ARE HOLLYWOOD FILMS BECOMING A THREAT TO HINDI FILMS?
Ever since the release of most anticipated film ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the audiences have gone gaga over it. It had a marvelous record of 94 crores at the box-office in just three days despite the most entertaining sport of the county IPL being broadcast. It merely crushed our Hindi film releases and they had poor numbers at the box office. Since the past few years we’ve been noticing that Hollywood films are breaking records at the box office and it gives a tough competition to Hindi cinema. It’s the time to worry, as it seems Hollywood releases are over-taking our Hindi movies. We spoke to our industry experts and got their insights on this whole scenario…
Hollywood can never be a threat to Indian cinema. Indian cinema has larger than life heroes, over the top emotions and real Indian masala but yes, Hollywood is a huge threat to most so called Hindi films being made in the name of Indian cinema. Avengers would never have done this kind of business had it released with real Hindi film.
The problem is you don’t see real Hindi films around you anymore and that is the truth because if you see real Hollywood films are like real Hindi Films they defy logic, they have maar-dhaad and over the top emotions and plus they know Bollywood is shying away from making the real Hindi films which would pose a threat to them.
The reason why Hollywood movies are doing so well here is Hollywood people are making film for cinema, they make typical masala film, they don’t make a art film. They make films for typical masala audiences, they make big films, they are not shy in making masala films unlike a few filmmakers of today’s time here who want to make an artistic film so that they will gain some recognition, there are some Journalist who say that if you make an artistic film if will give you a four or five star, so because of these many filmmakers here are mot making big films.
Even here when a ‘Baahubali’ is made which a big entertainer film it does big business. So what is happening is that the American filmmaker’s mindset is very clear they are making a typical masala film which the public loves and the problem here is that many filmmakers today either cannot make or have a complex that how do we make a masala film, we won’t get a lot of stars in this fear they don’t make. Cinema is a medium for a big film, even here Baaghi 2 worked. People want big visuals, big endeavor. The volume of this film was big which cannot get fix in Television or Internet. This thing is just like when video had started. At that time I had made ‘HUKUMAT’, a big movie which could not fit into video and the film became a big hit at that time, most movies were getting flop at that time but this film became a big hit because people want big films and that is the requirement of today’s time and we are not fulfilling that requirement. If we try to make a big film like Hollywood and we say we don’t have money so we cannot make it, this is our problem and those who are able to make are making big films and those are working. My take on this is that Cinema is a medium for big commercial film only it is not a medium for other anything else. Today if you want to do something very artistic than there are many mediums for it so you can do it over there on Television, Internet but if you want to do cinema for big screen then it needs 20-20 type masala entertainment type not test match type. It’s time for masala entertainer and this is what our filmmakers needs to understand than only we will survive from this Hollywood tsunami or else it will overtake us here.
Today Avengers and before that many other Hollywood movies have done great because our Filmmakers are not able to make anything, they take big artist, big songs but are not able to make proper films. Super hit songs are kept in the end when people are leaving the theatres. This is the problem of Bollywood, there is no story, no dialogues, no proper songs nothing is there.
Even I had made a movie KHUDA GAWA, I am not saying that because it is my movie but it has best music, best writer, best actors and best dialogues. Here now a day’s filmmakers are just concerned in completing the shoot in just 20-22 days all wants to earn money. People have become very smart, now the old days are gone; today every seat in the theatre is a critic. So till the time we won’t concentrate on our stories, dialogues, artist, music and direction our situation is going to remain how it is, every Hollywood film like Avenger or any other that are going to come; they all we take the advantage. In the past Hollywood movies used to get released only in a few theatres like Eros, Gaiety, Jaya or else in Regal, so in sort only in 3-4 theatres. But in today’s time 200 prints are getting released, it only means that we are not able to justify Bollywood films.
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is not a normal film, it has been into making for a long time. It’s taken 10 years, 18 films prior, and 22 super heroes. It has all lead to this phenomenal. It is one of the biggest franchises of the world it isn’t a standalone film which has made that much of money. It’s not a threat, if this film works then what will happen to our films? I am sure our films will someday work at American box office we have been doing good work. Example ‘Dangal’ has done so well in China; nobody is talking about that but if ‘Avengers’ is doing good here why we should feel bad about it. ‘Dangal’ and ‘Secret Superstar’ both have done superb business all over China and I’m sure the day will come when our films will also rule more international market.
