December 18, 2002 
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Ritesh Deshmukh
How Ritesh beat Hrithik and Tusshar
Big billboard campaign for Tujhe Meri Kasam

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai

Before Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai released, 25 billboards for Hrithik Roshan's debut film were splashed around Mumbai.

Before Mujhe Kucch Kehnaa Hai released, 35 hoardings for Tusshar Kapoor's debut film were splashed around Mumbai.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's son Ritesh has beaten both Rakesh Roshan and Jeetendra's sons. Mumbai finds nearly 40 billboards of his film, Tujhe Meri Kasam, which opens at the box-office on January 2.

"This film is very different. Therefore, we are trying to give it a different touch," says A V Rao, executive producer, Tujhe Meri Kasam. "It is not just a love story; you will be emotionally touched when you watch it."

If you are in Mumbai you won't be a stranger to billboards proclaiming:
We're Friends.
To young hearts everything is but fun.
Friends who laugh together but stay together.
Someone somewhere is waiting to enter their lives.
They fight, they play and that's the way they are meant to stay.
It's not a love story, Tujhe Meri Kasam.

Ritesh figures prominently in all the hoardings. He is seen sometimes holding a basketball, sometimes on a bicycle, in others, on a motorbike.

Says Rahul Nanda, the film's publicist, "People like freshness when they see newcomers on billboards. We have played with many colours in the billboards to give them a different look."

Nanda, who worked on the publicity for Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai and Mujhe Kucch Kehnaa Hai, feels such campaigns impact on a film's success.

"When a film star's son is launched," he says, "there is so much hue and cry. There is no hungama around Ritesh. He is media shy. He is only saying, 'Let my film talk.' "

Ritesh stars opposite newcomer Genelia D'Souza, who was first noticed in a commercial for a ballpoint pen with Amitabh Bachchan.

The film's producers have posted huge billboards at Latur, Deshmukh's native town in Maharashtra. "We have put six huge billboards at Latur," says Nanda. "There are at least 200 posters all over India."

Asked how much money had been spent on the publicity of a film starring two newcomers, Rao says, "It is too early to comment."


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