Jab Harry Met Sejal, Baahubali 2, Tubelight

Bollywood is one of the largest producers of movies in India. With each passing year, the number of films releasing has only increased. This year, it has been no different. In fact, this year there have been even more movies releasing. However, how many names from those would one remember, hardly five or six. Reason being, that almost 90% of the movies that released this year, have tanked at the box office. In my personal opinion, apart from ‘Baahubali 2’ and the recently released flick ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’, none of the movies have really managed to make the cut, and former too was a South movie, dubbed and released in various languages, Hindi included. Have you ever pondered upon the reasons behind the dismal performance of movies that were sure to be a blockbuster?

Well, let’s get started on the possible reasons according to us, that are to be blamed for the poor success rate of movies so far. To start with, there has been too much of clutter in terms of unlimited movies being made year by year. Apart from ‘Baahubali 2’ and Salman Khan’s Eid release ‘Tubelight’, none of the movies managed to get a solo release. How could they? There are plenty of movies struggling to find a release date. So in such cases, the makers have no choice but to face clash from other movies. We have seen instances when as many as six movies released on a single Friday. The movies may be of vivid genres, but the audiences have become wiser and choosy. Nobody wants to watch six movies and each family will select one movie on an average. So, the movies which lack proper promotions are lost in the crowd and do not fetch any profits, in fact incurring losses for the producers. Well, there really can’t be a solution to this problem because the number of filmmakers is on a rise and we are only going to experience more and more movies in the coming years. (Also Read: Is the ‘Khan’ era coming to an end?)


Now, let’s take it from the point of view of the moviegoers. In today’s time, the attention span of a moviegoer has reduced considerably. It is not an easy job to appease the audiences anymore. Ample promotional strategies, huge marketing skills may help create a buzz for the movie, but they do not guarantee success for it. Take the example of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and Salman Khan-starrer ‘Tubelight’. While, ‘Tubelight’ released during Eid, ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ released in August and sadly none of the movies managed to rise up to the expectations of the audience. Can you imagine a Khan movie losing its sheen in the minds and hearts of the audience? Yes, we saw it happen this year as SRK and Salman movies failed to garner the desired response. The reason we believe is changed perceptions and tastes of the audiences. The audience has reached a saturation point and is no longer interested in going through the tried and tested formulas. The same old love stories are no longer pleasing them.

Now, when we talk about concepts, we realise one more issue, dearth of originality and fresh ideas. Well, we have discussed it in the past in terms of songs being recreated, but let’s take into account the bigger picture. Not just the songs, the entire concept of a movie gets uplifted from either a Hollywood flick or from an old Bollywood classic. The only difference is that while earlier it was blatantly copied for people were not that aware, with the advent of social media and people’s taste venturing in Hollywood, filmmakers are buying the copyrights and making official adaptations. Not just that, the remakes and sequels of Bollywood movies too are being done aplomb. Nothing is anymore enticingly original or appeasing. We have been seeing so many sequels and remakes of movies that the novelty has just died down for the audiences. An original will always remain an original and this is a thought that is echoed by a major chunk of our audience. You know the story, you know what’s going to happen next, why would you want to watch it on a big screen, unless you are a fan of the actors? So yes, this is another possible reason according to us.

Now, as we talk about change in tastes and less attention span, another thought that instantly rings a bell is overpriced tickets and snacks in cinema halls. Gone are the days when tickets were mere Rs 50-100, these days, if you want to catch a movie in a good theatre, you have to be prepared to shell out anywhere near Rs 200-300 and then add the snacks cost, you end up paying Rs 500 per person. So, that makes it Rs 1000 for just two people for a single show. In such cases, the audience becomes wary about catching a show and this results in low box office numbers for a movie. An exception here would be ‘Baahubali 2’. The first part had already established itself and the second part further boosted the success of the movie, so the high ticket prices didn’t hinder the progress of the movie. But this was just a rare case. Also, we again state here, that this was not a Bollywood movie.

As we discuss about overpriced tickets, another very serious topic comes to the forefront, and that is of piracy and online downloads. Well, people prefer spending money on trips and outings as they know that the movie which has released last Friday will be available on torrents easily and that too in HD print. So, that makes it damn easy for the movie aficionados to watch a movie in the comfort of their houses. They don’t realise the repercussions of it, but that’s how it has been. Then, we see movies getting leaked, sometimes even before their release date. Another disappointing factor for the filmmakers as the leak of the movie results in less viewers in cinema halls and subsequently less money in their pockets.

So in spite of some filmmakers trying their level best to come up with innovative concepts for their movies, lack of promotion, no breathing space, piracy, overpriced tickets result in dismal performance of the movies at the box office. The only solution and way ahead that we can see now is to understand the pulse and needs of the audience, study their preferences and come up with original concepts. Then, the next step would be to keep the ticket prices at the minimal and wait for a good release day, so as to avoid clutter. Little patience won’t hurt, right?