2017: When small-town wonders raked in big-time box office moolah
It was the start of the millennia, and Karan Johar with royalty aplomb, was leading us into the worlds of Raichands and Kapoors who had their manicures on point and accents polished, even when they were broke or struggling. We are not complaining. We loved the stories and the characters, the reason they have achieved a cult status today.
However, more than a decade down the line, things started changing. For better, the audience opened its arms to grittier and earthier characters, and filmmakers also understood that did not need to demarcate between commercial and critical cinema, that small town need not necessarily mean abuses and dung, that the stories of small towns could also be weaved around the roses of love and friendship and still be as loved by the masses and classes alike. Vicky Kaushal’s debut ‘Masaan‘ was proof of the fact.
And the year 2017 witnessed just the same.
The first small-town wonder Bollywood witnessed this year was Akshay Kumar-starrer and the second instalment of a surprise hit, ‘Jolly LLB.2’. The movie was based out of Lucknow and had all the elements of a good screenplay and writing infused with the flavour of small town. Loved by all it went on to cross 100 crores and was a hit. The first quarter also saw ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ which too emerged to be highly successful. The story of a Jhansi girl who runs from her marriage to pursue her career, and her fiance, a small-town Romeo who pursues her, coupled with issues of want of a boy-child, giving preference to marriage over career of a girl, came to highlight, making this another loved movie.
In came the month of May and we saw ‘Hindi Medium’, another realistic take on the topic of education. Replete with humour, though this one was based out of Delhi, this time the makers went into the underbelly of the capital and captured the gritty and real life of a couple trying their best to get their daughter admitted into the best English Medium school. Audience related and the movie was a success.
Soon after, after much hullabaloo and CBFC ban, we finally got to see Alankrita Shrivastava’s ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, a film based on the sexual desires and lives of four women across different ages, in Bhopal. The movie too managed to win the hearts of critics and audience alike.
August saw ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’. Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer was based in a village and dealt with the issue of open defecation. The movie turned out to be one of the biggest success of the year.
However, it was not that just movies with a social cause were successful, given they were set in small towns. In the month of August, also came a small-budget movie ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi!’. Starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon, the movie was a simple love story set in the city of Bareilly, and no one knew that it would turn out to be the sweetest surprise of the year. Soon after, Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar‘s ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ hit the theatres and audience took it through the box office test by showering all the love on the bittersweet love story of a small town couple about to get married but facing a “small” problem.
The year may not have closed on ‘Padmavati’, the biggest and grandest movie of all, but it surely gave us two more small-budget small-town-esque wonders; ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ feat. Irrfan Khan and Parvathy and Vidya Balan‘s RJ act in ‘Tumhari Sulu’, even though those were based in big cities. And guess what? These two too grossed at the box office.
Small town’s small happiness and bigger moolah. Bollywood’s Mantra of dishing realistic stories with small town backdrop surely seemed to work its magic this year. Let’s see whether it will continue with the release of movies like Akshay Kumar’s ‘PadMan’ and Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra‘s ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’.
Source: YouTube, Giphy
Real 'Soorma' Sandeep Singh gets candid about his biopic
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Your talent will take you places, surnames won't..
Being born into a filmy family has its own share of good points and bad ones. Being in the news from your first day on the earth is one of the highlights of it. The moment you step into this world, there are flashes, flashes and flashes everywhere. No matter how hard the celebs try to keep their kids away from the limelight, paparazzi always finds a way to capture them.
Forget about just being clicked at every place you visit, with your birth in a Bollywood, you have a lot of responsibilities attached. Besides responsibilities, comes criticism, allegations and curses for replacing a potential person who struggles hard to make a mark for himself/herself in the industry.
As much as it is a privilege or a boon to be starkid, it is equally a bane too. Throughout the journey, you may face a lot of unnecessary bashing, but the moment you prove your worth, the same people, who accused you of being privileged, will shower praises on you. Well, I am not here to defend the star kids or criticise them either, what I mentioned above is the exact scenario in the film industry right now.
Take the case of late actress Sridevi‘s darling daughter, Janhvi Kapoor. Much before the release of her debut film ‘Dhadak’, the debutante was bashed by a number of people who accused the girl of being a part of the filmy family. I do understand these star kids have an upper-hand when it comes to great opportunities, but that doesn’t mean one judges them before watching their final output. Janhvi herself admitted that she has an extra advantage and understands people’s outrage too, and this is quite mature on her part as the rest in the industry fail to acknowledge the scenario.
In a recent interview with HuffPost, Janhvi said, “I understand that you feel like you have been robbed of an opportunity that has been handed to me. I’m sure there are people who are more talented than me, and more good-looking than me – I promise you there are. But I am not going to pass this opportunity just because of that.”
