Will 'Brand Prabhas' take a beating?

In the world of cinema, the saying goes that you’re only as good as your last Friday. Prabhas’ last two films, Radhe Shyam and Saaho, did not live up to the expectations, and collections of the mythological drama Adipurush directed by Om Raut, have been dropping drastically — the film maybe a flop.

Does this mean ‘Brand Prabhas’ has taken a beating?

The figures say otherwise. Adipurush had a humungous opening — for a South hero to have one of the biggest openings in Indian cinema is unbelievable.
Filmmaker Mani Shankar explains that it takes a director to make a film.

“Superstars can only guarantee you the openings, but nothing beyond that,” he says, adding that a hero per se doesn’t mean anything after the first three days. The films that Prabhas has done after Baahubali (Sahoo, Radhe Shyam and Adipurush) display a lack of quality content, he says.

In his view, a superstar is an ‘outer shell’ while the writing (story) and director are the core strengths of a film. “What happens is, when a superstar is roped in, filmmakers get complacent and assume that they can get away with a mediocre script. The effort that’s being put to cast a star is not being shown in writing,” Mani laments, adding that there are no bad stories, only bad storytellers.

Superstars’ goodwill

In a scenario where storytelling is the hero, a true superstar ideally puts the script ahead of everything. A zoom into Prabhas upcoming films — Salaar, an untitled film with director Maruthi and the Sandeep Vanga directorial Spirit – shows that his image is actually soaring.

The budgets of Project K, Salaar and Spirit are reportedly more than Rs 200 crore while Maruthi’s film is mounted around Rs 125 crores. And trade is betting big on such films.

A producer of one of Prabhas’s upcoming films says on condition of anonymity that most of the business stems from the goodwill the star commands. He adds that many audiences come to watch the film believing that the actor offers ‘minimum guarantee’ of entertainment. “When you make a slew of films, all of them may not click at the box office, but even if one film becomes a success, that’ll give you redemption as a star. That’s what the trade operates on. So, no wonder Prabhas’ cumulative business for his upcoming four films is more than Rs 1000 crores,” says the producer.

He adds that the buyers and exhibitors bet big because a star has gained their confidence over a period of time and guarantees them minimum openings of more than Rs 100 crores (gross). “Films is a business that runs not just on numbers but also on a goodwill basis,” he stresses.

For a star, is box office success or failure immaterial?

Screenwriter Gopi Mohan explains that when you call someone a ‘star’, it means that he has already been accepted by the audience; so the failure of one film may not adversely affect his subsequent films. “A failure definitely impacts a star’s next film, but not to the extent that it shocks everyone,” he asserts.

Once an actor achieves stardom, he attains a larger-than-life image, and fans and audiences expect the same high from his next films. So picking a good follow-up is the biggest challenge. Superstar Krishna faced that problem after Allu Seetharama Raju; Nagarjuna had that experience after Shiva, Ram Charan went through the same following Magadheera and Jr NTR too experienced it post Simhadri.

“After doing trendsetting films it is always a challenge for a superstar to pick a follow-up. A star can only trust the story, it is the director’s responsibility to tell it in a way that even the common man can connect to it,” Gopi Mohan adds.

Waiting for the ‘elusive’ hit

As much as they are considered ‘stars’ , sometimes even the best have to prove themselves. Prabhas, Nagarjuna, Naga Chaitanya, Ravi Teja, Vijay Deverakonda, Ram Pothineni, Sharwanand, Akhil, etc., have all had the experience of a ‘hit’ eluding them despite them giving their projects their best. On the other hand, actors like Adivi Sesh, Nikhil, Naveen Polishetty and Nani have consistently produced hits and built their brands.

Senior screenwriter Thotapalli Sainath feels that today, the competition is so high that every actor has to treat every film as their first film, instead of relying on past laurels.

“Merely putting in effort doesn’t guarantee you success. The efforts should be backed by the right scripts that appeal to the present generation. The story should be relatable. I feel some stars have not taken proper care over their choice of scripts. Films like Bheemla Nayak and Vakeel Sab worked because the script was adapted to suit the ethnicity of the audiences,” says Sainath.

“And actors like Adivi Sesh, Naveen Poloshetty, etc., are writers and directors themselves, so they get the basics right and know how to put the emotion across very sensibly. They can handle any script and that’s the reason why they are highly successful,” he states.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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