The Alpha numerical conundrum

At the end, it all boils down to ‘numbers’ when it comes to the entertainment industry, especially movies. A film is considered a hit or a flop depending on the box office collections, and even small screen ratings. Social media likes, shares, followers, etc are all dependant on “numbers.” But strangely, even movie titles are experimenting with the number game, quite literally, sometimes with alpha-numericals, and at times with strange combinations of punctuations resembling mathematical formulas or even an error! Confusing as they might seem, these strange Kannada movie titles have managed to grab eyeballs, even though they rarely make a mark in real time, apart from a few exceptions. Mostly horror and psychological thrillers, the alpha digits are trending for sure. Bengaluru Chronicle reports.

“Recent movie titles like these – A2A2 A, Puta 109, Mane No 67, 1098, 1?11=_, -3+1, C++, A+, 8mm, all have evoked curiosity. Apart from a couple of them, unless the audience is given a clear explanation on what these ‘number’ titles mean, on most occasions, everyone is left puzzled. Some filmmakers do it on purpose to keep the audience guessing, and also seek publicity with these undecipherable titles. Most of the time, it backfires,” says director Sridhar.

He further adds that such ideas work only when used in an innovative manner, so as not to replicate the success of another movie with similar titles which ended up becoming a success. “Recently ‘6-5=2,’ made good money for the sole reason that it was smartly publicised, and the claim that the horror tale was actually made from real time footage found by the team, helped the movie click,” says Sridhar.

Another filmmaker Santhosh expresses that in creative fields such as movies, a lot of effort goes into pre-production and coming up with an appropriate title is actually a herculean task. “In fact, there is a big fight for title rights. With many production houses registering popular and branded titles in advance, it makes it even more challenging. The audience tends to remember movie titles. Till date, titles such as A, Om, Swastik, etc are remembered. But it has to have an appealing subject which the audience loves,” he says.

In the case of 8mm, a Kannada movie starring Navarasa Nayaka Jaggesh, it was inspired by 8mm, the Hollywood crime thriller starring Nicholas Cage. About 1098, which speaks about child safety, 1098 is a phone number, a dedicated helpline line which is India’s first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children in need of assistance.

Sharan, a film critic feels that such experiments are rampant because it suits the horror tales that have no logic or substance, with their only agenda being to scare away the audience or stay haunted in theatres if the audience rejects them.                                       

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