Missing the bull's eye

No milestone

Missing the bull's eye

Excited: Hopes are pinned on Shivarajkumar’s Jogaiah.

Hero worship is huge down South. So much so that during the release of any film of popular heroes, one will find huge cut-outs of the actor decked with garlands in front of theatres. Fans are even seen performing a puja for good luck. Often, the fans also celebrate the release of landmark movies in the careers of these heroes — like their 25th, 50th,100th and even 200th film.

Expectations rise and publicity increases. Producers too don’t mind shelling out the required resources to make it a special treat for the audiences. But not always do these films meet the expectations of the audiences.

And a trend of low box-office returns have shown that sometimes, no amount of popularity can save a film. The failure of Sura, the recent Tamil flick that was Vijay’s 50th film, is proof to that.

Even a superstar like Rajnikanth faced failure when he reached his 100th film Sri Raghavendra and 150th film Baba. Coming to the Telugu film industry, films of heroes like Srikanth and Chiranjeevi failed to make a mark as well. Srikanth’s 100th film Mahatma was an average hit and Chiranjeevi’s 100th film Trinetrudu too, flopped.

“I guess it’s because there is a certain image associated with these mass heroes and in an attempt to try something new, they don’t meet the expectations of fans. I remember waiting for Rajnikanth’s 100th film. Having become so used to seeing him do those stunts, I just couldn’t picturise him in a swami avatar,” says Aravind, a film buff. Agrees film-maker Sumana Kittur, “When a hero reaches a landmark of 100 films, he would have donned all the possible characters by then. As a viewer, one would only be waiting to see what else can he play. And when he fails to meet these expectations, the movie does not get the desired result,” she adds.

Only a handful of Sandalwood heroes have reached such landmarks. Sahasasimha Vishnuvardhan may have won hearts with his last and 200th film Aptharakshaka, but his 100th film Muthina Hara and his 150th film Mojugaara Sogasugaara didn’t do as well as expected.

Even his good friend Ambareesh’s 100th film Hong Kongnalli Agent Amar didn’t make a mark. “Who wouldn’t want to see their favourite hero achieve a milestone? But many a time, it’s the story that fails. With Mojugaara Sogasugaara, the plot of twin brothers separated at birth was nothing new. So the film didn’t do all that well,” says Gopal, an avid movie-goer.

When it comes to the younger generation, it’s only Darshan’s 25th film Bhupathi that didn’t work at the box office. While Shivarajkumar has seen success in his earlier milestone of 50th film AK 47, he is now all set to don a new role for his 100th film Jogaiah — The Legend of Underworld.

Expectations are already high especially as he will be working with director Prem. Ask him about this and he says, “Every film is a special film and we, as actors, aspire to give our very best. Yes, it is special that I have completed 99 movies and am entering my 100th film. But I will give it my best as usual. The audience is bound to have expectations and I hope they will not be disappointed.” One will only have to wait and watch.

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