Where is the cinema in the long run?
I recall the interview of one of our most noted blockbuster filmmakers of the 80s and 90s called Anil Sharma Look at his track record of cinema, which won purely on content Shradhanjali his first superhit redefined femaleoriented cinema and won the box office purely on content Then came Hukumat, which became the biggest hit of 1987 purely on its dialogues and an iconic new villain called S
I recall the interview of one of our most noted blockbuster filmmakers of the 80s and 90s called Anil Sharma. Look at his track record of cinema, which won purely on content. ‘Shradhanjali’ his first superhit redefined female-oriented cinema and won the box office purely on content. Then came ‘Hukumat’, which became the biggest hit of 1987 purely on its dialogues and an iconic new villain called Sadashiv Amrapurkar.
His biggest content victory was a movie called ‘Elaan-E-Jung’ in 1989, this one was released right in between two Amitabh releases ‘Toofan’ and ‘Jaadugar’ both of which bombed at the box office but ‘Elaan-E-Jung’ was a rocking hit. In this interview, however, he lamented how content was going down and as a result, the 75 week and 25 weeks in the theatre were not happening anymore. He predicted in this interview in the mid-90s that there will be a day when movies will run for three days and people will say – “wah kya picture banayi hai!” Today his prophecy has come true.
Bollywood now makes shoot and scoot cinema. Cinema that does not live to see Monday when released on Friday. ‘Race 3’ and ‘Dhadak’ both belong to this example in the recent past. Movies which ran huge numbers on weekends and found vacant seats on Monday.
All of it is blamed on piracy on the internet or the dwindling audience interest. We are told the audiences are no longer just watching a movie as the weekend option. Look hard and you will find how weak and shallow this argument is. The audiences will come in numbers if your movie is good.
There is a huge heart-warming example of a movie called ‘Parmanu’. The movie had very limited promotion and call it the myopia of the multiplex chains that this movie had its screens of release reduced every passing week. Yet this movie has clocked more than 50 days on screens across India. The audience came back because they rarely know what went behind the scenes in Pokharan in 1998 and they wanted to know. John Abraham’s production team set up a good story and the audiences came in droves.
Audiences will come back for content wherever they see it. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Haasil’ sank without a trace on box office but has become a cult on the internet. Is it not the victory of content and therefore the fact that longtime running movies are still a possibility that the makers of the sleeper hit ‘Happy Bhaag Jayegi’ is now coming with a sequel?
Bollywood’s audience is still around they find a ‘Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3’ so pathetically disappointing that they decide to shower all the love on ‘Mission Impossible 6’. It is like a disappointed employee walking into a rival company because he gets respect there. Imagine the audiences and runtime Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3’ would have counted had it been even half as good as 'MI 6’.
Remember Sridevi’s ‘Mom’? That movie clocked runtime in theatres of decent length after it grew on word of mouth purely on its content power. There is a huge small-town segment, which still has only cinema as its entertainment option. Bollywood has to get its act right and you will see the return of 100 days and silver
jubilee cinema. Looks impossible but is highly plausible.