Then came Kabir Khan’s sports drama ’83’ which boasted of names like Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi among several others, and a promising premise of the Indian cricket team’s victory in the 1983 World Cup. Qu could go wrong with a formula like this? Box office expectations were pretty high considering the film‘s Christmas weekend release. With overwhelmingly positive reviews, business analysts expected him to set records. But unfortunately! 83 fell short of expectations, although positive word of mouth continues to flow.
Instead, audiences flocked to cinemas to watch Tom Holland’s “Spider Man: No Way Home” and Allu Arjun’s “Pushpa: The Rise”. Even Nani’s “Shyam Singha Roy” has remained unstoppable at the box office.
Why didn’t “83” appeal to the masses like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Pushpa: The Rise”? We find the answers in this week’s #BigStory.
Bollywood vs. South
Looking at the box office numbers of recent times, the Southern film industry is obviously attracting more theaters than Bollywood films. Even filmmaker Karan Johar has praised Southern cinema and admitted that Hindi movies aren’t doing as much of a deal as Telugu movies lately. Citing an example, he spoke of “Pushpa: The Rise” to explain the commercial endurance of Telugu films. “Without any promotion, Allu Arjun’s ‘Pushpa’ came out with just a few posters and the trailer. Even though Allu Arjun is not known in the north, the film made a lot of money at the box office. Can you imagine the scenario? Now that’s called the pan-Indian craze, “he said.
Exhibitor Sanjay Ghai believes the success of “Pushpa” shows that the dominance of the South is here to stay. “The Punjab industry felt that the Hindi version would not work, but ‘Pushpa’ went ahead and did some good business. The title of the film was absolute zero, but it brought audiences to theaters. And the reason southern films work is because they are making films like Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra, and our Hindi film industry has started making Sai Paranjpe type films.
The advantage of the franchise?
Marvel’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” had a strong opening at the Indian box office, and the film maintained a strong hold at the box office even over the following weeks. The national film collection stood at Rs 179.31 crore on Monday and is rapidly approaching the Rs 200 crore mark. ‘Sooryavanshi’ had a lifetime collection of Rs 195.44 crore, so it won’t be long before Tom Holland’s superhero film tops Bollywood’s biggest release after theaters reopen!
Director Manish Shah explains, “The reason is that ‘Spider-Man’ is a franchise that people grew up watching. The content of “Spider-Man” is more entertaining, larger than life. When you watch ’83’, it’s a docu-drama. Over an hour is the cricket match. People thought what they were watching was a highlight of 1983. The movie came 25 years after it should have happened, its 1989-90 release would have been something big.
What went wrong with “83”?
’83’ had star power, he had one of the most wanted directors; the film was made on a large scale and received massive publicity. Critics couldn’t help but raving about the film. But why didn’t it turn into a step?
“There are many reasons. We started making films only for multiplexes. We don’t make films for all audiences. Second, the majority of the money is taken by the actors, so the money spent on making a movie is much less. Watch any Akshay Kumar movie, or say ’83’, it’s become a docu-drama instead of big screen entertainment, ”says Manish Shah.
Film distributor, operator and analyst Raj Bansal says the content falls short. “We do not manage to make good cinema. We have talented actors, great directors, but we lack the stories and ideas in the content. If we watch the latest movies, we are lacking in content. While the South takes the advantage over content. The public in the north had never heard of Allu Arjun’s name before. Suddenly, they are now Allu Arjun fans. If you say “Master” Vijay got popular, Ram Charan and NTR were popular from the start, but suddenly they got huge here as well. Because of their content and movies like ‘Baahubali’ … Who knew SS Rajamouli before ‘Makkhi’? ‘Makkhi’ didn’t even work out well. Then ‘Baahubali’ worked and Rajamouli was considered a very great pan-Indian director, ”he says.
Business analyst Atul Mohan emphasizes that it’s the content that makes the difference and that audiences will spend for what they want. “We’ve had some hiccups recently, but it was the content that was served to the public that was rejected. The public will never hesitate to dig their pockets for entertainment as long as they know they will get the value for the investment. Ticket price is also a key factor here, the paying audience won’t hesitate to spend on ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘Sooryavanshi’, but you can’t expect them to shell out the same price. for small movie tickets, “he said.
Is the domination of the South here to stay?
