With most Bollywood films performing well at the box office, the mood has lifted and it’s celebration time in India’s tinseltown as our cineaste reports from a worryingly ‘dry’ Mumbai…
BY Rodrigues C
MONSOONS have been a dampener in August – when the city should traditionally be deluged.
Mumbai has received one of the lowest recorded rainfalls ever.
Probably, this factor has helped filmmakers in Bollywood make big money. You see, it’s raining money, literally… and people are flocking to the cinemas.
Take for example ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani’.
The film had a lacklustre debut but as things stand, it is a blockbuster. It’s now collected ₹150 crore (£14 million) in India alone, which is a benchmark in Indian cinema.
In doing so, it’s created a record of sorts. Its ₹150 crore collection on its 32nd day of release (August 28) is the second slowest ever after ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ (2015), which reached this figure in 49 days. The Ranveer Singh-Alia Bhatt starrer’s worldwide collection is £33m, while in the UK its £2m alone. It’s now the highest grossing romantic comedy in India.
The other film that is roaring at the box office is Sunny Deol’s ‘Gadar 2’. The journey of the Anil Sharma directorial started on August 11 with a collection of £3m, the second-highest in 2023 after ‘Pathaan’.
Since its release, the period drama has made about £46m, the third highest-for a Hindi film after ‘Baahubali 2’ and ‘Pathaan’.
Along with its overseas run, its collection now stands at £58m. It collected ₹450 crore (£44m) in the least number of days (17) beating ‘Pathaan’ (18 days). It’s Deol’s highest grossing film.
Interestingly, as ‘Gadar’ was creating records, its lead Deol was in the news for other reasons.
His bungalow in Juhu, Mumbai, aptly named Sunny Villa, was put up for auction due to non-repayment of a £5.5m loan.
Deol was in London at this juncture promoting ‘Gadar 2’.
But a day after the notice, Bank of Baroda, which had put up the notice cancelled the auction because of ‘technical reasons’. The bank also said Deol had agreed to settle the pending dues.
Back at the box office, another film is performing well – and it’s brought much-needed relief to its lead Akshay Kumar’s one-time dwindling fortunes.
‘OMG 2’, the sequel to the 2012 satirical comedy-drama ‘OMG: Oh My God!’ has raked in £14m million worldwide so far.
Kumar has had five consecutive failures recently – ‘Bachchhan Paandey’, ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’,’ Ram Setu’ and ‘Selfiee’. The actor’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ which made £28m in 2021, is not considered a hit because of its high budget.
Well, it looks like the controversy surrounding ‘OMG 2’ helped it in its run.
The fact that Kumar plays a messenger of Lord Shiva didn’t go down well with some in India. An organisation in Agra offered a reward of £10,000 to anyone who slapped and spat on Kumar. Kumar’s effigies as well as the film’s posters were also burned. The film also ran into trouble with the Indian censor board.
Continuing with the saga of August hit films, Rajinikanth starrer ‘Jailer’ has performed to great expectations. Released on August 10, the action film has minted about £64m worldwide, which included a domestic collection of £32m. His fans have been out in force across the world – and India’s biggest South Indian film star is riding high.
September 7 will see the release of one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Shah Rukh Khan’s (SRK) ‘Jawan’. The film’s music was launched today (August 30) in Chennai. At the event, which was also attended by its director, Atlee, and co-stars , Vijay Sethupathi, Sanya Malhotra and Priya Mani, SRK grooved to the Jawan song ‘Zinda banda’ along with crooner Anirudh Ravichander. Female co-star Nayanthara didn’t show up due to Onam celebrations. Onam is the main festival of Kerala.
The track, ‘Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya’ was released a day prior to the event. The trailer of ‘Jawan’ will be launched tomorrow (August 31) at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Advance bookings of the film have started in the US, UAE, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Germany. In Mumbai, tickets were snapped in minutes wherever advance bookings opened.
In terms of box office numbers August was a blockbuster month for Bollywood. The estimation of the combined collection for August releases is £100m plus.
The numbers will surely boost the morale of Bollywood insiders who have been witness to the industry’s downward spiral in recent times. Good times are here for sure, but are they here to stay – that’s the question all are asking…
Till next month and some long-awaited rains, your bird on the ground in Mumbai says tata…