“The only thing I can do is value it and make the most of it. It is wrong and messed up if I take advantage of it or if I become complacent and think it is my birthright to be here. I know it is not. I know I need to earn people’s love. I know I need to work ten times harder because there is a stigma attached to how I’ve gotten this opportunity”, added the young girl.
You see, they too understand its not their birthright and all they need is an opportunity to prove themselves just like anyone of us. It’s true that they do grab an opportunity early than the rest of us, but then this is how the industry works. Nepotism does exist, there’s no denying to the fact, but that doesn’t mean we curse them for the same.
In the past, few actors have misused their advantage, but they are nowhere to be seen right now. Audiences now are matured enough to know the right and wrong, hence, there are so many actors who are in the industry without a godfather and doing exceptionally well. Kartik Aryan, Nawazzudin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Sushant Singh Rajput are some of the examples.
Its no more about being an insider or an outsider, it is the talent which works. Even if one is Kapoor or Khan family ka beta/beti, the mibute they fail to perform, their career will be doomed. Take Ranbir Kapoor for instance, the guy who comes from the first family of Bollywood, had to every now and then face failures, but it was his will and acting skills which got him the position of a star today. People like Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff have proved their mettle as actors and there is no one out there who points fingers at them. The coming generation of Bollywood i.e Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Panday, will have to go through the same to make a mark.
Finally summing up my piece, in simple words- It doesn’t matter where you come from or which family you are born in, it is your talent and work which will take you places and not your surname.
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Sequel of a biopic! Seriously? What is wrong with Bollywood filmmakers?
Time and again Bollywood has followed trends that are already popular in other film industries. Earlier in our industry, a film was never developed into a franchise but over the past few years, several big banners offered the viewers with hit franchise like ‘Baahubali’, ‘Dhoom’ ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ among others which went on to become huge box-office successes.
Though these movie franchises have been a huge hit, however what pains us the most is how the concept of sequels is so misunderstood by some filmmakers in Bollywood. In the name of sequels our filmmakers just try to en-cash on the popularity of the film’s previous instalments. We have very few franchises which actually take the story of its previous instalments forward. Otherwise, a majority of the time only the title of these films are similar with an added suffix of 2, 3 and so on.
Another current trend that Bollywood is diligently following these days is making biopics. Yes, every second filmmaker is making a biopic either on an actor, politician, sportsperson or some other eminent personalities. Though we don’t have any problem with these biopics but anything done excessively defeats the purpose of such biopics.
Just because a biopic became a success at the box office everyone in B-town now either wants to make one or star in one. Currently, we have near about 15 biopics in the pipeline! Yes you read that right. We wonder when our filmmakers are going to get rid of this herd mentality.
Now, these already lined up biopics weren’t enough that stories of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s biopic ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’ and the recently released ‘Sanju’ (based on the life of Sanjay Dutt, one of the most controversial actors of Bollywood) to have a sequel started doing the rounds. Ever since I came across these stories I am scratching my head and wondering since when biopics started having sequels???
Reportedly, the sequel of MS Dhoni biopic will focus on Dhoni’s achievements after India’s victory at the 2011 World Cup. Apparently, the sequel may even focus on Dhoni’s personal life, especially the birth of his daughter. On the other hand, there have been reports of ‘Sanju’ having a sequel as many important phases of the actor’s life were missing from the current film.
It is an understood fact that a life of a person cannot be captured entirely in a 2-3 hours film, and therefore tremendous effort has to be put in the scripting stage of these biopics so that all the crucial parts of that person’s life are covered. However, our filmmakers are very innovative thinkers and have therefore come up with the idea of making sequels of biopic!
Interestingly the writer of ‘Sanju’-Abhijat Joshi, in one of his media interactions during the film’s promotions had said that out of 750 pages of the actor’s (Sanjay Dutt) life they have used only 150 pages in the film. So still there are a lot of interesting stories from the actor’s life that can be translated on the celluloid. But thankfully, director Rajkumar Hirani has clearly told Sanjay and Ranbir Kapoor that there would be no sequel of ‘Sanju’, as according to him, ‘A person can have only one biopic’ and that’s exactly and precisely what our point is! No matter how many interesting chapters there are in a person’s life, he or she can have only one BIOPIC. Period.
How we wish our other Bollywood filmmakers understand that a sequel means a film that takes the story of its previous instalment forward (and not just a way of en-cashing on the popularity of the franchise) and also the fact that the way a person can never play himself in his/her biopic, in the same way, there cannot be a sequel of a biopic no matter what.