Aladdin Gets Better Opening in India Than India's Most Wanted: Cause for Worry?
After Avengers Endgame, it's Aladdin that has wrecked the box office over local films in India
After Avengers: Endgame decimated all indigenous competition, John Wick Chapter 3 posed a stiff threat to the Ajay Devgn starrer De De Pyar De. And now this week Aladdin has out-performed this week’s two Hindi releases India’s Most Wanted and PM Narendra Modi. Says trade pundit Amod Mehra, “Since the last few years Hollywood films have made their presence felt at the Indian box-office.Slowly and steadily they have now started becoming a threat to Bollywood. So it's no surprise that the first day collection of Aladdin is more than the combined collections of India’s Most Wanted and PM Narendra Modi.”
Should Bollywood be running scared?
Counter-questions filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, “Running scared off what? We give ourselves too much importance by thinking our film are comparable with theirs. If you see the world boxoffice we don’t even move the needle. We need to up the quality and come up with some big-ticket numbers .Also, a network of screens and world distribution, the focus of our studios need to shift our focus from merely signing stars to investment in infrastructure and management.”
Hindi films that take a beating from Hollywood don’t necessarily deserve to fall.
Defending his film India’s Most Wanted, director Raj Kumar Gupta says, “For those critics who think my counter-terror is not gripping enough, let me ask them one question: would they have preferred if I added extra masala to the original story of a braveheart and his associates who nab India’s most wanted terrorist without funds or ammunition? I didn’t think the story needed spicing up. I wanted the plot to remain as humanly faithful as possible to what originally happened . If I tailor my vision to define what mass entertainment is, then I wouldn’t be able to tell the stories I want to.”
So is Hollywood a threat to Bollywood? “Of course it is. Let’s not turn a blind eye to the ground reality.However I couldn't sacrifice the facts to make my narrative dramatic and viewer-friendly,” says Gupta.
The coming week another Hollywood franchise film Godzilla: King Of The Monsters hits the theatres in four languages on May 30, a day before it releases in other parts of the world.
Says trade expert Girish Johar, “This is bound to happen. Audiences only want good and quality content. Hence besides the Hollywood invasion, regional cinema is also picking up strongly. So at the end of the day its purely the content, packaging and the power of the theme that matter. This is where Hollywood is scoring. Because of their global reach, economics help them to make rich and super quality content, which is liked in all film-loving markets across the globe. So yes,Bollywood has to pull up its socks, give good quality content m, or perish.”
Adds trade analyst Atul Mohan, “No doubt Hollywood is getting bigger with every Friday. Aladdin has registered a bigger and better opening than Hindi releases of this Friday .But one point to be noted here is that as of now, it's only the big titles from big Hollywood studios which is scoring better. The real quality work from Hollywood like Call Me By Your Name and Leave No Trace don’t even get a release in India. At the same time you can't ignore the juggernaut of superhero/Marvel film from America.Yes, the time has come for Bollywood to do some serious introspection. Remember, Hollywood is growing at an pace of 12-15% every year.What about us?” However the prolific filmmaker Priyadarshan is hopeful, “We still have our own cinematic identity. Films on our culture and social surroundings will always be attractive to our people, thought when it comes to entertainment we watch films from Hollywood. But Bharat will always have more for Indian audiences than John Wick.”