Bollywood with growing traces of Hollywood? The Hollywood stamp in Indian movies is unmistakable with the entry of Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros and all the rest of them. They are producing movies for Indians complete with masala themes but that masala is also being suitably blended for the global market.
Bollywood has learnt to match steps with Hollywood when it comes to technique, freshness of ideas, maturity of scripts, and revenues. Today when our films are a part of the Rs. 200 crore club and stars are setting new benchmarks, big foreign production companies with deep pockets, such as Walt Disney and Viacom, are in India working with Indian filmmakers. They have invested heavily in several big budget movies and seem to be reasonably confident about returns on the same.
Add to that producers like Warner Brothers (Mad Max: Fury Road, Matrix), Fox (X-Men, Avatar), Disney (Pirates of the Caribbean, Oz The Great & Powerful), Sony (Spectre), and Dreamworks (Kung Fu Panda, Shrek), are making movies in Hindi and other regional languages.
Bollywood’s badshah Shahrukh Khan’s production company Red Chillies Entertainment, has tied-up with Western Digital Data Storage for its forthcoming Dilwale. Walt Disney India has invested in several movies that are due to release in 2016. These include Aamir Khan’s Dangal, Ranbir Kapoor’s Jagga Jasoos, and Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Mohenjo Daro. Walt Disney also has a controlling stake in Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV, a Mumbai based production house with films like Rang de Basanti and Rajneeti to its credit.
Viacom, the world’s sixth largest cable and broadcasting company, has a stake in Viacom 18 (part of Network 18) and is now a formidable presence in India (also Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) and is in the film distribution business along with Paramount Pictures.
The entry of foreign film majors is having another effect: small towns and cities are seeing single screen theatres converting to megaplexes, theatres having 10-15 screens! Ticket prices have also shot up in the process, but for a country where movie watching is nothing short of a craze, it doesn’t seem to have hit business.
Rather, the name of the game is big business, and film promotions are a part of this with separate budgets. Shandaar, Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo and Tamasha had promotion budgets estimated at Rs. 25 crore and above although there’s nothing to suggest that promotions guarantee box office success. In fact, Shandaar and Tamasha dived at the box office, and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo made it only because of Salman Khan.
Looking ahead at the New Year, audiences have a treat in store. They will be able to choose between movies based on novels, real-life incidents and human relations. Movies such as Dangal, Airlift, Shuddhi, Azhar, Sultan, Raees, Ae dil hai mushkil and Wazeer, any could set off ripples at the box office.
Given that a film earning Rs. 100 crore is no more a big deal, a movie’s success graph in 2016 will probably start at the Rs. 200 crore club. And the bankability of the star will be critical. Salman Khan’s recent movies, especially Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, have proved that a superstar’s fan value is far more important than the script or any other factor. A word about films in the genre of Titli and Masaan, although well made with great storylines, these films are not box office material.
The New Year could also be good going for movies with super hero themes, also science fiction, fantasy and remakes and adaptations are expected to rule the box office. This is the conclusion of the trade pundits after the unprecedented success of Bahubali: The beginning. Its director Rajamouli has already announced the sequel to the movie.
Until Bahubali, VFX technology had limited play in Indian movies, whether Hindi or regional. It was largely confined to bomb blasts or action scenes. Big budget Bollywood movies such as Kick, Chennai Express, and Bodyguard had about 500 to 1,500 shots in the VFX format, but Bahubali had nearly 5,000. About 2,000 artists and 500 support staff worked on location for nearly 120 days to deliver the right shot. Bahubali grossed Rs.600 crore (third only to PK and Bajrangi Bhaijaan) and set new benchmarks in the use of technology in Indian movies.
Clearly, the Bollywood-Hollywood jodi as it matures and grows, could result in some interesting films. But for Tom Cruise and Deepika Padukone to jhatka, maybe we need to wait a little longer.
Bollywood has learnt to match steps with Hollywood when it comes to technique, freshness of ideas, maturity of scripts, and revenues. Today when our films are a part of the Rs 200 crore club and stars are setting new benchmarks, big foreign production companies such as Walt Disney and Viacom have come into India with their deep pockets and are ready to work with Indian filmmakers. They have invested heavily in several big budget movies and seem to be assured about returns on the same. They know that the Indian audience will fill their coffers
BIGGIES OF 2016
2016 is set to be special for several reasons. Movies inspired by real-life incidents and heroes in real life might break box office records. Apart from current Bollywood superstars, several new faces are set to debut. Let’s have a look at some big-budget movies that have a lot of expectations riding on them
DANGAL: Much talked about movie being made under the Disney banner. It’s about wrestling and is based on the life of Pehelwan Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters. Aamir Khan will play Phogat and the word is to look the part, Mr. Perfectionist Khan increased his weight to 100 kg! TV star Sakshi Tanwar will also be seen in the movie.
SULTAN: Stills of Salman Khan training for the part are already out and shooting is underway. It’s about wrestling with Salman also doing mixed martial arts. The film has no villain, it’s all about Salman’s “internal demons” one is told. Producer is Aditya Chopra and director is Ali Abbas Jafar.
RAEES: A crime thriller starring Shahrukh Khan. It’s reportedly based on the life and times of the late Ahmedabad don Abdul Lateef , who contested from five municipal seats simultaneously, and won all of them! The movie will also feature Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Zareen Khan. Directed by Rahul Dholakia, who won the National Film Award for Parzania.
WAZIR: Starring Amitabh Bachchan as a wheelchair bound chess grandmaster and Farhan Akhtar as an officer of the Anti-Terrorism Squad. Both are brought together by grief and a strange twist of fate. It is being made under the Vidhu Vinod Chopra banner, with Bejoy Nambiar the director.
AIRLIFT: Set against the background of the 1990 Gulf War when Air India evacuated more than 1,11,000 Indians from Kuwait in 50 days and 488 flights. It was a Guinness World Record which stands even today. Stars Akshay Kumar as businessman Ranjit Katyal who helped in the evacuation, and Nimrat Kaur of Lunchbox (and TV serial Homeland) fame. Directed by Raja Krishna Menon, Airlift could be on the lines of Ben Affleck’s acclaimed Argo.
MOHENJODARO: An epic adventure-love story starring Hrithik Roshan with music by A R Rahman. The film is set in Mohenjo Daro, one of the largest settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization dating back to 2500 BCE. Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar who it is said, spent three years researching the film. The visual effects are likely to be spectacular. Disney is the producer.
SHUDDHI: Being made under the Karan Johar banner, Shuddhi has been in the news for its forever-changing cast. Hritik Roshan, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, all of them have turned down the offer of starring in the movie, and it is now believed that the film’s hero and heroine will be Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, respectively. Inspired by the Shiva trilogy book Meluha, the movie is being directed by Karan Malhotra. It is believed that this might be the most expensive movie of 2016.
AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL: With this movie, Karan Johar is gearing up to turn director after a long time. The movie’s story has also been scripted by him. The movie will feature Aishwarya Rai, Ranbeer Kapoor, Anoushka Sharma, and Fawad Khan. It is believed that this romantic offering by Karan Johar has been inspired by Doosra Aadmi.
MIRZIYA: Through this romantic movie, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra will launch new faces Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher at the big screen. The movie’s attraction will be the beautiful valleys of Ladakh. It is worth noting that Harshvardhan Kapoor is Sonam Kapoor’s brother.
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