If, and I stress the *if*, this is as calculated a move as I'm hoping it is, it is surely too subtle to be as effective as it needs to be to accomplish its goal. All it is doing now is riling up potential filmgoers and aligning them against Bala, which is probably not the best thing that could happen when his new film opens on Friday. Bala is not a commercial filmmaker, his films are usually (with the exception of his last disaster Avan Ivan) more prestige than paisa (money) driven. This weird move may end up shooting him in the foot.

It's all the buzz on twitter. Balaji Mohan, director of recent Telugu hit Love Failure, had this to say:
@directormbalaji #Paradesi 'reality' teaser sets a bad example to young future filmmakers who consider Bala sir as an idol. This isn't the way to make films.
Neeraj Ghaywan, director of Shor, had a similar reaction:
@ghaywan Sadistic! In poor taste. Don't feel like watching the film!
And, most succinctly, @CilemaSnob, webmaster of MOI Fight Club, said this:
@CilemaSnob "Paradesi" Reality Teaser- WTF is this?
One can search "Paradesi reality" on Twitter and find a ton of other examples, the backlash has been swift.

I will not be reviewing the film on opening night as I'll be at SXSW, but I still plan to cover it next week when my schedule clears up. I anticipate some kind of explanation from the producers pretty quickly, this seems to have gotten far more negative press than they expected. However, in the meantime, WTF, Bala?
Around the Internet:
  • Apocalypticus

    It's being distributed by Anurag Kashyap, director of 'Gangs of Wasseypur' and other indie art fllms. He's always believed in controversial out-of-the-box marketing for his films and since this is a regional film in Tamil being screened all across India, I am not surprised.

  • arun

    so many assholes got it wrong including yourself. look at you "////I anticipate some kind of explanation from the producers pretty quickly,
    this seems to have gotten far more negative press than they expected.////" WTF hurtado.

  • Vithan

    I get the impression that this is footage of him demonstrating to his actors how he wants the scene enacted as evidenced towards the end where the three people squatting on the ground are beaten by him and another actor in much the same way. The "shit-eating grin" on his face at the end shows how happy he is with the way the scene turned out. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

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