We apologise for the delay. AskIndicine was supposed to begin at 6PM IST, but like every other Shah Rukh / Salman release, we are experiencing peak traffic on the website and we couldn’t login to our own system at 6PM. Let’s begin the QnA.
Q. Recently in an interview Akshay Kumar has said that the budget of Toilet-Ek Prem Katha is 18 cr. So how can it needs 145 cr to recover cost?
A. The figure that Akshay Kumar quoted was the cost of production. What matters is the price that the film has been sold for.
Q. Our Superstars This year failed us in 2 movies Tubelight and JHMS. The other Superstar Hrithik Kaabil was average ,Aamir has an extended cameo in Secret Superstar do you think its time now the remaining two Non Khan Superstars can compensate the audiences with their upcoming movies next week ,Sept 1st and Diwali? Your thoughts and what have you learnt from the poor results of recent biggies?
A. It’s all about the film now. The value of a superstar is diminishing in a bad film. A star is only adding value to good films. Baadshaho is not creating enough buzz. With Golmaal, the film itself is going to be the biggest brand. Aamir will add value to Secret Superstar, but the audience is smart enough to know it’s not his film (i.e Aamir as main lead). So even though it might open bigger than other similar films, it’ll still be a word-of-mouth film.
Q. SRK’s next is again a love story and it seems love stories never really hold the appeal to cross 200cr in india doesn’t matter who stars in it. So, is the fate sealed again?
A. His next film is on shaky grounds now. For several reasons. One, SRK may not be able to hold on to the Christmas weekend now. When he averted the ‘JHMS’ clash with ‘Toilet:EPK’, the wrong signal went out that unlike the Shah Rukh of before, he is willing to let someone else take the bigger weekend. Now, with ‘JHMS’ likely to fall well short of the 100 crore mark, it’s almost certain that many would’ve already started eyeing the Christmas 2018 weekend. That’s how its always been in the industry, every producer would want the best weekend for his films.
Two, there’s going to be tremendous negativity around the SRK-Anushka jodi now. There’s anger amongst the audience against ‘JHMS’ and the same on-screen couple is repeating in the very next film – which also happens to be about romance. And three, the budget is very high. All these factors combined will make the Dwarf film the riskiest of 2018. Aanand L Rai will have to deliver a classic, anything less and the movie will be in big trouble. The only other positive is, there’s a good gap after ‘JHMS’. So the anticipation to watch Shah Rukh on the big screen could increase by fall of 2018.
Q. Who according to you is the most important after the Director in the making part of the film? Apart from the lead pair. I now everybody should be given equal importance but still according to you who is the most after the Director and why? Is it the Editor?
A. Filmmaking is a team work. A good script and director are most very important, but a bad actor can end up ruining even a well-directed film with a good story to tell. Editing is important too. In short, a classic or a much-loved film is about all aspects of filmmaking falling in place. If one slips, it’ll end up impacting the other. Even a Rajnikanth can fail in the south when the film is bad.
Q. Why is your buzz for Baadshaho so low? Its been trending heavy on Twitter and other socio medias also. Is Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Golmaal 4 going to really reach the figures you are predicting? Any reason for predicting TEPK, G4 too high?
A. If Twitter trends were the benchmarks for ‘buzz’ of films, Jab Harry Met Sejal would’ve been a blockbuster. It doesn’t work that way. The reality on the ground i.e with the paying public is different. We did a theatre-research this weekend. Baadshaho is carrying absolutely no buzz at multiplexes. The audience isn’t interested in watching the film, although it might open well at smaller centres due to the star cast. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes in the next 3 weeks. Do note, that we do not have anything against any film or actor. We were criticised for saying there wasn’t any interest for Tubelight and JHMS. We didn’t say the same for Sultan or Raees.
And the same for Golmaal 4. It’ll be shocking if the film takes anything less than an excellent opening, the series is loved by the family audience and Diwali is the perfect time to release it. The buzz around Toilet Ek Prem Katha has decreased in the last few weeks, but the reason for predicting high currently is because the film is likely to get tax exemption in several states and secondly we expect the film to be good. The prediction number will change after release, depending on the response.
Q. Can you please explain us if ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha’ earn Tax-Free Status… then how much can it boost collections?
A. It depends on how many states the film will get tax exemption. If it gets exemption across all BJP ruled states – which is 18 states and nearly 70% of the population – then the advantage will be huge. It could significantly increase the footfalls too as tickets will be priced lower. It’s difficult to put a number, but the benefit could be more than 25% on an all-India level.
Q. What is the total landing cost of Jab Harry Met Sejal?
A. The film has to recover 118 crore share from Worldwide business. So even if we assume it does 40 crore share from overseas, it has to collect upwards of 150 crore net in India to break-even. It won’t even collect half of that.
Q. Shah Rukh Khan is having a bad phase, do you see him losing his current position to Akshay and Ajay with 2.0, Golmaal Again, Toilet Ek Prem Katha.
