It’s raining blockbusters in Bollywood this year — a year that might just end up with more smashing hits than seen in a decade. That’s the verdict of the media and the ‘trade magazines’ and rent-a-quote ‘analysts’ from those magazines.
The immediate trigger for the trigger-happy media ready to drop their jaws when discussing Bollywood or faced with a Hindi film star is the box office grossing of the latest from the Salman Khan stable — Bodyguard. The film, to believe the media (via the trade magazines), notched up Rs 100 core within a week of its August 31 release.
According to the cover story in Outlook magazine, the Salman Khan-starrer grossed Rs 101.45 crore till September 6 (or the first week of its release), eclipsing Dabang, 3 Idiots and Ready in its smash-hitting ways so far as the opening week is concerned. And spawned yet another barrage of verbiage on how Bollywood is changing.
For India, it happens every six or eight months that a film becomes a hit: the word cult is added as a prefix, box office gross in multiple crores is flashed and the inevitable interview of the lead actor/actress and the producers follow, punched up with quotes from motormouth ‘trade analysts’ and ever-eager Ramesh Sippy telling the same set of journalists how the makers of Sholay never fathomed they were ready to usher in a revolution.
Bollywood, we are told every few months, like a record on loop (or, better still, like an old formulaic film) is reinventing itself with multiplex openings.
Quiz question # 1: How many screens was Bodyguard released across the country? (See answer at the end of the article).
“Digital technology has helped cut down on print costs, making such wide release affordable. No wonder, by the time people realised Bodyguard was an ordinary movie, it had already crossed the Rs 100-crore mark!” says The Pioneer.
Come o the point, mate. “By the time people realised…”? Does the newspaper mean everyone who went to watch the film in the first week did not realise it was an “ordinary movie”? Or does it mean those audiences went back home and meditated like Gautam Buddha for the first week and then enlightenment struck? And then they got up and thundered to anyone willing to listen: “Eureka, it’s ordinary”?
Come on, every film review these days are out on the Friday a film is released, so any right-thinking Homo sapiens knows exactly everything s/he is up for.
And, come on, again, find me even a hundred folks who go watch a film for the second time (I used to do that once upon a time in Mumbai, by the way, every time I felt like sleeping in AC at a time I presumably did not snore so much. But I am a rare specie). So whose “realisation” are we talking about here? Who realised and alerted whom?
Nada, no one that we know of.
The point being, trade analysts in India go by money accumulated by a film. So every second year, when the ticket prices go up a few rupees in tandem with inflation, adds to the collection.
But isn’t it a given that covering the first crore, and every crore thereon, would be much, much easier for Bodyguard, when compared to Dabangg, in comparison to 3 Idiots, when seen against Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, as against Sholay and back we go?
Isn’t it simple arithmetic that only a little over 1 lakh ticket buyers would fetch the producers the first crore if an average film ticket in a multiplex costs Rs 75 these days (and I am not even going for the upper stalls)? I am yet to come across any story or report about the number of tickets in theatres across India for any film — be it Bodyguard, Sholay or Alam Ara.
So how do we know how many people watched a certain “blockbuster”? Surely box office collection shouldn’t be the only calculation to judge the blockbusters, superhits or average hits, as the trade jargon puts them?
In contrast, we know exactly the highest-grossing Hollywood film ever: Gone with the Wind. A simply Google search would tell you that. Originally released in 1939, the film has sold an estimated 202,044,600 tickets. More from Wiki: “The film has made $400 million in theatre receipts since its release, which equates to approximately $2,984 million when adjusted to 2010 prices, making it the highest grossing film of all time. After adjustments for inflation, Gone with the Wind is also estimated to be the highest grossing film of all time in the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Any trade journal or film journalists not acting like fans eager to please the current reigning stars with their interviews and brushed-up shots could do the same in India, and chances are Sholay and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and some other films might just eclipse a few Salman, Akshay and Aamir starrers from the top-10 list.
Any volunteers for giving us the list of ‘real’ blockbusters, inflation-adjusted and ticket sales taken into account?
Quiz answer: 2,600. Obviously, the highest ever; till, of course, we get the next blockbuster in six months.