Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat which released during the Republic Day weekend amidst the controversy surprised one and all with its box-office performance. Despite starting slowly at the box-office, the film went on to collect more than 280 crores, thereby emerging the first successful film of 2018.
The protests aside, the film was praised by audience and critics alike mainly for the fierce performance of Ranveer Singh and the artistic depiction of Jauhar sequence in the climax. Period films in Bollywood have seldom found success at the box office, however the tables are slowly taking a turn whereby the audience are getting fascinated by the epic historic tales. In the last 20 years, several actors tried their luck at period films, but the only one to succeed were Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.
While Shah Rukh Khan was warrior Asoka in Santosh Sivan’s directorial, Aamir Khan essayed the character of freedom fighter, Mangal Pandey in YRF’s much spoken about film, The Rising. On the other hand, Salman Khan too ventured into the historical genre with Veer, which narrated the tale of Pindari’s. Here is a look at how the historic films have failed at the Box-Office since 2000:
Asoka was made on a budget of 12.50 crore, thereby being the costliest film of 2001. Despite everything going in its favour prior to its release, the Shah Rukh Khan film wasn’t quite able to win over the audiences. The movie 11.60 crore at the box office and was termed a flop. Asoka was an ambitious film for Shah Rukh Khan, and the superstar in a recent interview revealed that he would like to remake Asoka and rectify the mistakes made back then.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh:
Ajay Devgn and Rajkumar Santoshi teamed up to narrate the story of legendary Indian freedom fighter, Bhagat Singh. Although the film made Ajay Devgn win a National Award, it didn’t do well at the box office. The major reason for the failure was the crumpled release as several films made on the life of Bhagat Singh released during the same period. Mounted on a budget of 20 crore, the film could barely earn 8 crore at the box office.
Aamir Khan and YRF teaming up for the biopic of Indian soldier, Mangal Pandey had got the audience excited. The film marked a comeback of Aamir Khan after a 4-year long break, which just added onto the hype. However, all that glitters is not gold and Mangal Pandey justified the axiom. After the bumper opening at the box office, the film was criticised for its slow narration and flopped at the box office. Made on a budget of 37 crore (approx.), the movie raked in 28 crore at the box office in India.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akhbar marked the reunion of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai after the success of Dhoom 2. Expectedly so, the film attracted controversy from some fringe groups, however the critical acclaim as well as positive word of mouth helped it succeed at the box office. Although the film was not a humongous hit, the producers recovered their money and made reasonable profits. Made on a budget of 55 crore, the film raked in 62.80 crore in India. Hrithik Roshan won a lot of acclaim for his nuanced performance and the film won him several awards.
After Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, it was Salman Khan’s chance to venture into the historical genre. The expectations from Veer were bound to be huge as it marked Salman Khan teaming up for it with Anil Sharma, who is known for films like Gadar and Indian. While the music of the film was successful, the film didn’t quite work with the audience. It was criticised for the prolonged run-time and slow narration. Made on a budget of 63 crore, the film collected 38 crore at the box office.
Bajirao Mastani changed the tides for the historical genre in India. Despite clashing with Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial proved to be a successful venture. The movie, which was Bhansali’s dream project was accepted by the audience with open arms and found appreciation for the narration as well as Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra’s performance. The movie raked in Rs 184 crore at the Box-Office in India.
Although the director-actor combo of Ashutosh Gowariker and Hrithik Roshan delivered a successful film in the form of Jodha Akhbar, they could not reciprocate the success with Mohenjo Daro. The film, which released in 2016 was criticised not just for the unimaginative screenplay, but also the tacky visual effects. While the budget of the film was over 100 crore, it could merely collect 58 crore at the domestic box office.
Padmaavat has indeed been a total game changer for the industry as far as historic films are concerned. Despite several obstacles in the form of protests and limited release, the film collected more than 280 crore thereby emerging the sixth highest grossing Bollywood film of all time. The film didn’t even get the additional padding that the event films usually get from the three major festivals, Eid, Diwali and Christmas. Made on a budget of 220 crore, the film is the costliest Bollywood film made till date.
In the coming few years, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, and Kangana Ranaut will be seen playing the lead role in historic films i.e. Kesari, Taanaji and Rani Laxmibai respective. It would be interesting to see how these films fare at the box office.