The ongoing season in India might be monsoon but in Bollywood it is raining flops. Ranbir Kapoor starrer Shamshera was the fifth film by Yash Raj Films YRF to tank after a series of flops, including Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Bunty Aur Babli 2, Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Samrat Prithviraj. YRF is not alone in the fact that there were other big-banner films like Bachchhan Paandey, Heropanti 2 and Runway 34 that failed to get audiences back to the big screens. Experts believe that Bollywood has started losing its edge in the past few years, with the pandemic only aggravating it.
For many years, Hindi films have gone urbane and elitist. They tell the same stories in a way that a common man can understand and enjoy them, down south. Akshaye Rathi, the director of Aashirwad Theatres, says we need to learn from them about how to not alienate anybody.
He insists that Bollywood stars haven't marketed themselves well in South Indian markets.
Big studios like Yash Raj Films release their films like Dhoom, Tiger Zinda Hai, etc. The versions Tamil and Telugu are dubbed. He adds that more Hindi film studios need to do it with more consistency. The Proprietor of Bobby Enterprises and distributor of Delhi, UP and east Punjab circuit Sanjay Mehta explains what has gone wrong.
Hindi films have lost their connection with the masses. They were focusing more on films that were metro-centric, or for the overseas market, because multiplexes bring in more money. Multiplex ticket prices are much higher than single-screen cinemas. He says that is a gap filled by regional films.
Mehta hopes that upcoming films like Brahm stra, Laal Singh Chaddha, Raksha Bandhan and Pathaan, etc. will be made a reality. Bollywood has a better lineup than Covid times, but Hindi films still need to improve and pull up their socks. Special effects of Brahm stra can be compared to Baahubali or RRR. He says that the North has realized that they need to spend more on quality.
Bollywood films have seen decent collections, even when the content has been weak, given the strong fan following of superstars. The content is the primary driver, and that seems to have changed. A recent research report from Emkay Global shows that weak content is the primary factor behind the poor performance of most movies released in the last two-three quarters.
The CEO of Bhansali Productions, Prerna Singh, agrees that content needs to be the king. Her latest Hindi film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, made about 155.5 crore at the box office, nearly half of the 400 crore her last Hindi film Padmaavat earned, according to Sacnilk.
We would have gotten 3 -- 4 x more if it hadn't been for the Pandemic. The idea of a star has changed. She says that you can't show someone's face and expect a hit. There is a gap between the collections of Hindi dubbed versions of South Indian films and Bollywood movies, while there has been some recent hits from Bollywood, according to film trade analyst Komal Nahta.
Bollywood will have to produce 10-12 really good films, cross the Rs 100 crore revenue mark for medium-budget films and the Rs 200-300 crore revenue mark for bigger budget films in the remaining seven months of the year to close the gap with what Hindi dubbed versions of the South Indian films have been collecting, he says.