121 cr NETT. Opening day collection, all-India. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. Unbelievable. Just three words that would come to one’s mind when looking at the opening day collection of Bahubali 2!
It’s truly astonishing that what many Bollywood films are unable to achieve as lifetime collections, Baahubali 2 managed to achieve on its opening day. Yes, there are different rates of Entertainment Tax in different regions which has been beneficial to Bahubali’s net collections in the South in particular, but even with that, you cannot take away anything from what this film has achieved in terms of its box office collections. Touted as being the biggest blockbuster since Gadar (2001), Bahubali’s box office collections currently sit at a STAGGERING 534 crore nett, all languages, all-India!
I will admit, I do not normally watch South films. However, I am fully aware what this brand is trying to do. Baahubali is a brand that strives to take Indian cinema forward with its grandeur. It should be an inspiration to Bollywood filmmakers to raise the bar in terms of scale, budget, and of course, keep content at an equally high level. You would think Bollywood filmmakers would’ve been inspired after Baahubali released in 2015….but alas, it was not to be!
Bollywood is still plagued by the same problems that I have mentioned time and time again this year. I will speak about the biggest problem first.
Lack of originality
There have been four films released this year with a saleable star (Raees, Kaabil, Jolly LLB 2, and Badrinath Ki Dulhania) and with the exception of Jolly LLB 2, three of those other films had old songs remade/remixed into new songs to sell their film. Fair enough that at least one of these films still emerged a major hit (BKD), but even this film was sold as being a sequel to a film that had some influence from a major Blockbuster two decades ago (DDLJ). How many times can filmmakers/writers keep borrowing anything from DDLJ? It’s redundant.
That’s not it. We recently had Commando 2, which for no rhyme or reason, remade the “Hare Ram Hare Krishna” song from Bhool Bhulaiyaa released a decade ago. What about “Tu Cheez Badi Mast Mast” being remade in that super disastrous film Machine? Or, here’s another ridiculous case: the song “Raabta” from Agent Vinod, which released just 5 years ago, has been named as an upcoming film (Sushant) and the song itself has been remade with Deepika Padukone, a cheap attempt to sell another good-for-nothing film. On top of that, when you make the new song promo similar to the song promo of the song 5 years ago (Sushant/Kriti running around in the midst of action as how Saif/Kareena did), the writing is on the wall of this “new” film!
For how long will Bollywood filmmakers/writers keep relying on the past?
The stars that need to step forward
When looking at the major stars that need to step forward to raise the bar in terms of scale/grandeur and content, the usual suspects come to mind first: the three Khans. Aamir Khan has does an excellent job tapping into the minds of the Indian audience in terms of what they want from all around the country. His every film connects on an All-India level. The only improvement from him would be to have another film like Dhoom 3 which would carry a huge international-level look and feel, and it seems that may be taken care of with his next film with YRF-Victor, Thugs of Hindostan, reportedly the most expensive Bollywood film ever made.
Salman Khan, after many films with ridiculous scenes/ideas, is finally getting it right in terms of content, as can be seen with Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan. This year seems to be ideal from what is needed from him: content in the form of Tubelight, and grandeur/scale in terms of Tiger Zinda Hai. However, one hopes that the content in Tiger Zinda Hai matches up to the scale of the film, a possible scenario given the strong capabilities of director Ali Abbas Zafar. Ek Tha Tiger had that huge scale, and although I like the film, I did come out of the theatre that time thinking it was an average fare.
Shah Rukh Khan recently had Fan, which although was not received well by the Indian audience, was a brave attempt at making something different and carried an international look as well (as is usually the case with big-budget films from YRF). However, other than that, he has been too busy being a part of typical Hindi masala films, such as Dilwale and Raees. Given SRK’s sharp business mind, strong command over the English language, and overall class, one expects more from him in terms of taking Hindi cinema to the next level. Yes, Ra One was a misfire in terms of the negative public reaction it received, but that was nearly 6 years ago…..why not try something like that again?
Akshay Kumar’s films have been getting strong appreciation from the audience, and he will have Robot 2 releasing soon with Rajnikanth, another big-budget box office juggernaut bonanza that can match the box office success of Baahubali 2. The curious case is of Hrithik Roshan….a man who carries acting talent, dancing talent, looks like an international star, and yet, is hardly seen in any big-budget extravaganza! Dhoom 2 was a decade ago, Kites didn’t work, Krrish 3 is hardly the type of cinema you want to show to non-Indians, and Bang Bang was a remake of a Hollywood film. Ideas can always be given by him to different filmmakers about making a new, exciting, big-budget project. Time to wake up while age is still on your side, Mr. Roshan!
There is a reason why footfalls of Bollywood films have declined because let’s face it, how many times can one watch the same thing over and over again?
Overall, one hopes that Baahubali 2 is a wake-up call for Bollywood. A wake-up call to directors/writers, to finally start thinking of novel concepts matched with big budgets and an international look to their films, and getting rid of borrowing ideas from the past. A wake-up call to some of the top stars (specifically SRK and Hrithik as of now) to raise the bar of Hindi cinema, something which should come easily to them.
The article has been written by Bobby Sidhu who writes for us. You can follow him on Twitter here twitter.com/BobbyS_BO.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Bollywood Arena. If you also want to write for us, send your articles on firstname.lastname@example.org.