Is the movie mafia of Mumbai’s tinsel town getting jittery? Is keeping hopes high or being upbeat proving to be a trek up Nanda Devi? To be honest, the Bollywood numbers do cut a sorry figure compared to the ticking worldwide collections of SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Prashanth Neel’s KGF: Chapter 2. The losses are casting an eerie pall of doubt over producers, actors and celebrities in the Hindi film industry too. In such a scenario, what will it take to ensure a sudden cloudburst? Is cosying up to the South to partner on projects enough?
THE DISCUSSION IS HOVERING OVER RS 1000 CRORE NOW
You could justify it by saying, “Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is earning”. Yes, boy-faced Kartik Aaryan definitely has a reason to smile considering his part is poised to pocket more (nearing Rs 250 crore) than what Akshay Kumar’s movie did (Rs 83 crore). But, when the discussion is hovering over Rs 1000 crore and above, does it even make sense dancing over 100-200-300 crore clubs? We shall not factor in Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files (Rs 251 crore) because the director has always made it amply clear that he’s an independent filmmaker whose functioning has nothing to do with how the lever in the industry works.
Moreover, with no star presence in the successful drama, we doubt the blue-collared of Bollywood would even reckon calling the film a product of their circuit. Call it step-motherly or cold, the treatment that’s been regularly meted out doesn’t frazzle Agnihotri a bit. On a humanity tour around the globe right now, the director is busy prepping to launch another truth bomb in the shape of The Delhi Files next year. Honestly, going by what the Indian audience is craving for (well-knit narratives steeped in solid historical and political research), looks like he will be having fun donning the director’s hat once again.
SAMRAT PRITHVIRAJ’S FAIL
Even as we write our thoughts on Bollywood not being able to break this numerical stronghold of the South film industry, Khiladi Kumar has been heard warning his fans that if Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s historical magnum opus (Samrat Prithviraj), where the 54-year-old actor plays a young and dashing Chauhan tanks, he will go back to doing his regular money spinners Rowdy Rathores and Housefulls. What he forgot to factor in perhaps, is that whether the movie lovers, with a newfound penchant for Indic and relatable cinema being dished out by the Telugu and Kannada film machinery, will acknowledge his ‘shenanigans’ featuring bawdy comedy franchises. Will they excuse his shoddy job (apart from the erroneous dialect and history projected) in Dwivedi’s film and welcome Grade B cinema that employs nonsensical narratives and crass dialogues that aren’t exactly witty or cerebral?
Have you even heard about Farhad Samji’s Bachchhan Paandey, remade from Tamil blockbuster Jigarthanda? Kumar’s pain, frustration, or whatever you want to name his state of mind as, is justified, with that film of his earning barely Rs 14 crore while Samrat Prithviraj struggling to even reach the 100 crore club (standing at Rs 63 crore now). Movie buffs are getting quite demanding, it seems. Or are they fed up of the opportunism prevalent in the Hindi film industry, which, like a cat out of the bag, has made itself too obvious? A case in point is Razneesh Ghai’s Dhaakad (which earned an appalling Rs 4 crore only). Kangana Ranaut, we are sure, has felt the pinch.
SUCCESS OF ALLU ARJUN’S PUSHPA
The success of Sukumar’s Pushpa: The Rise in the country’s Hindi belt took the industry quite by surprise. Clocking at Rs 365 crore (made on a budget of Rs 200 crore) at the box office, Bollywood never expected that a thug-like Allu Arjun would be favoured over Ranveer Singh, impersonating the legendary Kapil Dev in Kabir Khan’s 83 (Rs 190 crore earned against a budget of Rs 271 crore) that retold the story of Indian cricket team’s legendary World Cup victory against West Indies in 1983. But, going by how the Telugu industry has always dominated the discourse of numbers by setting examples, this was something the Mumbai bigwigs should have seen coming. After all, Baahubali: The Beginning’s whopping Rs 520 crore did overshadow Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Rs 320 crore) in 2015, no matter how many accolades Salman Khan won.
Two years later, no one really took a chance, hence, by positioning their releases with or around Baahubali: The Conclusion, realising that a pan-India audience would swarm to the screens to know why exactly Katappa killed Amarendra Baahubali! With the Prabhas goliath pocketing Rs 1800 crore worldwide till date and with international production houses eyeing Tollywood and Kollywood as viable investment hubs, Bollywood’s stand as India’s elite movie destination is definitely on rocky grounds. Now the point is, will Ayan Mukherji’s Brahmastra (Shiva, part one of the trilogy, which cost the makers Rs 300 crore) be able to infuse it with fresh energy and electricity? Only time will tell.