AskIndicine: Live Now

Q. Salman’s under-performer crossed 1 crore footfalls and 100 crore at box office, is this the lower limit for a Salman Khan starrer under any circumstances?

A. There is no lower limit for any star in today’s times. The limit depends on the film itself. ‘Tubelight’ was niche, but that film had something in it for the smaller centre audience like emotions. But if he attempts an off-beat film for the multiplex audience under the wrong director, then the chances of falling below the 100 crore mark become high. If he sticks to commercial entertainers and doesn’t alienate a huge section of his fanbase in smaller centres, his films should easily be earning 150 crore plus – even if critics and the so called ‘thinking audience’ write it off.

Q. How have the single screens performed for Toilet?is it the best of the year?can we now conclude-Akshay Kumar is a ‘One Man Industry’?

A. Single-screens have done well and sustained in the second week too. Best of the year is Bahubali 2, followed by Raees, Toilet and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. We wonder who came up with these terms like ‘One Man Industry’ for today’s stars? ‘One Man Industry’ means one actor is performing at a different level altogether compared to other superstars in the industry. It was true during the Amitabh Bachchan era when the footfalls for his films were significantly higher than the rest. The initials were huge and people just came to watch the star, who was bigger than the film itself. The closest we’ve seen any other actor come to that level was when ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ and ‘Sultan’ released within a period of less than one year and generated close to 9.5 crore footfalls. A better way to describe Akshay would be ‘Parallel Industry’. He’s very consistent at a lower level, but what really works for him is quantity (number of films) and getting the economics of his films right.

Q. On paper which film looks riskier. Toilet or Padman? And why?

A. Definitely Padman. The story of the film sounds quite risky on paper, especially for the audience at smaller centres where such issues are not openly discussed or spoken about in public. So it’ll be about treatment. If the style of narration, like Toilet:EPK, is entertaining, then it has high chances of becoming another success for Akshay. We’ll know better once the trailer is out.

Q. You never answer my question..I have posted this question for several times. Rank in order of acting ability and popularity – Ranbir, Arjun, Ranveer, Varun, Sidharth, Sushant, Ayushamnn, Rajkumar Rao, Tiger Shroff, Aditya Roy Kapoor?

A. Popularity: Varun (advantage over Ranbir at smaller centres and children), Ranbir, Ranveer, Sidharth, Arjun, Tiger, Ayushman, Sushant, Aditya Roy Kapur. Acting: Ranbir, Ranveer, Ayushmann, Varun, Arjun, Sushant, Aditya, Tiger. We are not including Rajkumar Rao, he doesn’t belong to the commercial space. He’s a terrific actor, but we haven’t yet seen him in mainstream commercial roles.

Q. Do you think TEPK trade figures are manipulated?

A. No comments. No one wants accurate numbers. We prefer to stick to analysis, judging trends and predictions on the website.

Q. According to IMDb Best ever Indian Movie is Anand (1971), Do you Agree?

A. It’s subjective and it’s not right to compare the ratings of two movies either. There are people who believe 3 Idiots is the greatest movie of all time, there are others who say DDLJ or Sholay. There’s no way to compare those movies, no valid points to debate and prove that the other is better.

Q. Can SRK choose good scripts in his future films? Sadly I feel SRK is going Kambli n Ganguly way….how Sachin overshadowed them even though they were way ahead in runs than Sachin…

A. The cricket comparison doesn’t make sense, the man has already achieved way too much to call him anything less than a legend. However, we can only give our opinion, it need not necessarily be the truth. We think the core team around him who have created that bubble of greatness, that he can do no wrong and his stardom will carry him through, is to be blamed for his extended poor run. Else, how can an actor who was the top choice of every director in the industry, go so wrong in the last 4-5 years? He actually has very little to show in terms of outstanding films in the 10 years after Chak De India. None of his films have clicked on television either, which shows the masses and family audience are simply not connecting with the kind of films he does. Rajkumar Hirani wanted to sign him for almost every film that he’s directed so far (not including PK, which he probably would’ve done if he had accepted 3 Idiots). Hopefully things change now after JHMS, it’s a huge reality check because that film has fallen even below Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar and Tamasha. The tragedy is, even in a terrible film like JHMS he delivered a very good performance, so he’s wasting both his stardom and talent with scripts that he should not even have been approved in the first place.

Q. What will be the collections of Toilet Ek Prem Katha if it had release on any normal weekend?

A. Around 10-15% lower.

Q. Why have you changed Kaabil life time collection from 100+ CR to 95 in your latest article?

A. The collections have been fetched from the distributors of the film and have also been verified with circuit wise numbers. It includes collections from regional versions too. The numbers that Rakesh Roshan was quoting was probably gross and we don’t net (after tax) numbers here.

Q. What’s the prospect of Shubh Mangal Sawdhan as again it’s looks like film based on a very dear and bold subject.

A. It’s a sensitive topic. Will men venture out to see the film is a question. But there’s a lot of interest to watch the film. It’s a small film too, so doesn’t need to collect much. It’ll be about word-of-mouth.

Q. Is Akshay Kumar bigger star than SRK? In terms of stardom in India?

A. Not really.  Shah Rukh is far bigger in terms of stardom, and he’ll get those bigger initials and lifetime totals too. Even now when there’s big negativity against him, his films are opening. But even Salman was a bigger star in the 2000s than many other actors in the industry, but when you don’t do the right films, the audience and even fans won’t come. Given the kind of all-India pull that he has, if Shah Rukh doesn’t have those 300-350 crore grossers, he only has himself to blame. The audience is there, but where are those wholesome entertainers that he used to do a decade ago?

Q. Race 3 happening with Salman Khan ? Whose the director ? What about that Dance Draa with Remo ?

A. Official announcement soon.

Q. Don’t you think credit must go to Akshay Kumar for taking ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha’ to super-hit zone because the word of mouth of the movie was not that positive. Don’t you think that Akshay Kumar regained the trust of multiplex audience?

A. Entirely his credit, although the director did his job pretty well too. But to take a small film like ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ to 130-135 crore lifetime is a big deal.

Q. Which films had a better word-of-mouth Jolly LLB 2 or Toilet? Who’s a bigger star Akshay or Hrithik.

A. Almost equal, Jolly LLB 2 and Toilet.  Akshay is the bigger star right now. Hrithik is wasting his stardom.

Q. You always talk about the reason behind films not doing well as being other entertainment options available like Amazon and Netflix, while I do agree with that, I also think it’s a small contributor. I think the major reason is the failure of the makers to realize the audience have evolved rapidly to the point if the film doesn’t have good content ,it won’t work, doesn’t matter if it’s a big film with Superstars or small with unknowns and to ensure that happens we need to empower the writers, to get good scripts rather than spending all the money on the hubris of so called “superstars”. Another big reason is Hollywood, the multiplex audience have access to Hollywood event films with action and special effects, why would the go and watch the done to death romcoms like jhms, unless we try new things it will continue or even get worse, thoughts?

A. One of the biggest reasons is the gradual alienation of audience in small cities. Even the biggest of directors who were once making films for the entire country are now restricting their films to 4-city audience. We would just like to quote some lines from a Raj Kapoor interview from 1976. It’s important for some of our filmmakers to read this.

