Entertainment Bollywood 28 Aug 2021 When the Bollywood s ...

When the Bollywood stars trip

Published Aug 28, 2021, 6:34 pm IST
Updated Aug 28, 2021, 6:34 pm IST
The latest films of Bollywood biggies haven’t lived up to the hype, but the actors justify the poor show
Salman Khan
 Salman Khan

While Bollywood stars are quick to tom-tom their films’ great collections, they also defend films that do badly. The recent releases of five top stars —  Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and the three Khans —  have not been successful, but several of them are reluctant to accept that their projects have underperformed. Akshay’s Bell Bottom, Ajay’s Bhuj, Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan, Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero and Salman Khan’s Radhe all fell short of expectation.

When the collections of Akshay Kumar’s Housefull 4 were quoted as grossing `200 crore, many in the media and social media challenged the box office numbers, but the star insisted that the figures were credible.


“There is a studio called Fox Star Studios involved with the film. It has huge credibility. It is a corporate company. It runs from Los Angeles. They make films of millions and millions of dollars and for them, an increase in collections by three or five means nothing. So, let’s talk sense. Fox Star Studios are writing it on their own social media handles and it goes everywhere, they have to report to everyone. Nobody is going to lie about this,” Akshay had said.

His Bell Bottom, released in the midst of the second wave of the Coronavirus, has not managed to come anywhere near his recent biggies. Good Newz, which immediately preceded it, grossed `17.56 crores at the box office on the first day. Bell Bottom on the other hand has managed only `17.40 crore, after seven days of being screened.


Publicity veteran Rajesh Vasani of Paras Publicity says that a lot of factors went against the Bell Bottom release. “Akshay has taken the bullet for Bollywood. But Bell Bottom was released without any proper promotions in cinemas and the digital release on Prime Video was done only after the theatrical release and three leading national multiplexes had agreed to release it only if there was a clear window of four weeks given in theatres,” says Vasani.

Also, Bell Bottom did not release in Maharashtra, which usually accounts for 30 per cent of box office collections across India for big films. In an interview before the release Akshay had calculated that, “The business is going to be different because Maharashtra is 30 percent of the total all-India collection. I am left with only 70 per cent and of that, it is only 50 percent occupancy expected. That means I am only left with 35 percent. So out of that 35 percent we can take out 5 to 8 percent, because the film will not be houseful. So I am left with only around 27 percent. …. Now, in this scenario, if the movie does `30 crore business that means it is equivalent to `100 crores otherwise. If the movie does `50 crore then it equals `150 crore (under pre-pandemic circumstances).”


A week ago, Akshay and his wife Twinkle watched the film in London where he has been shooting for his next film. Twinkle had even promoted the film as a must watch. When Salman Khan planned a hybrid release of Radhe with single screens as well as on OTT streaming service, the makers expected the film to do well. While the film was leaked online, the hybrid model did not work; it made less than two lakh (Yes, lakhs!) at the domestic box office.

But Salman probably knew what the numbers would be. “The box office collection of Radhe will be zero, this will be the lowest ever for a Salman Khan film. Let people be happy or sad with that. It is releasing in very few cinemas in India, overseas also the number of theatres is less than usual. So the box office collection will be very poor,” he had said before the release. The film was bad as well.


Apart from Radhe, Salman’s last four films, barring Bharat, also fared poorly at the box office. Tubelight, Dabangg 3 and Race 3 fell by the wayside, not justifying the stardom that the actor carries, because they were disastrously made.
Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj also came in for a lot of flak for looking like a mobile game. Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan was a colossal failure in content and box office numbers and Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero seemed to be well-named, going by its low collections.

“It has indeed been a bad time for the big stars and the industry. But these stars have been there for a while. Content is changing and once they get ready to accept that, they too will have good products out. We will know the road ahead once the theatres open fully and people start going out to the movies like before,” feels Atul Mohan, Editor, Complete Cinema.


Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad