SRK Indian Super Hero

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a few months ago, four Canadians girls arrived in India for the first time to spend time learning about our culture and volunteering at an NGO. A few days after arriving in Mumbai, they noticed huge billboards of this dusky Indian guy with sharp features in a number of places across the city. On enquiring after his identity, they learned, “That is Shah Rukh Khan, India’s most famous star!” Today, one of the girls, Christina, says, “I am his biggest fan! I loved Ra.One and I have watched most of his movies.” Well, who hasn’t? His posters and advertisements are ubiquitous and his movies are an integral part of our Bollywood-obsessed culture. His filmography consists of over 70 movies and was listed as one of the 50 most powerful people in the world by Newsweek. Even after twenty years in Bollywood cinema, his character in Ra.One had no face mask because of the popularity that SRK’s face demands. So much so that people commented that they would not want to see the movie if they couldn’t see his face! With two hit movies under his belt in the past two months, the visually arresting Ra.One and the slick action thriller Don 2, SRK’s star just seems to keep on rising.
SRK is not just an actor though; he is a brand—a household name that is present in the media across all genres. With the largest bank of endorsements, a cricket team, an entertainment company and a new VFX studio specialising in digital effects, there are no limits to the fearless innovation that SRK tirelessly aspires to. And let’s not forget that he has two video game characters as well! His company, Red Chillies Entertainment, was the first Bollywood company to collaborate with PlayStation to develop the Ra.One video game, ‘Ra.One Genesis’, that is available on BluRay for PS3. The game is also available for free on Facebook and on the iPhone and iPad. Ra.One Genesis broke all records and reached the number one slot in the iTunes store as the most downloaded game within 24 hours of its launch! A large part of the game’s inception and development can be attributed to the actor who was instrumental in the game’s character development, action features and game design. He even collaborated with his son Aryan to build the game’s storyline. More than 2800 people have worked round the clock to complete this movie for over a year! Its not been a cakewalk making a movie of this league while hanging on wires for hours together, in uncomfortable clothing and shoes, under more than 15 cameras waiting to get the right shot and look. But being the entertainer that he is, Shah Rukh has made it all possible.
Releasing a video game based on movie elements is a unique strategy that allows fans to connect with characters before seeing them on screen. The Ra.One Genesis game allows users to play as either one of the two main characters of the movie, Ra.One or G.One, and has gameplay elements that draw closely from the movie. Voiceovers by Shah Rukh Khan himself add a level of reality to the game. Fans have raved about the well-designed army characters and the surreal, futuristic sci-fi environments that the game was set in. Gamers can battle against evil bosses and their minions in a direct assault with G.One’s superpowers, using electricity to annihilate foes and save the world in the process!
“With the many strategic firsts that Ra.One is bringing to the country, the first ever superhero social game on the most powerful medium today takes it to a whole new level,” says Shah Rukh Khan on the pioneering game. “The game has been specially conceptualized to ensure that it reaches out to all audiences… This is the perfect opportunity for gamers to get introduced and engage with ‘G.One,’ understand his fantastic abilities and immerse themselves in the game and become superheroes!”
The movie marketing innovation has continued into Shah Rukh’s next feature film, Don 2. Based on the Don’s catchphrase, “Jisse pakadna mukhkil he nahin, manunkin bhi hai” (to catch me is not difficult, it is impossible), the game is available on all platforms; Facebook, Android, iPhone, iPad and PlayStation, while Facebook features a social game where you can play with your friends called Don: The Social Mobsters Game. The console version for PlayStation is expected in March, 2012 and is being developed by Gameshastra, India’s largest gaming services company with over 47 titles under its belt.
Director and founder of Gameshastra, Mohan Raju, is looking forward to future collaborations with other studios in Bollywood; he says, “The success of this title will mark the beginning of many more joint endeavours with major studios in India.” One can play the game as the realistic Shah Rukh Khan character, Don, who even has three different looks in keeping with the movie. In the course of the gameplay, one interacts with different movie characters, including the sizzling Priyanka Chopra as Roma. There are six chapters in this action-adventure game that features high-speed car and rooftop chases, gunfights and stealth missions. As the visuals for these games become more developed, the line between the passive movie experience and an interactive game could blur even further. Farhan Akhtar, director of Don 2 says, “Each one of us seeks adventure and when Gameshastra came up with this idea of making a game based on the film’s narrative, it got me really excited. I felt that this could be interesting, and yet, a fun way to let people have their personal dose of action and adventure”.
This unique marketing strategy pioneered by Shah Rukh can drive up the fan following of any action or sci-fi flick as fans have opportunities to interact more closely with the movie characters, sets and story. Whether battling villains as G.One or the cops as Don, SRK fans are taking advantage of the new trend in Bollywood cinema. If successful, more of such games can be expected in the near future from Bollywood studios where fans can enter virtual reality and become their favourite movie characters. As gaming technology develops and 3D technology becomes a reality, these games will add a whole new level of experience for fans. SRK fan Abhishek Rajan says, “I’ve always loved Shah Rukh; so when the Ra.One game came out, I got it on my iPad and played for hours. I am waiting to buy the Don 2 console game and can’t wait to battle wits with Priyanka!”
Although the graphics and programming elements of these homegrown game releases have a long way to go to reach international standards that console gamers are used to, these are simply the birth pangs of a nascent gaming industry in India.
With the Indian gaming industry set to grow by leaps and bounds in the next few years, more and more youngsters are considering a career in this field. To read more about careers in gaming, turn over to page 34.

Volume 1 Issue 7

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