Raj Kapoor said “By and large my experiences have been with cinema, not drawing-room cinema. I make cinema for the people, millions of people are going to see a film I make. So I make so-called commercial films, successful films which people pay to see time and time again. I am not an intellectual, not even a pseudo-intellectual, I don’t profess to be one. But I want to do films, using the little knowledge I’ve got, that can appeal to many more people rather than just a few. That’s why I have never been put into the ranks of intellectual or new-wave cinema”

Cinema must please the people. It is a medium that has got to affect people, masses, millions, and if this medium is wrongly used, then, well there are other mediums. The artist should switch. He can become a painter, a composer, a writer, or a poet. I am sure if you went to a cinema with a seating capacity of 1,500, and you saw two people sitting there and watching the picture, you will say the man who made this film is balooney or the man who is running the film is balooney, but actually it is the two who are sitting there who are really balooney

He pretty much sums it up and his words were from 1970s. The metro city audience today are exposed to variety of films and our mediocrity will be rejected outright. The smaller centre audience is still open to heartland films and entertainers, films like Toilet, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dangal will work while they won’t even understand films like Jab Harry Met Sejal, Tamasha or Rangoon. If you want to make such films, sure you can, but you can’t shoot such films overseas and cast major stars who command a huge acting fee. The budget goes up, but the audience is almost non-existent outside those 4-5 cities – where anything less than good films will be rejected in the first weekend itself.

Q. TEPK was a best WOM for Akshay in recent times.But it is not looking to collect 200 crs.What it will take Akshay’s movie to collect those huge numbers,where Aamir & Salman are 300 crs club, Ranbir,Ranvir,SRK, Hrithik have already had 200 crs or near to it & that to 3 to 4 years ago. I know Robot 2 is coming but apart from that movie how can Akshay get huge grosser.

A. If he aspires to get those big grossers, he needs to do big films too. Most of his films today are low budget, content driven and most do not even have a popular female star. That could be the reason. But why his films do not get those big initials on Friday morning is a mystery. The starting level of his films have been stagnating around the 10-12 crore mark for several years now. Only if that goes closer to the 20 crore mark can the big grossers come.

Q. If movies do well in North India Delhi/UP , it trends really well. Looking at TEP trends was it not expected it will trend like TWMR and do over 40 cr 2nd week? Has annabelle and bareily ki barfi reduced atleast 8-10 cr from TEPK 2nd week ?

A. All India trends cannot be ascertained by how one circuit is performing. Tax exemption in UP played a major role too. The word-of-mouth was nowhere close to Tanu Weds Manu Returns, that was quite clear in the first weekend itself. It was better in the north, but we could sense from multiplex audience in cities that not everyone was liking the film – especially the more important second half. Whatever the lifetime total, Toilet Ek Prem Katha is still a huge hit and has come at a time when the industry was struggling – which makes its success even more important. Annabelle and Bareilly haven’t really impacted the business of Toilet Ek Prem Katha by 8-10 crore. The trend is normal for the word-of-mouth that it’s carrying.

Q. Not exactly a Srk fan,but some times when I read comments from other posters like SRK is over or Varun is ahead of SRK etc..I feel those comments should be moderated by the site or removed as it degrades the quality of the site.SRK is some one who has revolutionized this industry.In an era when lead actors were supposed to be macho super humans he was not afraid to play an psychpath and shutterer in Darr or a anti hero in bazigaar or a loser in kabhi haa kabhi naa.I will not comment on how he revolutionized romance in 90’s as it is a well documented fact will only focus on his experimental roles.In 2000’s he did two of the best movies of his career IE Swadesh (which lead to reverse brain drain) and Chakde India ( which focus on two neglected sections of the society IE women empowerment and hockey our national sport).He did both this movies when others super stars were to busy doing commercial flicks.HIs Don series were also not just normal Bollywood action flick they had a Hollywood feel to it. I think the after RA 1 his actual downfall started and quality of his movies greatly fell down. Still for whatever he has done for the industry being an outsider he deserves respect.

A. While we agree with what you said, but we cannot moderate or delete differing opinions. Comments section is for people to freely express what they feel.

Q. What is your LBO Prediction of Badshaho, considering there will be bakrid plus weekend and also its buzz has gone a little high after release of its hit music.

A. Assuming the word-of-mouth is mixed to good, we think it’ll fall in the range of 65-70 crore i.e 35 crore first weekend and 65 crore lifetime. If the response to the film is outstanding, then anything is possible. Depending on content we’ll change the LBO expectations on first Saturday of its release.

