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It’s raining flops in Bollywood

Last Updated : 18 June 2022, 06:13 IST

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Bachchan Pandey
Bachchan Pandey
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Samrat Prithviraj
Samrat Prithviraj
Attack
Attack
Heropanti 2
Heropanti 2
Anek
Anek
Jersey
Jersey

Ever since movie halls began functioning, there have been some 16 big-ticket releases in Hindi. However, only four of them did well this year, and only one —‘The Kashmir Files’— crossed domestic business of Rs. 250 crore net to achieve the blockbuster status.

In this phase, two films from the south, ‘RRR’ (Rs 277 crore) and ‘KGF: Chapter 2’— in their Hindi version alone (Rs. 434 crore) — eclipsed them all!

The other Hindi hits are ‘Sooryavanshi’, released in Diwali 2021 week, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’. The big-time catastrophes, in terms of face value, track-records and budgetary scale, are ‘83’ (Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone with Kabir Khan as director and Sajid Nadiadwala as co-producer), ‘Bachchan Pandey’ (Akshay Kumar and Kriti Sanon in a Sajid production again), ‘Jersey’(Shahid Kapoor’s second South remake after his blockbuster ‘Kabir Singh’), ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ (Ranveer Singh in a Yash Raj film), and ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ (Akshay Kumar’s return to Yash Raj Films).

‘Major’, a Telugu film also made in Hindi, is picking up while last year, ‘Pushpa—The Rise: Part 1’, crossed the Rs 100 crore mark in Hindi alone.

So the debate is on: Why are Hindi films going wrong when the South seems to have touched a pan-Indian chord? While Shilpa Shetty dismisses this as “A weird post-pandemic phase in which success and failure have become unpredictable for the biggest movies and stars,” writer-director Anees Bazmee, who delivered the super-hit ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’, has an explanation.

“To say that the South is succeeding when we are not is totally wrong. You cannot categorise hits or flops according to language or region. Whether in Hindi, Hollywood or South, good films always run. As against three super-hits, the South too has had many flops, in Hindi versions as well as down there,” says Bazmee. Varun Dhawan, awaiting his ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’, an expected mega-hit, echoes Bazmee. “Audiences always accept good films from anywhere, even after the pandemic,” he says.

Bazmee says flops and hits are analysed wrongly. “The only change after the pandemic is that now things are in extremes — no film does average business. There are only hits and flops. That is because audiences are being very careful. They do not want to watch a film if word-of-mouth isn’t good. They would rather wait for it to stream if a film is not value for money.”

Taran Adarsh, veteran trade analyst, has a somewhat different take. “If you remember, films in the 1970s and 1980s were almost all larger-than-life. But from the 1990s and even more from the 2000s, two things happened—the multiplexes came in and filmmakers began targeting niche and supposedly elite belts as most of the theatrical revenue came from there. The true reel hero went missing, except in a few movies,” he reasons.

“But the South never left larger-than-life cinema. Look at the stylised action and emotion in ‘KGF: Chapter 2’ and ‘RRR’. In ‘Pushpa’ and ‘KGF: Chapter 2’, the hero is a criminal, but he takes on the world, and that’s what connects. Also, slowly, all of India is reacting to stars like Allu Arjun, Yash and others and also to filmmakers such as SS Rajamouli and Prashanth Neel. I think filmmakers must give audiences what they want, not what they themselves like, which is what most of the Mumbai filmmakers are doing,” feels Adarsh.

SS Rajamouli, at the ‘RRR’ success party, gave this succinct answer on why his films are liked by kids as well as 80 year-olds. “I always write my films with children in mind because there is a child in every one of us,” he had said.

That said, weren’t ‘Antim—The Final Truth’, ‘Attack: Part 1’, ‘Heropanti 2’ or ‘Prithviraj? Larger-than-life? “Yes but they still flopped because shoddy scripts will not be tolerated. And remakes are redundant unless they are significantly modified. ‘Jersey’ failed due to this reason,” opines Adarsh.

With music too in a serious creative decline in Hindi cinema—one more USP ignored — it is no surprise that the Hindi dubbed melodies of ‘Pushpa’… and ‘RRR’ have done so well.

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Published 17 June 2022, 18:25 IST

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