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BHUTTO Documentary : Marketing a Legacy

Bhutto Documentary “You Cant Murder a Legacy” is the 2nd most challenging project I have marketed in Pakistan. Thanks to Mandviwalla Entertainment, In Cinemas 11 June 2010.

The fact that the documentary was released in cinemas two and a half years after her assassination indicates the meticulous effort put into its production and the significance of preserving Bhutto’s legacy. It’s also a testament to the dedication of the team involved in the project.

Directed by Duane Baugman, the documentary chronicles the remarkable life of Benazir Bhutto and the tragic circumstances of her assassination. It’s noteworthy that the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which is a highly prestigious platform for independent films.

At a time when the media at large was skeptical (sometimes volatile) of Pakistan’s People Party in Government. We at Starring Brands managed to deliver.

“The few moments that provide insight into Benazir are stunning, such as when Mark Siegel tells how Bhutto had to conduct paid speaking tours to maintain her family and often sobbed in private, her children how she raised them single-handedly.”

In addition to interviews, the film includes news clippings, historical footage, iconic song and previously unheard audio recordings. Mark Siegel, the producer of “Bhutto” and a knowledgeable individual on Pakistan, is prominently featured in the movie. His interview set the initial marketing brief for us.

However, the most important story to tell was their own for them and by them.

In particular, the interviews with President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, and her children were heartbreaking.

The world needed to see this and also empathically hear them out.

mark SEIGEL (PRODUCER) & Collaborator on Benazir Bhutto’s Book – Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West (Harper Collins, 2008)

While Cinema is larger than life, it was limited in reach back than without the new culture of multiplexes. To make matters worse Digital Cinema was yet to come. Therefore, the publicity design and PR was crucial keeping in mind the archival value of the film and its impact in the times to come.

Nevertheless experience makes all the difference. Our strategy worked as follows;

  1. Following our major film marketing of “My Name Is Khan”. Executing the publicity campaign for BHUTTO as (In Cinemas) along with other upcoming tiles such as TBL Ali Zafar’s Bollywood Launch. This helps to not only cut the political bias but also align mainstream entertainment media in addition to news.
  2. Designing the publicity with a narrative based around “A story with unseen footage giving a voice to not only Benazir but also to the Bhutto family”. Almost all TV networks aired the clips repeatedly for weeks. Digital wasn’t a thing back than.
  3. Keeping the political party out of the film publicity especially PR is vital on merit. Special thanks to Mr. Nadeem and Salim Mandviwalla for helping out on this.
  4. Moreover, separately marketing the renewed version of the song ” Dila Teer Baja” in the documentary. Which includes a rap sung in by Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari . As a result, radio networks and music media get rolling.

That’s impressive! when you were part of a significant project to market the documentary “BHUTTO: You Can’t Murder a Legacy” in Pakistan. Commendable when you were able to successfully promote the film despite the skepticism and volatility surrounding the Pakistan People’s Party in government at that time.

Bhutto Documentary
Watch Trailer on IMDB

Benazir Bhutto was a symbol of democracy, modernity, and hope for many and not just women. It should be noted that even in death, she displayed amazing defiance and courage.

To sum up.

Everyone has an opinion with their own prejudices and interests. Perhaps so did the producers of Bhutto You Can’t Murder A Legacy. The audience had mixed reviews and critics see it differently.

Read Here

Aside from some new interviews and footage, the Bhutto documentary offers nothing new to a Pakistani audience. It does, however, have a special place in our archives and serves as a reference point even today.

Facing similar outcomes, a decade earlier, Jinnah The Movie is my first most challenging one as a marketer.

Honored on being chosen to market such a challenging and impactful documentary. It was an exciting and humbling experience to contribute to the film’s narrative in Pakistan.