What Matters in Bollywood’s Box Office Game – Name, ‘Khan’ or Content?
Of late several movies have made it to the Bollywood’s lavish 100 Crore Club, the latest being YRF’s Ek Tha Tiger, which crossed the mark in just 5 days flat. Many of the movies to make the list acheive success due to the star presence, great marketing and promotional strategies while some others with credible scripts and good techniques.
Aamir Khan’s Ghajni (2008), earning a gross of over 115 Crore (INR) became the first movie to crossover the 100 crore mark. And successive films have religiously followed. But the success is quite subjective. Although the Khans, Kumars have pertinent role to play in the box office wins yet the good content part is unavoidable. A good look at the list of the movies made to the club reveals the nuances of the success story.
Aamir Khan as the revenge seeking hero struggling with amnesia was a huge draw of the year. The box office erupted seeing the vindictive Khan in the South Indian remake. The film with encouraging reviews was commendable for A.R Murugadoss’s direction, Aamir Khan and Asin’s stellar performances, the brutal fight sequences and A. R. Rahman’s soulful renditions. A thorough entertainer,it reached the 100 crore benchmark with great content and Aamir’s captivating presence. The publicity and promotion of the movie was tremendous with the Ghajni haircut going in rage at that point.
3 Idiots (2009)
The second consequent Aamir Khan 3 Idiots movie to strike gold was a Vidhu Vinod Chopra multi starrer comedy. With a lavish star cast of Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani the film already had high hopes. To top it, the film was loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller ‘Five Point Someone’. The movie has a record breaking gross of about 202 Crore (INR), the highest ever for any Bollywood film yet. With great reviews and superior acting, directing, editing, music, dialogues, screenplay, story the movie swept most of the awards of the year and is a winner throughout.
Dabangg earned the highest gross in the opening week with 80.87 Crore (INR) and became one of the top grossing Bollywood films of all times. It won a National Award and garnered mostly positive reviews. The inescapable Salman Khan factor had already hyped the movie’s expectations. The content a wholesome entertainment was laden with rich Salman humor and raw fight scenes. In a way, Salman had single handedly carried the movie in his shoulders, with the gist intact.
Although average on content, this Salman Khan starrer Bodyguard fetched a whooping 140 Crore (INR) approximately and earned the highest earnings in the opening week. With a tedious story line and sagging narrative the only saving grace of the movie was Salman’s larger than life presence. The film had the Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s hit pairing after a long time which did wonders to the film’s fate and so did its soulful tracks.
Ajay Devgan and Rohit Shetty’s partnership saw another box office marvel. The Singham met generally with pleasant reviews and was a revisit to the old era action movies. Shetty delivered a well packed action entertainment and the movie earned the lion’s share in the market when released. The movie is another befitting example of skilled piece of work with well handled technical aspects.
Salman Khan’s double whammy in the same year rose the Salman fever to great heights. A very average film on the whole, Ready worked mainly due to the master entertainer, Salman Khan. Bazmee’s ‘brain-dead’ movie may just play round the bush but with a gross earnings of about 121 Crore (INR), it is amongst the eighth highest earning films in Bollywood. The Salman fervor, ruling high and steady is one sure shot means to the rich club.
Rowdy Rathore (2012)
Akshay Kumar’s 2 movies reached the 100 crore target at ease. And Akshay is indeed a happy man! Prabhu Deva directed Rowdy Rathore responded to a brilliant publicity and marketing. The film trailer received over 22lakh viewership in You Tube alone. Hardly a film of substance, Akshay’s moustache twirling masaledar act and some kick-ass action ripped the box office apart. The movie’s “Chin ta ta” track was a huge hit. The Telegu remake saw Akshay in a double role avatar. And it is Akshay’s raw and loud act which took the cash registers swinging.
Housefull 2 (2012)
Sajid Nadiadwala’s multi starrer sequel was huge draw upon its release. With a magnanimous cast, the film manage varied reviews from the critics. But Akshay’s ‘aaaeeye’ performance in the inane comedy with logic defying wit clearly outshone others. The movie was heavily promoted, the cast were on extensive promotional tours and the movie ended earning lump sum. As evident, Akshay’s gravity swiftly helped the film reach an astounding 113 Crore (INR) approximately.
Shah Rukh Khan’s home production Ra.One earned a gross of about 115 Crore (INR). The science fiction flick was extremely well driven in its advertisement campaigns. Shah Rukh Khan is well known for his brand endorsing capabilities. And Khan for the movie’s promotion had tie ups with numerous brands which he personally endorsed. A staggering 52 Crore (INR) were spent on promotional activity. You Tube ran Ra.One links of the film’s trailers, a part of the film’s promotion on web. Even with subdued reviews the movie managed to join the 100 Crore Club. The film set the record for highest single day earning and shattered the Golmaal 3’s Diwali record of first day openings.
Don 2 (2011)
Farhan Akhtar‘s Don 2, a highly stylized sequel managed to book seat in the elite club with about 115 Crore (INR) total earnings. Shah Rukh Khan’s urbane look and smooth antics made the movie a rage. The scenes of the film’s well plotted plan and the slick action were an added advantage to the movie’s reception. With an average theme, the great publicity and Khan’s tremendous fan following gave the action flick its due. And Shah Rukh Khan as he is, had left no effort in the film’s promotion even travelling to Berlin for its international premiere.
Ek Tha Tiger (2012)
YRF’s first production to strike the club has reached the level of 100crore within a span of 5 days. A well timed Eid release, Salman has struck gold consecutively after Dabangg, Bodyguard and Ready. This has further strengthened his hold in the privilege club. The movie though referred as run of the mill, the Salman power has done its wonder yet again. The film shows Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif performing some dreaded stunts.
Not all film’s success can be governed by the star value or high end marketing strategies. Neither do all the movies reach the 100 crore mark to be declared a super hit. Vidya Balan leading The Dirty Picture (2011), a biographical on Silk Smitha’s life was a smashing hit. It had no major stars but what prevailed was the honest efforts and fine content. Similarly, Balan’s Kahaani, another big hit of the year 2012, carved her a genuine niche in the industry. Made with a paltry budget of 8 Crore (INR), the movie became a roaring success.
John Abraham’s production Vicky Donor was one of the low budget movies of 2012. The film on sperm donation and infertility issues was a box office success earning in total about 46Crore (INR) and made Ayushmann Khurrana a household name. A very recent example can be Anurag Kshyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur I & Gangs of Wasseypur II movies. Raw, earthy the movies made for a watch and the crude violence played dangerously. Hailed by critics, a genuine work, the movies did its fair share of business surviving on content only. Other content wise successful movies like Band Baaja Baraat, Ishaqzaade, Ishqiya have had its share of win in the box office without reaching the 100 crore level and without the Khan or Kumar element.
Bollywood is going the number crazy way but to comprise content for money would be a huge discredit. Khans or Kumars sell indeed but only to an extent plausible. And a fine content just boosts up the chances of box office success. So the exclusive club just about manages to settle a heady combination of both the Name and the Idea. And this mishmash of the Fame and Talent is here to stay.