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Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes – May heat saps filmgoing public with little to excite but online…

Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes – May heat saps filmgoing public with little to excite but online…

As big Bollywood fare stays out of theatres probably due to the Indian heatwave, here’s the rest that’s bubbling away…

By Rodrigues C

IN INDIA the election fever is still on – the last day of voting is on June 1 and so too is the heatwave. Delhi recorded its highest ever temperature of 52.3C on May 30.

In fact, it was reported recently that the shoot of one of Ayushmann Kurrana’s upcoming films in Delhi had to be cancelled because of the heatwave. Surprisingly, May has been a lacklustre month for Bollywood releases. Nothing big came out this month.

The Rajkummar Rao biopic ’Srikanth’ released on May 10 and has so far collected only about £3.4 million. Thanks to the film’s low budget, it’s already made a slim profit.


Rao has another film in the pipeline for a May 31 outing. Co-staring Janhvi Kapoor, the romantic comedy has got a good review. The movie’s advance ticket sales have been good owing to low prices, lower than a pound.

Action thriller ‘Bhaiyya Ji’ released on May 24 and has bombed despite featuring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead. Its collection now stands at £550,000.

Soham P Shah directorial ‘Kartam Bhugtam’ starring Shreyas Talpade and Vijay Raaz hit the big screen on May 17. Sadly, the movie has collected just about £75,000.

The lack of interesting fare on the big screen – or rather the fact that there were no mega movies at the cinema halls has paved the way for OTT, as it is commonly known in India, or streaming to take hold of this space in May. Or is it the other way? We wonder.


Take for example Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Netflix TV show ‘Heeramandi’, which has become a massive hit in India despite getting mixed reviews. And, yes the show premiered on May 1. According to the data released by Netflix, the show has generated a colossal viewership of 4.5 million in week one, with 33 million viewing hours. Worldwide ‘Heeramandi’ took the second spot in the most watched non-English shows of the week behind ‘The Asunta Case’, which received around 12 million views in its second week.

The first week viewership of ‘Heeramandi’ was higher than other non-English shows such as ‘Supersex’, ‘Gyeongseong Creature’ and ‘The Killer Paradox’.

The series is so popular, it’s being watched almost everywhere thanks to cell phones; in trains, railways stations, restaurants etc. The show has given a new lease of life to the careers of long forgotten actors such as Fardeen Khan and Manisha Koirala; they are being interviewed by several publications.*

Actors who have played cameos in the show are being interviewed which is a rarity. The Mumbai police too has decided to cash in on the popularity of ‘Heeramandi’ by twisting its dialogues and shayari (poetry) to promote public safety.

Bhansali, who is the flavour of the month, is in the news for his upcoming project as well.
The ace director will soon start shooting for ‘Love & War’ starring Vicky Kaushal, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. He has disclosed that the film will be a love triangle and won’t have ‘pillars, drapes, jewellery’.

Jaane Jaan

Bhansali last worked with Bhatt in ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ (2012) and with Kapoor in ‘Saawariya’ (2007). He will be working with Kaushal for the first time.

Sticking to OTT, Kareena Kapoor’s recently released film ‘Jaane Jaan’ has been breaking records on Netflix. The Sujoy Ghosh directorial has received a massive 20.2 million views globally, thereby taking it to the number-one spot for Netflix’s Indian arm in the second half of 2023. The film even managed to secure the 83rd position on the Netflix’s global most-watched titles list.

‘Maharagni: Queen of Queens

So, Kajol and Prabhu Deva have reunited on screen after a gap of 27 years for the movie ‘Maharagni: Queen of Queens’. The duo last collaborated in Rajiv Menon’s ‘Minsaara Kanavu‘ in 1997. The trailer of the movie was shared by Kajol on social media and it has been generating good buzz online. Not much is known about the film other than the fact the film is an action thriller, a first in Kajol’s career. The cast includes Naseeruddin Shah, Samyuktha Menon, Jisshu Sengupta and Aditya Seal.

June, when monsoons arrive in India, will be slightly better with movies such as ‘Chandu Champion’ and ‘Emergency’ to watch out for. By the time the latter hits theatres, we shall know if the film’s lead – Kangana Ranaut – will enter India’s Parliament as its newest celebrity member. Till then…

* spoke to four female leads of ‘Heeramandi’ – Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Aditi Rao Hydari and Sharmin Segal and also male star Taha Shah Badussha at the Cannes Film Festival 2024 –

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture