Dangal made a whopping amount from its release in China, making it the most lucrative movie to be ever made by Bollywood. Compared to Dangal, Aamir Khan made Secret Superstar on a shoe string budget. And it did not even have him as the central character. The movie did reasonably well in India at around the Rs60 odd crore range, which was about three to four times its cost.
It recently got released in China too and the figures have been astounding to say the least. In just one week, it crossed Rs300 crores in revenues there. That is more than five times what it did in India in its entire spell. And the movie possibly has many more weeks to go in China. As a return on investment, Secret Superstar will easily be much more for Aamir. It also once again highlights the strange adulation that the Chinese have developed for him. When he went there recently to promote Secret Superstar he was mobbed like one of their own superstars. Aamir himself has said in interviews that his movies resonate there because the people of the two countries are very similar in what moves them emotionally.
It was a sentiment reflected in a commentary by the Chinese news agency Xinhua which noted: “Chinese filmgoers’ appreciation of Aamir Khan’s films reflects the common aesthetic pursuit of the two countries, which should be extended from the cultural aspect to broader areas, including politics and the economy.”
During his China visit Aamir also said that he would like to make a movie featuring both Chinese and Indian actors. That way the Indian audience could also get a glimpse of Chinese talent and it would also bring the two countries closer together. In fact, Aamir has now opened the China market for other Bollywood filmmakers in a way they never thought possible. It means an entirely new revenue stream, which might also be reflected in the content and scale of movies that will be made.
Padmavat finally got its long-waited release last week. However, it was not without an extraordinary amount of protests still ongoing against it. In fact, in a number of states agitating caste groups took to the streets vandalising and unleashing violence. In one instance, they stoned a bus full of school children and video clips of the terror that these kids were under, made it to the national prime time news.
The theatres screening Padmavat saw a high level of security in order to prevent attacks. Meanwhile, the governments of many of the states where this agitation happened put their hands up because they did not want to antagonise vote banks, thus adding to the law and order problem. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the filmmaker behind the movie, might have had nail biting moments all the way to the release but once it finally happened he should be resting a little easier. Because the enormous publicity the movie received has led to it becoming a big hit.
As soon as it came out, curiosity made people line up to go to the over 4,000 screens where the movie was being shown. The production company announced that even before the weekend there were more than a million viewers who had already seen it.
Meanwhile, the reviewers have more or less called it an average show. While they felt that it had the usual dazzle of Bhansali’s opuses, as a story it was thin and without substance. But that could be said of most of Bhansali’s recent movies. It does make one wonder as to what would have been the movie’s fate if it had not been the subject of such a massive controversy.
One thing you can be sure about when two big stars are in a relationship is that the rumours will take 180 degree turns all the time. Not that it might have any bearing on what is the actual truth of the matter, which obviously the media and public would only receive in time. Just a few months ago, the gossip mill was saying that Deepika and Ranveer were cooling off towards each other and the relationship had hit a rough patch.
But now the exact opposite is being said. Some of it was fuelled by them coming together hand in hand for a special screening of their just released movie, Padmaavat. They sat together exchanging cozy comments. There have also been rumours that the couple might soon be getting engaged. Apparently, they were waiting for the release of the movie before making the status of their relationship official. And the wedding might be slated for this year.
But then Deepika herself was in a radio show recently where she said that there was no plan of getting married anytime soon. Until it happens, like Anushka Sharma’s recent marriage, their fans will have to keep guessing.
Aiyaary, the movie that Sidharth Malhotra is banking on to get him out of the rut in his career, is now facing a curious problem. The movie was scheduled to be released during the Republic Day long weekend in January end but then Pad Man, which stars Akshay Kumar, was also going to be released the same time. Since they didn’t want to take on an Akshay movie, Aiyaary’s release date was shifted to February 9. But then Padmaavat’s producers decided to release the movie during the Republic Day weekend and Pad Man in turn postponed to February 9. That meant Aiyaary would once again clash with it.
This has obviously not gone well with Sidharth. He has had a series of flops and desperately needs a big one. And a competition is not the best way to ensure it. In an interview to a newspaper, Sidharth said that they had been gracious enough to shift the date initially in order to get more people to watch Aiyaary but had never been shy of a clash. And that Pad Man seemed to be fixated on every date that they chose.
His comments do seem to indicate that this time they are not willing to relent and the two movies will eat into each other’s business. That might not be good news for him if Aiyaary ends up a flop as a result.
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