The movie Baywatch released in the United States recently and comes as the next stepping stone in Priyanka Chopra’s career as an international movie star. She had had a true blue hit in the television series Quantico, which propelled her to becoming a known face in the USA.
Baywatch was supposed to be the icing on the cake. However, things might not be going as planned. The movie has been panned by the critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave it 20%, a number that indicates truly abysmal critical reception.
On the commercial front, the movie has not bombed but it hasn’t really done as was expected. Indian reviewers have also panned the movie, while some had a kind word for Priyanka and that she probably deserved better.
Forbes magazine, in fact, asked whether Priyanka could salvage the movie’s fortunes through overseas collections in India given the poor US showing. That is an open question at the moment. She does have a meaty role in the movie as the main negative character, which her Indian fans wouldn’t be used to. Plus, given the sheer number of bikini bodies the movie has, there could be some takers for Baywatch in India.
Priyanka has been doing her best to sell the movie during promotions, in the process creating a controversy or two. When Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was in Germany on an official visit, one suddenly saw Priyanka in a meeting with him. Along with an accompanying photo, she put up this tweet, ‘Was such a lovely coincidence to be in #berlin at the same time as the Prime Minister. Thank you Narendra Modi Sir for taking the time from your packed schedule to meet me this morning.’
But then Priyanka started getting some backlash online because they said in the photo she was not appropriately dressed for the occasion in a skirt that rode up to her knees.
Such an opinion need not have been taken seriously given that Bollywood actresses often get unfairly targeted. But there was another controversy when she went visiting the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and tweeted a selfie along with her brother. When people online commented on the callousness of the gesture, she removed the offending tweet. Once again, even if negative, a lot of easy publicity that would be useful for the movie.
The China bounty
An extraordinary and unexpected phenomenon has unleashed itself for Bollywood and no one is complaining. The Chinese market has opened up to Hindi movies. When Dangal released in China recently no one could have anticipated how well it would do. In fact, the movie has made more money there than in India. It has crossed over Rs1,000 crore in box office collections in China, an astounding number that has left the entire industry bedazzled.
Admittedly the Chinese have had a fondness for Aamir Khan movies in recent times. It was 3 Idiots that first connected with them and then PK did even better. Both movies earned well in China but what Dangal has done is in an entirely different league altogether with almost ten times what PK garnered.
Aamir himself said in a media interview said that he had not thought that Dangal would so well. He speculated that the reason could be that the Chinese and Indians both have similar emotional triggers and therefore the elements that made a movie popular in India might also do the same magic in China.
With what Dangal has earned in China, its total collections have outdone Bahubali 2 which everyone thought would be impossible to beat. Dangal is almost close to the Rs2,000 crore mark in gross worldwide revenues. But there is catch when it comes to its reign at the top. Because Bahubali 2 is yet to release in China and they too have ambitious plans of projection in thousands of theatres. If the Chinese lap up Bahubali 2 as they have done Dangal, then the former will easily take back its number one slot as the biggest grosser of all time.
Alive and joking
Last week was rather hectic for Shah Rukh Khan who, among other things, learnt about his own death. Apparently, a European news network suddenly reported out of the blue that he had died in a plane crash. They filled the story with details like the number of passengers he was travelling with, the make of the private jet and the weather that led to the crash.
As it turned out, it was just one more death hoax, which celebrities are increasingly finding themselves subject to in the universe of social media networking where fake news goes viral fooling millions of people. Others like Dilip Kumar have also been the subject of such death hoaxes.
In Shah Rukh’s case, there was also a minor accident in the sets of a movie he is shooting for but that had not involved any harm to him. When the death hoax happened, even the police were apparently taken in by it and called up his office to verify.
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh himself seemed to find some humour in it with this tweet, ‘TGIF! Survived the week inspite of a plane crash, fatal accident on sets & yet another title of Imtiaz Ali film!’
Judwaa 2 is a Dhawan family affair. Father David Dhawan made Judwaa in 1997 and the comedy with Salman Khan in a double role went on to be a huge hit. When he opted to make a sequel Dhawan got his son Varun to play a double role. And the movie will even have Salman putting in a cameo in the climax along with Varun. Shooting is going on and a part of it was done in London. According to reports that came from there, Varun had a great time.
But there is said to be one small niggle in the works. Apparently the two main actresses in the movie – Taapsee Pannu and Jacqueline Fernandes – cannot stand each other. Their cold war has resulted in the crew trying to ensure that they don’t run into each other. Even when the shooting now resumes in India, the same strategy is said to continue in the interests of peace on the sets.
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