With SS Rajamouli announcing that the current COVID-19 concerns that have led to theaters in Delhi being closed will not affect the exit of “RRR”, it remains to be seen whether this dominance of the South continues. “RRR” will soon be followed by “Radhe Shyam” by Prabhas. 2022 will also have “Liger”, “Adipurush”, “Salaar”, “Ponniyin Selvan” and “Rocketry: The Nambi Effect” to compete with Bollywood films at the box office.
Director Manish Shah believes the domination of Southern films will continue. “From now on, let’s see what happens to ‘RRR’. People are trying to buy the rights to remakes of southern films. The movies are bigger and better there.
Distributor Raj Bansal takes a different view and says, “Some (of the films) will work, some won’t. It’s not that all Southern movies will work.
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta said, “No one can predict what the fate of ‘RRR’ and ‘Radhe Shyam’ will be, whether they will be released in January or not, or for that matter ‘Liger’ and ‘Adi Purush’. For me, it is before and after the pandemic that is the big question mark here. These are therefore larger-than-life films with a planned release on an Indian scale; they shoot for the Hindi belt, released in all 5 languages… So yes, they should be arriving in large numbers but now with the third wave almost on our doorstep, we don’t really know where we are going.
“I’m waiting for things to change. No one can predict anything. If that kind of trend continues, if theaters are running at 50% capacity, there are restrictions… psychologically, it also affects the thinking of the audience: “Why should we go and see? The film will be released on OTT in a few days, or it will arrive on satellite. Why take the risk in this pandemic? Boney Kapoor intervenes.
Are the filmmakers taking notes?
With audiences being perfectly clear on their preferences when it comes to theatrical viewing, would that lead filmmakers to reconsider their ideas about making films?
Sanjay Gupta shares his opinion: “I said quite clearly that all films planned and shot, and written before the pandemic will not find an audience, because during the two pandemics, all the taste of the public has changed. They are not looking for heroes, they are looking for characters. All the fake bravado, the herogiri suddenly seems wrong, seems unrelated and that’s why the OTT works. Because these are real people, real stories, and that’s the trend. We’re not interested in looking at unnecessary bhaigiri and all that. So yeah, as a filmmaker, as a writer, I’m constantly taking notes on what’s going on and how we’re evolving. For the coming year my company is only making films which are all for the OTT and also because these are stories that would not find support to bring them to the big screen. These are marginal stories. So that’s my big takeaway and until things work out and normalcy returns to theaters, depending on what kind of movies people want to watch.
Boney Kapoor differs in his opinion because he believes the audience is always looking for a hero. He said: “The South still believes in the kind of cinema that it has known as Indian cinema (multi genre) in the mainstream section, and at the same time there are films shot specially in Malayalam and Tamil. which are progressive. For their mainstream films, they make sure that there should be heroism, emotional content, romance, drama, action and also comedy. They package their films in a way that suits the Indian palette. Their films have a hero who is a solid hero, be it ‘Baahubali’ or any film by Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Ajith, Vijay, Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun… Whereas here, our concentration, with some content, is more about the look which is good. But more than the look, it should be about content that has ingredients to satisfy the mainstream palette. ”
Stressing further that “Pushpa” or even “Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo” by Allu Arjun were entirely devoted to a hero, Boney recounts an incident taken from the sets of “Wanted”. “I remember we were filming for ‘Wanted’, I told Vijayan, Salman Khan beats so many people, even though he should be sweating on his face. He said heroes don’t sweat, they should stay. hero It’s the cinema of the South! he exclaims.
The best Bollywood guns eyeing the southern markets?
With Bollywood greats like Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Boney Kapoor’s Bayview Projects and others supporting Southern films, it’s no surprise that there is a huge market for these films.
“’Baahubali’ 1 and 2 were distributed in India by Dharma Productions. Even a wholly Indian distributor like Anil Thadani has opted for “Pushpa”. He released “Pushpa” in Hindi, as well as “KGF”. Big distributors are more inclined to films from the South because they do much better business than Hindi films, ”recalls film operator Raj Bansal.
Ajith-starrer’s ‘Valimai’ trailer released last week to a thunderous response. The film is produced by Boney Kapoor who agrees that it is one of the most anticipated films that has more curiosity in the South than any other film. ““ Valimai ”is also released in the northern circuits, but that’s a bonus. The main territory is Tamil Nadu, ”he concludes.