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Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes: It’s a numbers game, baby as streaming shuffles the deck…

Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes: It’s a numbers game, baby as streaming shuffles the deck…

As ‘Drishyam 2’ brings cheer to Bollywood with promising numbers, here’s what all is happening at the box office and on the small screen too…

By Rodrigues C

HELLO UK. Mumbai is getting chilly, though not like there in London. But we are content with what we have – 22C last week – the lowest in five years, hardly sweltering. Have pity on us shivering folks. Haha. We jest, obviously.

In Bollywood though, temperatures are soaring. ‘Drishyam 2’ has turned out to be a big hit and has collected over £16 million at the box office in a span of just 12 days.

Ajay Devgn in ‘Drishyam 2

Released less than two weeks ago (On Friday, November 18) the film’s box office collections had risen by 100 per cent on Saturday, November 16, which is a rare feat in Bollywood. The film has outperformed recent hits such as ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and ‘The Kashmir Files’ in its opening weekends. In fact, reports say some regions in India are facing issues of excessive demand for tickets.

A remake of superstar Mohanlal’s 2021 Malayalam blockbuster of the same name, the Ajay Devgn starrer has restarted the debate about the industry’s revival; a similar atmosphere was witnessed after the success of ‘Brahmastra: Part one – Shiva’ in September.

The Drishyam film also debunked talk of Bollywood remakes getting a thumbs down from moviegoers. Mumbai’s film industry has seen several big ticket remakes bite the dust recently.
These include, Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Jersey’ (‘Jersey’ in Tamil), Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ (‘Forrest Gump’ of Hollywood), Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bachchaan Paandey’ (‘Jigarthanda’ in Tamil) and Devgn’s ‘Thank God’ (‘Sorte Kugler’ in Danish).

Rishab Shetty in ‘Kantara

Another film that has created waves recently is the Kannada action drama ‘Kantara’, which was released on September 30. Featuring Rishab Shetty in the lead role and made on a paltry budget of £1.6m, the film has just been crowned the sixth highest grosser of 2022. With earnings to the tune of £40m, it now ranks behind ‘RRR’, ‘KGF Chapter 2’, ‘Ponniyin Selvan I’, ‘Brahmastra’ and ‘Vikram.’

Staying with box office numbers, ‘Akki’ – Akshay Kumar – who’s had the most number of releases this year, has just delivered another disaster in the form of ‘Ram Setu’.

In fact, this year has been the actor’s worst ever. His three other theatrical releases of 2022, ‘Bachchhan Paandey’, ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ and ‘Raksha Bandhan’ have also tanked.

Surprisingly, ‘Bachchhan Paandey’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’ and ‘Ram Setu’ were released during the festivals of Holi, Raksha Bandhan and Diwali. Historically, festival releases in India have been money spinners.

Akshay Kumar and Rakul Preet Singh in ‘Cuttputli

Akki’s fifth film, ‘Cuttputli’ is the only one that made his producers money thanks to OTT/digital/streaming. Co-star Hrishtaa Bhatt spoke to acv about her role in the film, when talking to us at the Venice Film Festival – Bhatt was part of an International Film Festival of India (IFFI) delegation in the island city.

The thriller, which is a remake of the 2018 Tamil film ‘Ratasan’, was sold to the platform Disney+ Hotstar for a handsome figure of £19m. It’s believed that ‘Cuttputli’ generated good views despite the film receiving negative publicity before its release owing to the fact that 80 per cent of the its budget of £15m was spent on star Akki.

In his three decades long career, Akki’s films have seen such poor box office numbers only in 2011, when ‘Patiala House’, ‘Thank You’ and ‘Desi Boyz’ tanked.

Akshay Kumar in ‘Ram Setu

The actor’s 2023 releases include ‘OMG – Oh My God 2’, ‘Selfiee’, Tamil film Soorarai Pottru’s untitled remake, ‘Capsule Gill’, ‘Jolly LLB 3’ and ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ for which he slashed his remuneration.

By now, we all know OTT platforms are giving tough competition to cinema halls in India. But the last few weeks have seen a new competitor enter the fray.

It’s the television channel Colors because of its hugely popular show ‘Bigg Boss‘ (India’s version of ‘Big Brother‘, which is now in its 16th year. The show, which is a rage in the country largely because of its host Salman Khan has been watched by over 127 million viewers with over 36 billion viewing minutes since its launch on October 1.

Salman Khan in ‘Bigg Boss

It’s since seen a spike of 41 per cent in viewership on Colors. In fact, the show has had 600 million views on Voot, a subsidiary OTT platform of the channel.

Movies such as Vikas Bahl’s ‘Ganapath’ with Tiger Shroff, ‘An Action Hero’ with Ayushmann Khurrana, ‘Salaam Venky’ with Kajol and Rohit Shetty’s much anticipated ‘Cirkus’ with Ranveer Singh will hit theatres in December.

So far, the year has been mostly disappointing for traditional Bollywood. Let’s hope the best is for the last (month of the year). See you all then after Christmas – Happy Christmas!

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture