Epic starrer has reawakened the mainstream cinema market and has paid attention to new trends, including star Ranbir Kapoor talking in the South Indian language of Telugu…
By Rodrigues C
MUMBAI – like the rest of the country – is in the midst of the festive season.
After a long gap, two years of the pandemic, Mumbai is decked up like never before for Navratri – a Hindu festival that comes before Diwali.
Bollywood is in celebration mode as well. Its most expensive film till date, ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva’, which is reported to have been made for a cool £60 million, has been raking in big money at the box office as well as breaking records.
‘Brahmastra’ has collected about £45m worldwide, becoming the first Bollywood film to do so since the pandemic.
It’s the first Bollywood film to collect £35m (₹300 Crores) worldwide in three years. It sold the highest number of tickets on a third Friday.
It got the biggest opening of 2022 (£4.1m), as well as for lead actors Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. It’s the married couple’s highest weekend grosser (£14.5m). It’s the first Bollywood film to top the weekend chart in Australia (£500,000) and now has the biggest opening weekend collection for a Hindi film dubbed in South Indian languages.
‘Brahmastra’’s success, which came right after two duds, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and ‘Raksha Bandhan’ has come as a surprise considering the fact that ‘The Kashmir Files’ and ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’ are the only other hits of Bollywood this year. The film is making news every day in India. Already, there is talk of it being a ‘revival’ or ‘saviour’ for Bollywood.
‘Brahmastra’ owes its success to several factors.
One of them being getting South Indian stars on board to attract viewers from this region.
SS Rajamouli, the man behind ‘RRR’ and ‘Baahubali’ presented the entertainer.
Well-known actors from the region have given the film a profile in the South too.
Chiranjeevi lent his voice to the film and trailer. Jr NTR was part of the promotions in Hyderabad. Nagarjuna’s return to Bollywood after 16 years was another reason.
Then, Kapoor spoke in fluent Telugu at a promotion event. Two sequels are also being planned and reports say either Hrithik Roshan or Ranveer Singh along with Deepika Padukone may be signed for part 2.
All eyes are now on the Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan-Saif Ali Khan starrer ‘Vikram Vedha’, which hit theatres today (September 30)
The £24m million film is a remake of Pushkar and Gayathri’s 2017 Tamil blockbuster of the same name featuring R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi.
While Roshan plays Vedha, a gangster, Khan plays a police officer, Vikram, in the action flick, which was originally linked to Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.
Today also saw the launch of ‘Ponniyin Selvan 1’ – another big budgeted Tamil period action piece.
Directed by South legend Mani Ratnam, the £87m magnum opus stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and South Indian icon, Vikram.
The advance bookings for the film have already crossed 50 million tickets and pre-release business in India and USA has been promising.
In fact, pre-release ticket sales in the US surpassed Thalapathy Vijay’s ‘Beast’ in the US. Trade analyst Ramesh Bala has gone on record saying that the film will overtake Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vikram’ in box office numbers.
Ajay Devgn has narrated the Hindi version of the film, while Anil Kapoor has lent his voice to the Hindi theatrical trailer.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Ratnam recently revealed that then filmmaker MG Ramachandran wanted to make ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ with Haasan more than three decades ago.
Moving away, the Gujarati language movie ‘Chhello Show’ (‘Last Film Show‘), which was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars beating the likes of ‘RRR‘, ‘The Kashmir Files’ and ‘Brahmastra’, has been embroiled in controversies.
Members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) have raised questions over its selection to the Oscars saying it has been produced by foreign studios and that its crew was made up of foreigners.
There have also been suggestions that ‘Chhello Show’ is a copy of the 1988 Best Foreign Language Film winner, Italian drama ‘Cinema Paradiso’; social media users have been sharing identical posters of both movies.
In response, the film’s director Pan Nalin (Nalin Pan, he uses both names) took to Twitter, writing “Copy? Homage? Inspiration? Original? Find out yourself on 14.10.2022 in cinemas near you. Power to the people, let them decide.”
He spoke to www.asianculturevulture.com when the film screened at this year’s London Indian Film Festival – but these controversies had not surfaced and while it was always apparent that the film had similarities to ‘Cinema Paradiso’ it is very Indian and based on Nalin’s own life. It first premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2021 – and acv has championed it ever since.
As far as Bollywood is concerned, the more general picture seems upbeat at the moment ‘Brahmastra’ has given hope. It’s now on ‘Vikram Vedha’ as well as films such as the much awaited ‘Ram Setu’ – to be released on October 24 – to replicate its numbers. It features Akshay Kumar and Jacqueline Fernandez and is about an archaeologist investigating the ancient bridge that once connected Sri Lanka to India. ‘Ponniyin Selvan 1’ is currently guaranteed to reap in millions. Let’s wait and watch.