Going by the box office collections of The Avengers: Infinity War shouldn’t Bollywood be worried? It has collected more than 65 crore rupees at the Indian office over the first weekend and nearly 200 crores over the last two weeks, making it a more prosperous opener than the two other homespun biggies this year Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat and Ahmed Khan’s Baaghi 2.
It also puts a heavy burden on the cult of ‘blockbusterization’ in Bollywood where so far Hollywood was seen a threat that could never equal the power of a big indigenous film. Says Sudhir Mishra whose Das Dev came under the Avengers wheel, “It definitely made a very big difference to the fate of my film. We didn’t get the right shows. Almost none at the premium multiplexes.”
Bollywood’s biggest blockbuster churners are now running scared of Hollywood’s super-hero films.
“They come in various Indian languages and claim the same viewership that patronizes Hindi films. I think there should be an embargo on Hollywood releases in the dubbed Hindi versions,” says a filmmaker who wishes to remain anonymous. Trade analyst Atul Mohan feels the Hollywood spectacles are here to stay. “The game has definitely changed. Look at the way Hollywood films’ collections are improving. This looks like a matter of concern for Bollywood. The preference of audience for international-level polished sophisticated products with great story telling is clear. The collections would be big for big franchises though and they are being built slowly. With multiplexes count growing with each passing day the experience to watch these kind of films is further enhanced.” Atul feels it’s all about giving the audience what it wants. “Cinema was, is and will always be about projecting larger-than-life images which Hollywood does smartly. Coming on non-holiday with lesser number of screens and in the middle of IPL the collections of Avengers Infinity War must be taken as a case-study for Bollywood on how to plan their strategy for future.”
Rather than try to stop the flow of foreign flamboyance Indian filmmakers need to rethink their own strategy. “We must rejoice at the huge success of Avengers as the exhibitors have got a huge relief, with footfalls of 80-90% for first 2 days. Pull up your socks, Bollywood!”
Trade analyst Amod Mehra feels it’s time for Bollywood to sit up and think hard. “Bollywood’s filmmakers have to stop and analyze the super-success of Avengers. Or else we are in trouble.” Adds film critic Raja Sen, “Bollywood stars should definitely worry, because a franchise like Avengers is a huge revolution against the star system. The movies create the stars instead of being trapped by existing stars.”