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Teacher's Day 2022: Lessons audience taught the Hindi film industry this year – The Indian Express

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The year 2022 had started with the pandemic still holding sway and theatres shut down. So, when the theatres opened in February and March, filmmakers put their bet in the box office and hoped for the best. However, the journey proved to be steep for the Hindi film industry. Films with big budgets or those with ‘A lister’ star cast like Jhund, Jersey, Bachcchan Pandaay had the producers’ and distributors’ hopes up. However, things went south as the audience voted with their feet and refused to go to theatres. Instead, a comparatively low budget film like The Kashmir Files, based on a socio-political issue of brutality against Kashmiri Pandits, emerged a winner. Then came pan-India film RRR, with Telugu stars Ram Charan and Jr NTR in lead roles and Bollywood stars like Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in cameos. The film scored big and the makers went home happy. KGF 2 again scripted history as it pulled in audience across India.
In the following months, Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey’s was a runout, Ajay Devgn’s directorial debut Runway 34 didn’t have a smooth landing in theatres, Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 didn’t impress and Ranveer Singh’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar didn’t have enough zor in it to pull audience. The only respite till now is actor Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, which entertained the audience and its producers were laughing their way to the bank. Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, Aamir Khan’s recently released film Laal Singh Chaddha and Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan were the final blow for the Hindi film industry.
The audience or as they say janta janardhan has been very clear with what they want Bollywood filmmakers to learn. Now, if only they would slow down and listen. On Teacher’s Day 2022, here are some of the important lessons from the audience.
Big budgets and grandeur doesn’t matter, story does
A post shared by Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)
On one hand there is Samrat Prithviraj, Shamshera and Laal Singh Chaddha, films which are made on high budgets and have strong artists like Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor and Aamir Khan. But each, one more than the other, fell short of the audience’s expectations. So, the audience doesn’t like big budget films? But RRR and KGF Chapter 2 were a success. It seems like the audience is bored of this all. Going by the promotional stories around how much money has been put in these films, one would expect the film to create some buzz. But the audience is not a wide-eyed kid anymore and these awe-inducing facts don’t fascinate them. They want to see all the money translated into a good story that moves one at a human level.
Promotional activities will not always ensure footfall in theatres
A post shared by Vijay Deverakonda (@thedeverakonda)
Telugu star Vijay Deverakonda’s much awaited Liger was expected to bring a storm at the box office. Rather, it was nothing but a gust of dust that barely made a difference. This was despite the team promoting the film in every possible state within the reach, collaborating with every influencer they could get their hands on. The audience told the film industry that it’s not about what you do before the film releases, it’s what you do in the film that matters. It was the same story for Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan, which with the entire cast traveled around the country but it didn’t work out for the Aanand L Rai directorial.
The big Bollywood legacy is being challenged by OTT
A post shared by Shefali Shah (@shefalishahofficial)
Films like Jersey, which had every element of a hit – a big actor, a National Award-winning story line and the personal touch of a real father-son duo appearing on screen. Whereas films releasing on OTT platforms get a larger shelf life, more eyeballs and praises. A 109 year old film industry is threatened by the digital wave and it is a fact that the Hindi filmmakers are not blind to. The janta told the film industry that maybe the magic of theatre is no more as big as the filmmaker imagines and watching a film at home, with less money to spend can bring in more comfort to the new-age audience with the changing time.
Language is not a barrier
With films such as Pushpa, KGF, Minnal Murali and Baahubali, the Hindi film industry is now realising the language is not a determining factor in a film’s success. Malayalam film industry has especially come under the spotlight with its fulfilling stories that leave an impact on the audience. Audience is starved for entertainment and they will take it from any part of the country or the world. The subtitles are winning at this game and the pool of good cinema lies out there for a film buff to explore.
 The star phenomenon does not exist anymore
A post shared by Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)
Actors like Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, who once were hailed for ‘carrying a film’s success on their shoulders’ cannot pull the audience to the theatres just by their name. Janta does not care if the actor has the image of being a perfectionist or shoots films with punctuality. They can talk about it in interviews and PR driven campaigns as much as they want. If a film does not appeal to even a small segment of viewership, that larger-than-life persona makes no sense. The crowds in the theatre, cheering during promotions for an actor on stage is definitely not translating into footfalls in a movie theatre and that is something Bollywood needs to decode.
Bollywood, invest in your writers as much as you do in your actors
Literally everyone who wants to enjoy a film has their eyes on the writer. The audience wants the film industry to learn the importance of good storytelling. Times are changing, so it’s the demand of a regular movie-goer. The new wave of audience is scrutinizing a story more than ever in ways that was not done before. So, maybe less focus on what is seen and more on what is felt and communicated in a film?
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Yashika MathurYashika Mathur is a Copy Editor at Indian Express online. She covers c… read more


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