You have to hand it to Aamir Khan. Almost 50, he is the undisputed shahenshah of marketing in Bollywood. For each of his films, Khan has devised innovative strategies that ensure he becomes a trending topic within hours of launching a new campaign.
With Ghajini, Aamir generated monumental buzz by having ushers in cinemas across the country sport his character's signature buzz cut. Earlier, he piqued curiosity by flaunting an impressive handlebar moustache prior to the release of Mangal Pandey. For his home production Delhi Belly, starring nephew Imran, the spinmeister promoted a feisty music video that exhorted a certain DK Bose to make a run for it. For Dhoom 3, Aamir ensured that he posed for the press in a bowler hat for weeks leading up to the film's premiere.
A few days ago, an unsuspecting nation awoke to find the diminutive Khan peering at them in full-page newspaper ads wearing little more than a befuddled expression. From DK Bose to PK, AK has proved that he is in fine fettle, unafraid to pose naked, if necessary, to generate publicity for his forthcoming film.
Expectedly, the media erupted in an uproar and regardless of whether you were leftist, rightist, feminist or being humanist, everybody, it seems, had an opinion on the poster of PK.
I can just imagine Aamir Khan observing this brouhaha with a satisfied smile playing across his otherwise inscrutable face. The decision to pose in the buff was a brave, even risky one, but it has yielded rich dividend. This quantum of publicity simply can't be purchased or, indeed, calculated. To paraphrase Arnab Goswami, the nation wants to know what PK is all about. And for that, they will have to go watch the movie.
Aamir possesses neither the charisma of Shah Rukh, the spontaneity of Salman nor the physique of Hrithik. What he possesses is acting chops and an abundance of chutzpah. There are many contenders to the Bollywood throne, but it is the astute AK who enjoys the mantle of king of the box office. And for that, you need both method and madness inequal measure.