A. In terms of star power, Shah Rukh Khan remains bigger in the near future. With all due respect, it would be very unfair to compare him with Ajay Devgn now or ever, because Shah Rukh still extremely consistent when it comes to opening. Different league altogether. A Golmaal with Ajay will be several times bigger than a Baadshaho or Shivaay with Ajay. Shah Rukh’s film will still open at a certain level and if the brand or film supports, then he can get to 35 and 40 crore opening.
When it comes to current standing, Akshay has a real chance of surpassing Shah Rukh because the perception around Akshay has changed in recent times. There is a belief amongst the audience that his films are good, which wasn’t the case few years ago. He was quick to realise this and has consciously worked at changing his image and doing script-driven films. On the other hand, Shah Rukh’s case is opposite to Akshay and he seems to be stuck in the image that he created in the past. There were signs that his romantic films weren’t exciting the audience when ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ released. When a 25-30-35 or even 40 year old actor romances a girl on-screen, the audience want him to win over her. But that isn’t the case when the actor is 50 years or older. The hype around raising arms and ‘King of Romance’ is PR-driven and fan-loved. But the majority of audience are normal i.e those seeking good and different cinematic experiences. For an actor who has achieved it all, films are ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ are a waste of precious time, when his acting talent and clout in the industry can actually see him doing scripts like Chak De India, Dangal etc. He’s romanced, he’s won over many girls.. time to do something different and special which both the fans and normal audience will enjoy for years to come.
Q. As we know more than the half of the year is done and we have seen only few movies living to the expectations of fans and trade. Now only less than 5 months remaining this year and fewer major releases are there like Padmavati n Tiger Zinda Hai. My question is if TZH too didn’t perform well, would this year be considered as one of the dullest year for Bollywood and what would b the impact of this on Bollywood in general in future and on superstars Salman n Shahrukh in particular?
A. It’s been a poor year so far, but the post ‘Bahubali 2’ phase has been dismal. Films aren’t even opening. The big remaining films are Toilet, Badshaho, Judwaa, Golmaal, Padmavati and Tiger Zinda Hai. It’s very important for the industry that atleast 4 of these 6 films films, all of them doing well would obviously mean a strong 2nd half.
Q. Why are people so happy to see Srk movie flop? Ashamed to hear that here in Coventry England my buddies who are English are telling me that my country is happy that their idol movies is failing. He said he heard it from his Mother knowing his Indian friend is me. So much hatred?
A. There’s no hatred against SRK. But there is certainly a sense of disappointment over the films that he’s been doing and wasting both his fan-following as well as talent. It’s not about one film here. It’s been a long series of films and his choices aren’t changing. Those who have grown up watching his films, have the right to complain on the kind of films that he’s been doing this decade. From a trade point of view, the industry needs stars like him to do well. When a star like him is doing films like ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal, which alienates a huge section of his fanbase, it’s a big reason for worry. His prime responsibility is to entertain his fans and audience back here in India. Do films that they like. Your English buddies come much later.
Q. As JHMS has tanked at box office, don’t u think someone else should announce their movie for Christmas 2018 as the date may go waste seeing current state of SRK. What about Akshay releasing Mogul on Christmas?
A. It will happen, just a matter of time. Not too sure about Mogul. It has to be a big-budget commercial film.
Q. Don’t you think there is a huge disconnect between the audiences and the makers. Its time to give writers their due, bring in fresh ideas and scripts, the audience has access to Hollywood films and great content from the west, there is no place to hide, honestly it’s embarrassing to see how the industry treats it’s audience, given they dole out stupidity in the name of entertainment. The last two blockbusters Bahubali and Dangal brought something new to the table in terms of visuals and authenticity, we need to fo that more often otherwise the industry will be eaten by other options, it’s already happening. The days are gone when one item number would bring people into theatres, the audience have matured and the makers don’t realise that, it’s disappointing.
Q. If there is any Akshay Kumar movie left to be release this year?
We are back again. We wonder how many people would be joining us at midnight.
Q. I see everybody complaining why SRK did a film like JHMS. Fair enough its a poor film. Everyone’s complaining why cant he pick good scripts. One must remember that with FAN and RAEES , SRK did try his hand outside romantic genre and was not successful. These are testing times for SRK, he is beginning to lose his super stardom. He will be the first Khan to move to character roles I feel . Of course see a bright future for Red Chillies, it will be come a big production house producing 2-3 films every year I feel.
A. This isn’t a question, but a comment by one of our readers (Lisa). We have a point to make here. The last Shah Rukh Khan film to find acceptance amongst the audience was Chennai Express in 2013 and that film went on to become an All Time Blockbuster. Before Chennai Express, he had 3-4 films that did not trend well in India. So what that means is, when he gives a good film the audience come in very big numbers. But even with almost every director in the industry wanting to work with him, the biggest of budgets and immense star power that he adds to a film – he hasn’t been able to get the content of his films right and some of them only because of wrong choices or wanting to continue cash-in on his romantic image. He has let go of films like 3 Idiots and Robot. 3 Idiots would’ve probably lead to him also working in PK. These are big films, which he let go to do films like Ra One under a director (Anubhav Sinha) who has never directed a good film. It’s not time for him to do character roles, he still has it in him to have a good 5-6 years as a lead hero. More importantly, the industry needs him because none of the young actors have reached anywhere close to the following of the three Khans. Not yet atleast.
