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Sony Liv criticised for ‘spine chilling’ promotional of its thriller Undekhi after people receive calls from a man whose life is ‘under threat’

Users have received calls from telecallers where a man can be heard saying that he has recorded a murder on his phone in a very distressed voice.

Sony Liv appears to have adopted a novel strategy to promote the original content on its platform, however, social media users have not taken kindly to it. The network appears to have deployed telecallers to promote Undekhi, a new thriller web series that is apparently inspired from true events. It released on the 10th of July 2020.

Users have received calls from telecallers where a man can be heard saying that he has recorded a murder on his phone in a very distressed voice. He calls himself Rishi and says that one ‘Rinku’ is attempting to murder him too. This is before another voice says “Undekhi… streaming now on Sony Liv.”

Users pointed out that such a promo could cause people to panic as someone could easily panic and miss out the last few words. Another user called it ‘creepy’ and wondered how such promos are allowed.

One user even tagged the Mumbai Police saying that she received a very disturbing call from the number +91 140 880 0135. However, she did not mention the fact that the call informs people that it is a show on Sony Liv. Smriti Kiran, who happens to be an artistic director, said that she later came to know that it was a promotional gimmick and demanded action from Mumbai Police regarding the same.

Various other users on social media have also claimed to have received calls from similar numbers beginning with 140. The prefix 140 is used for the phone numbers of telemarketers, as mandated by the Telecom Regulators’ Authority of India (TRAI), so that users can readily identify them. However, it appears that the regulation is not yet popular among people.

Such stunts have been pulled by telemarketers in the past as well. Pihu, directed by Vinod Kapri, received a lot of criticism after people received calls from a number and upon answering the call, were treated to loud wails from a child following which the call was disconnected. Later, when the person attempted to call back, they received a message with the trailer of Pihu.

Vinod Kapri has also been accused of using the tragic circumstances of a newborn baby to promote the same movie. It was claimed that Kapri had planted stories in Indian as well as international media houses that he had already adopted a newborn child who was found abandoned near a garbage mound. However, it was later clarified by the Nagaur district administration that formalities for her adoption had not started yet and a committee will be set to decide who becomes the adoptive parents of the child.

Undekhi is a thriller that was released on Sony Liv on Friday. It revolves around a murder where Rishi captures the crime and is then hunted by powerful men. It stars Dibyendu Bhattacharya and Harsh Chhaya among others. It has been written by Sidharth Sengupta and directed by Ashish R Shukla.

Update: After the outrage, SonyLiv issued an apology for their marketing technique. The statement said, “If you have received a call for our show Undekhi & it has disturbed you we would like to sincerely apologise to you. This was a test activity which has gone out accidentally & our intention was not to cause any kind of discomfort or panic. We sincerely regret any inconvenience”.

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Searched termsundekhi web series
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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