Here’s your monthly fix from a very wet India, and the the headlines surrounding ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani’, ‘Jawan’ and ‘Bawaal’…
BY Rodrigues C
RAIN is the order of most days here – the monsoons have hit India with a vengeance.
Its arrival was delayed in Mumbai but as things stand, this has been the city’s wettest July ever.
Film shoots in Hyderabad, especially that of ‘Pushpa: The Rule’ have been affected due to rains.
As for Bollywood, its business as usual because the downpour hasn’t caused any disruption in the megapolis.
Take for example the premiere of Karan Johar’s ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ (‘RRKPK’), which was held on a rainy Tuesday last week (July 24).
Other than the movie’s lead pair Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, and actors associated with it, the event was attended by Bollywood stars such as Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal, Ananya Panday, Sara Ali Khan, Gauri Khan, Jaya Bachchan, Malaika Arora, Neha Dhupia and Shabana Azmi despite the monsoon fury.
The only disappointing aspect about the grand gala, which we are certain wasn’t due to the wet weather, was the absence of Johar’s best buddy Shah Rukh Khan. SRK, as he commonly known, was also the most eagerly expected person at the evening.
The £19 million ‘RRKPK’, as it is also referred to, completed its first weekend run (releasing on Friday, July 28).
After a lacklustre start on the opening day, it picked up on Saturday, Sunday finally making a sizeable £4.5m. Considering ‘RRKPK’ wasn’t competing against any other Bollywood film over the weekend, it was expected to perform far better.
Its closest competitor was ‘Oppenheimer’, which has minted around £9.5m in 10 days in India. The controversy attributed to a lovemaking scene in the Christopher Nolan film may have helped its box office run here.
At no3 is ‘Barbie’ – both films are by big studios – Nolan’s is Universal Pictures, while Barbie is from Warner Bros.
Staying with controversy, the recently released Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor film ‘Bawaal’ has landed itself in soup because of its storyline, which compares the rocky marriage of its lead characters to that of the suffering of Jews at Auschwitz.
The NGO Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), which works for the welfare of holocaust victims, has demanded that Amazon Prime Video drop the movie from its platform as the Nitesh Tiwari directorial trivialises the issue.
A statement issued by SWC associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper says, “By having the protagonist in this movie declare that ‘Every relationship goes through their Auschwitz,’ Nitesh Tiwari, trivializes and demeans the memory of six million murdered Jews and millions of others who suffered at the hands of Hitler’s genocidal regime.”
Even Israel’s ambassador to India Naor Gilon has spoken out against the film, saying that he hasn’t seen the film but read that it has a “poor choice of terminology and symbolism” and “trivialisation of the Holocaust should disturb all”. The diplomat has also urged people who don’t know “enough” about the “horrors of the holocaust to educate themselves.” The Embassy of Israel in India had also slammed the film separately.
Responding to the film’s criticism a few days back, Tiwari, had said that people can “question the creative process” but when they ask about the “intent” it gets “hurtful” as it puts a question mark on his “credibility” which was “built over years of hard work”. Dhawan and Kapoor had also defended the film previously.
The other film that is gaining eyeballs in India is an unreleased one, SRK’s ‘Jawan’.
Last week, 45 days before its September 7 release, the thriller launched the first look poster of Vijay Sethupathi, featuring the tagline “The dealer… of death”.
Earlier, its makers released the close up of a character from the flick without naming him, which lead to the film trending throughout that weekend.
Another update about the film that is making waves here is its soon to be released song, ‘Zinda banda’, which has been shot for over five days. The track features 1000 female backup dancers from Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Madurai and of course Mumbai grooving with SRK.
The £1.4m budgeted track has been sung and composed by Anirudh Ravichander, written by Irshad Kamil and choreographed by Shobi. India’s most expensive song is ‘Yanthara lokapu sundarive’ from ‘2.0’, which was budgeted at £2m, ‘Zinda banda’ now takes the second spot.
All eyes will be on ‘RRKPK’ this week as its been directed by Johar, who is considered to be a box office trump card. If the movie fails to make ₹100 crore (about £9.5m), which is a benchmark for hit movies in India, it will bring back the gloom in Bollywood again. For now, let’s keep our fingers crossed…