We have around 924 people joining us on this page at this time. Not bad at all. Hope you all like the QnA. We’ll answer a few questions.
Q. What are your opening day expectations from TEPK looking at the current scenario of box office?
A. It should open somewhere in the Jolly LLB 2 range of 12-13 crore, with tax exemption adding to collections. There’s no clarity on how many states will exempt the film. We’ll have to wait and see.
Q. What is the exact reason for films putting up such poor shows?
A. There is no one reason. Today’s audience is ruthless and disinterested. Imagine spending 1500 rupees for two people for a movie outing and watching a bad film. The audience will feel the pinch when ticket prices are so high and snacks cost so much. A glass of Pepsi is priced at 200 bucks and 200-250 more for popcorn at a metro city multiplex. Tickets cost 300/400/500 in the weekend. Add to it car parking fees and travelling time and expense. The total would be 750 per person, 1500 per couple or 3000 for a family of four. And all of it to watch a bad / average film. It’s not worth it.
About 15-20 years ago, even though we couldn’t book tickets conveniently online – the excitement of queueing up outside the theatres to watch a Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham or Main Hoon Na or Koi Mil Gaya was immense. And all for around 250-300 rupees for a family of four, 150 for a couple. Add inflation to it and it still wouldn’t come to 1500 that multiplexes charge for a couple today. That too without the excitement of those old films. The good days of cinema are over, unfortunately. Bahubali 2 is the only film that came close to generating that kind of hype in recent times and the results are in front of us.
Q. I have a question.. Aamir led a movie like Dangal to about 30 crores on first day.. Without much of word of mouth coming into play.. Still he is not considered as big of a star as other Khans.. Why?
A. Dangal getting to 30 crore on Day 1 and 380 crore lifetime is nothing short of a miracle and Aamir deserves entire credit for it. Dangal was less commercial, didn’t have a female star, no romance angle which can prove to be disastrous at smaller centres. But the film worked big time and got an initial too. When people say Aamir is not a big superstar, what they usually mean is, he doesn’t have the crazy fan base. When ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ released, the morning show audience was filled with SRK fans. Anticipation just to watch him. Whistles when he came on screen. In short, Hero worship. Ditto for Salman at any single screen when his films release. This is the traditional understanding of star power and craze with examples like Rajesh Khanna, Rajnikant, Amitabh Bachchan. Aamir Khan is entirely different and someone as uniquely brilliant as him, the industry has not seen before. Whether it’s his script sense, marketing brain or effort that goes into his films – it’s unparalleled. Superstar is not a term that defines his genius. Aamir is an institution, there’s a lot that everyone can learn from him.
Q. There’re reports that Remo’s movie with Salman is not happening. But Salman is always with Remo’s dancers, taking dance lessons from them and they’re even in Adu Dhabi with him right now. Do you know anything about this rumours?
A. There’s nothing official about this. But if they were serious about doing this film, they would’ve announced it and taken the Eid weekend by now. If he isn’t doing it, it’s a good decision. Remo is a bad director. Salman has probably realised after Tubelight debacle that even during Eid he needs good films and if they audience doesn’t get it, they wont come even for his films. So better to plan and make a good movie, instead of working against time to get your film ready for Eid.
Q. After the cold response to Jagga Jasoos will it be easy for Ranbir to gain trust of audience ? Will he be able to find those opening numbers for his upcoming movies ?
A. Ranbir is lucky to have a film like Dutt biopic under Rajkumar Hirani. Unless Hirani some how experiments too much and messes it up, it should do well. He’s a fantastic director and even better writer. And after Dutt, he has a film with another successful director, Ayan Mukherji. So if the film is good, Ranbir has both the charm and following to bring people in big numbers to theatres – especially multiplexes. He shouldn’t be experimenting with films like Bombay Velvet or something that’s too off-beat or niche.
Q. Keeping in mind all the factors like music, trailer, star cast, release date (opening day only) etc, whose opening was better JHMS or Tubelight?
A. Most certainly Tubelight. It was Pre-Eid, which significantly affects business in muslim dominated areas. So the real value of Tubelight on Day 1 was probably around 24 crore. Plus, that film was more niche and less commercial as compared to Jab Harry Met Sejal. It’s being called a niche film by some trade websites, when it isn’t. It’s a full blown commercial film with a big budget, exotic locations, top superstar and top heroine. It even had Punjabi songs etc. The film failed to get an initial because the audience simply did not like those mini trails. Out of Khan films, Dangal was the least commercial, followed by Tubelight and JHMS. Raees was probably the most commercial with the best trailer and mass appeal.
Thank you for joining us. We’ll try to answer more questions tomorrow.