Raja Sen in Mumbai
They can whet the appetite, inspire grinning or groaning, or even kill a film by giving too much away. A good trailer needs to be clutterbreaking, catchy and behave like a poltician: promise the world even if the film can't eventually deliver.
Here, then, are my picks for this year's brightest trailers.
It's hard not to smile at a trailer which opens with schoolboys watching a Kanti Shah skin-flick.
The Udaan trailer is cool all the way, and very evocative, but finds last place on his list simply because, as a friend pointed out, all the text in the trailer is lifted from the trailer of Spike Jonze's fantastic Where The Wild Things Are. Shame, really.
9. Peepli [LIVE]Image: Peepli [LIVE] trailer
The trailer for Anusha Rizvi's directorial debut takes a huge risk: it opens with the best scene from the film, featuring two brothers squabbling over committing suicide, with the elder one eventually letting the younger go for it. Classic.
8. Tere Bin LadenImage: Tere Bin Laden trailer
The coolest trailers are the ones that come totally out of left field.
I hadn't heard a word about Tere Bin Laden when I saw this trailer, and it instantly grabbed attention.
The film's premise is startlingly original, and the trailer merely outlines this, but boy. The Ullu ka pattha song, Ali Zafar's refreshing presence, and Pradhuman Singh playing a wonderfully clueless Osama clone.
This one sold the movie real good.
7. Once Upon A Time In MumbaaiImage: Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai trailer
Say what you will about the movie, the trailer was groovy.
From high-drama shots of a swaggering Ajay Devgn to a striking Kangna, with vintage Mercs thrown in the mix, this one looked clearly, unashamedly masala, overdone but as fun as day-old butter chicken.
It's almost fun enough to forgive the extra A in the title.
6. Love Sex Aur DhokhaImage: Love Sex Aur Dhokha trailer
A firecracker right from the start, this trailer was like nothing we'd seen before.
Shot cheaply, even intentionally tackily at times, this very digital product was all about voyeurism, and the trailer emphasised it bigtime.
Unpretty faces photographed on the sly, a background track of over-the-top kiss-sounds, funny but very very raw lines, and much coarseness.
5. Yeh Saali ZindagiImage: Yeh Saali Zindagi trailer
No idea when Sudhir Mishra's next film is out, but the trailer is taut, funny and pretty sexy.
Irrfan Khan looks to be having fun throughout, as do the rest of the eclectic cast -- the delightful Aditi Rao Hyder, Arunoday Singh and Chitrangda Singh, looking sultrier than ever.
And it ends with Khan casually finding out he's been shot, and wondering what people will think.
4. IshqiyaImage: Ishqiya trailer
A plastic doll dangling from a rear view mirror. Two stubbled friends waltzing. Gunshots. And an actress changing gear and turning on the raunch bigtime.
The trailer for Abhishek Chaubey's debut film was immensely thrilling -- even though it could easily have sold us just by using that great song instead.
3. Road, MovieImage: Road, Movie trailer
The trailer to Dev Benegal's film was all about the wonder of cinema.
A beat-up oil-carrying truck is loaded up with a pair of European projectors, and the magic of movies is taken to the masses.
It's a lovely promo, highlighted by a shot of Satish Kaushik stringing together film reels and looking like Gandhi at his charkha.
2. Yamla Pagla DeewanaImage: Yamla Pagla Deewana trailer
1975, says the trailer. We hear a snatch of Sholay, and the name Dharmendra blazes across the screen, in technicolor. 1993, underscored with Damini, gives us Sunny. And then comes 2011 for Bobby, for clearly the lad hasn't arrived yet.
Yamla Pagla Deewana, brimming with self-deprecatory in-jokes, looks like quite a blast and has us all waiting. And that last moment with the handpump: priceless.
1. DabanngImage: Dabanng trailer
A vague quote, a slow-motion silhouette, and the promise of a Western... all promptly belied when the hero speaks, the trailer dissolving into a star vehicle like no other.
Salman Khan might wear a policeman's uniform, but he's playing himself in Dabanng, and from moustache to bad joke, this is a trailer with incredible spirit.
It's an impossible trailer to ignore, and India certainly sat up and appreciated the blatant Bollywoodity of it all, as well as the complete lack of pretension.
All of us, in varying measure, inevitably buy into the Salman Khan legend and this trailer promises a larger than life, old-school dose of the same.
The film itself isn't a masterpiece though Salman's incredible in it but the trailer really is, making audiences flock to theatres just months after they ignored the same actor completely in Veer. Wow.