The unthinkable has happened and Salman Khan finally has a flop in an Eid release. His last such experience was in January 2014, when Jai Ho did underwhelming business. He himself called it a flop at a later date. The movie did cross Rs100 crore ticket sales but that is now small change when it comes to expectations from the Khans. And Jai Ho was not released during the Eid holidays, the period when Salman has delivered his biggest hits. And no movie had failed in recent times during this date.
But Tubelight has now broken that run. It too has managed to cross the Rs100 crore mark but no one is celebrating in the Salman camp. That is because of the benchmarks Salman and Aamir Khan have been setting with every passing release. Their movies are expected to cross Rs300 crore in the domestic market but anything above Rs200 crore would have been counted as respectable.
Tubelight got off to a good start because the first few days the committed audience go to see a movie just because a superstar is in it. And then even if the movie is marginally good and pulls some strings inside them, word of mouth gets the bigger crowd rolling in. In Tubelight’s case that never happened because it turned out to be an astonishingly boring film. Salman plays a man with intellectual disability who waits for his soldier brother as the war between India and China goes on. Beyond this one-line plot, there was really nothing to it. Sure, it had a message of peace and brotherhood woven into it but people spend money to be entertained too. And if the grand vision of the director can’t include that then it would be an art film. Also Salman has been a disaster as an actor in the movie. He is in any case a limited performer but he had a larger than life screen presence to make up for it. If that is taken away then even his fans will reject him as they did.
The one man heaving a sigh of relief at Tubelight’s poor showing might be Shah Rukh Khan who has also been rejected by the audience for some time now. It is good to have company when one is down. Also, the common factor in both Jai Ho and Tubelight has been Sohail Khan, Salman’s brother. He directed Jai Ho and has an important role in Tubelight. There might be a lesson in it for Salman to keep family and career separate.
In a country where awards are bought and sold on a daily basis, Bollywood has always understandably been obsessed with the Oscars. Even someone like Aamir, who spurns all Indian awards, lobbied with great focus when Lagaan looked like it had a shot at the Oscars.
The Oscars are decided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and there was some gladdening news for Bollywood from that front. Not that anyone got a surprise Oscar, but when the Academy broadened its list of members, quite a few from the Hindi film industry also found themselves getting a membership.
The names include Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai and more. What exactly they will do is unclear. Also unclear is whether any of them get to vote for the Oscar winners. But just the fact that they are there should be enough for many. What is also not clear is how these names were arrived upon. Aamir Khan is not included and it would be interesting to know whether that was an oversight or he declined an invitation. Same for Shah Rukh Khan, arguably still the biggest star among Indians settled abroad.
What is it with Aamir Khan and outer space? In PK he played a person from another planet who comes to earth and has a series of adventures. And now it seems he will be playing another spaceman in a movie. But thankfully he is a member of the human species this time.
Aamir has reportedly signed for a biopic on the astronaut Rakesh Sharma, who was the first Indian to go to space. This was in 1984 and in a Russian spacecraft. In a poor developing country, he instantly became an icon for achieving the milestone. No doubt, the movie based on his life will be somewhat embellished, but with Aamir in the lead you can be certain that it will be interesting and entertaining.
He does have a penchant for biopics. Dangal was a biopic and about a decade ago there was Mangal Pandey. Dangal incidentally has crossed Rs2,000 crores in total revenues from the unexpected success in China. It is an astonishing feat and if anyone were to predict that a Hindi movie would earn so much even a few years ago, people would have thought it was a crazy ambition.
On the roll
The promotions of Jagga Jasoos are going ahead in full steam and if anyone had any apprehensions about whether its lead actors Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif would have an issue to publicise the movie together, then those have been laid to rest.
Both seem quite enthusiastic about their joint appearances and while there might not be any great joy apparent, they don’t seem uncomfortable. Both of them desperately need a hit and that is a powerful glue to try their best despite the circumstances and bitterness over their break up.
Ranbir incidentally is also a producer of the movie and so is all the more invested in its success. In a recent media interview, he even said that they had considered at one point not going ahead with the movie because of the issues that plagued it. While he didn’t say that his relationship going sour with Katrina was the biggest reason, that was self-evident. But he did reveal that in discussions over the movie’s future, Katrina too had participated. At the end of it, the movie has now been made and will be shown in theatres in the middle of this month.
Meanwhile, there was a strange rumour doing the rounds that the actor Govinda had a small part in the movie. But Anurag Basu, its director, said that was not true and he termed it the movie’s loss!
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