Q. I know Akshay is very important for the industry as recently he has been given at least 2-3 hit per year which is impressive. But don’t you think it is disappointing to see him unable to give any major grosser ? Be it mainstream projects (Housefull 3, Singh Is Bling), big budget film (Brothers) or acclaimed content-driven movies (Airlift, Baby, Rustom, Toilet) he has tried everything but still hasn’t crossed 135-140 cr. Don’t you think it is frustrating and it shows he lacks the star power of a major superstar ?

A. Not really. The producers, distributors, exhibitors, other investors / those who work on his films, are all happy. There’s no point getting a 135 crore grosser like Raees, if distributors are losing. Same with Tubelight or Dilwale. What really matters is the return on investment, that’s business. Akshay’s working style has limitations. If he does those films that need big sets, big heroines and a lot of time to shoot, the number of films he does will reduce and the budgets will increase. Bigger budget means there’s a chance of bigger grossers, but that comes at the risk of big failure too (Brothers). But with films like Toilet, even if it had fallen well under the 100 crore mark, it would still not hurt.

Q. What you think about dream casting of AAMIR & AMITABH in TOH.Will it boost the opening.Will it encourages other producers & directors to make films with dream casting,Big stars working first time together.

A. Two major box office stars can’t work together because it can create a lot of issues, including budgets going haywire, date hassles etc. Amitabh Bachchan, with due respect to him, is no longer bankable as a lead hero.. so it allows him to work with the current generation superstars. As for how much additional value for the opening, we can’t really put a number to this. Bachchan + Aamir is a selling point for sure, but everyone would want to watch an Aamir film anyway.

Q. GST effect on box office?Is it positive or not good.

A. It’s positive in some circuits, negative at others. Overall, there’s a small advantage, but not much.

Q. Is SRK depressed after JHMS or he is not thinking about it & working on his next.How will SRK bounce back after huge debacle & not getting clean hits nor able to match AAMIR & SALMAN.

A. He must be. He has always maintained a very high standard in the industry. The only way he can bounce back is by making good films.

Q. When will you give prediction of Judwaa 2?

A. Tomorrow evening, after the trailer of Judwaa is out.

Q. Is a 50 crore weekend possible for Judwaa 2? When is the trailer arriving?

A. Trailer will be out tomorrow after 1PM. 50 crore weekend is definitely a possibility for Judwaa 2. We expect it to open better than ABCD 2, but we’ll wait for the trailer tomorrow.

Q. Plz answer this question. Which one is hard to achieve the kind of trust which Aamir Khan has achieved or the kind of stardom which Salman Khan has achieved. Thank you indicine big fan of ur page from Germany

A. Stardom has been achieved before by many stars in the industry. But there hasn’t been anyone like Aamir, atleast we cant think of any. The burden of expectations he carries is immense with every film. The fact that he has delivered and more often than not exceeded those expectations.. sums up his genius.

Q. What is the final b.o verdict of Jagga Jasoos, Jab Harry Met Sejal, and Tubelight?

A. Flop, Disaster, Flop.

Q. What will be the lifefime collections of Tepk? And also is it true that the release date robot2 or 2.0 is postponed to April?

A. It should finish at around 130 crore. Maybe a little more if it does well in 3rd Weekend. Robot 2.0 has not been postponed.

Q. Akshay Mid 2000’s(Basically 2007) OR Akshay 2016-17, When Was/Is Akshay A Bigger Star In These Two Periods ??

A. In terms of star power, Akshay in the mid 2000s. His films used to get those big opening day and weekend. Now, the quality of films for the multiplex audience has improved.

Q. How is Bareilly Ki Barfi trending ? How much does it need to collect to be declared a hit ?

A. The trend is good and the film should collect around 11 crore in its first weekend. Monday will decide. It needs around 25 crore.

That ends today’s QnA. 30 questions were answered. Thank you for joining us.

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