SIDDHARTH P. MALHOTRA
Avengers: Infinity War is a threat and it’s a worldwide threat. Comic books are a part of our culture in a way with that we have grown up and Super Man, Spider Man, Iron Man and other super heroes coming together is the brand that has been built over the years. So specifically ‘Avengers Infinity War’ has every possible super hero in it, so it’s like the ‘Bahubali 2’ of Indian cinema coming together and American cinema coming together.
This film has to do the numbers it’s doing because of its visual spectacle and a visual spectacle today for an Indian cine-goer or for any cine-goer is an added attraction. Either you need to have great content which is not larger than life or you need to have larger than life spectacle and Avengers is that; hence, it will continue doing these numbers and I think films like ‘Bahubali 2’ or ‘Thugs of Hindustan’ and in due course of time our Indian films will definitely cut a cross and be in their top 10. I believe the language barrier and many other platforms are being cut day by day. I don’t see the day far away where the vice versa would happen; may be its not in the near future but it isn’t in the far future too.
I believe it’s a wakeup call for all of us and it seems to be the last threat; the producers have to realise that these big franchise films are going to make a dent in your collection, that’s 100% sure; so you have to be careful of your release. First we used to fear the IPL, duration of exams but now we will have to fear the Hollywood films too. Even if any good big Hindi film is clashing with a Hollywood franchise film it still faces loss. So now it’s time to wake up and not take the Hollywood films lightly because they are big competitors and they are here to stay.
‘Avengers’ have made a huge record of 94 crores in 3 days which is unbelievable. Without UFO and having only 2 thousand screens with limited shows it’s unbelievable; and on Monday they gained 24 crores which is another shock. When it comes to our Hindi films being there on the top 10 then, yes there are films which are on the top 10, films of Aamir Khan and Salman Khan but they are not the highest grosser hit till the time it not on the top 3, it’s not worth it. Because we don’t have more audiences in those parts but English film audience are increasing day by day.
There’s no threat as such it’s very welcomed when films work at the box office and all kind of films work at the box office, all kinds of language films, international films work at the box office. And Avengers is something which was one of the most awaited films worldwide. The business of the film is 114 crores just in four days in India an extraordinary and a historic Monday; I don’t think it’s a threat at all. It has a certain audience, there is a certain audience who wants to go and see this film and it’s a well made film.
To my knowledge its one of the most expensive films ever made despite the adjusted costing. What I’ve told is, it’s a billion dollar film where alone Robert Downey’s fee is something like 200 million dollars. So the way the film has been projected, the way the film is mounted, the way the audiences have gone all over the world to see so it’s not a threat but welcomed and variety is spice of lime. So it enhances the business of more Hindi films which come because Hindi films will also raise the bar, they will also want to make competitive cinema, they will also make cinema with a change. And I believe there will come a time when our film will be at their box office because there is no rocket science in it; so there will be a time when Hindi language films will have as competitive and have as great numbers which has been subjected from the west today. The budgets will elevate, so basically I feel this is just the beginning of the growth; the way we are going and to see the way we have raised our box-office is concerned, when there are footfalls are concerned. The medium which we are in, in the Hindi entertainment are probably all language films we are just growing every day. This is the beginning of the change and the digital has a very big hand to play this, the digital world is actually a platform projected elevated and taken this business to another level.
Event films from Hollywood will always enjoy a dominating position. They always have. There is no doubt that tent pole films will always pose as formidable competition for our films.
It’s good that ‘Avengers – Infi nity War’ has done so much business, it’s not a threat to our cinema. Its collection worldwide is phenomenal, it’s breaking records everywhere.
I don’t think Hollywood movies are a threat to Bollywood or Indian cinema in anyway. Rather every time a new record is broken- it’s always on the back of great content and it gives us an insight into the sheer potential of box-office. Before ‘Baahubali’ 1 and 2 came on the horizon, no one had imagined a Telugu movie to have a pan India appeal and yet these two films became a watershed moment in India’s cinematic history.
Similarly look at Dangal’s performance in China-it superseded biggest Hollywood films that released parallel. Could we have imagined that ever? So the answer really lies in the kind of content we create – the kind of stories and narratives we tell and the finesse and technological brilliance with which we present and produce them. Audiences these days are making informed decisions. They want to go to the theatre to watch films that give them value for money. Hollywood films give a lot of attention to the technology and their ability to create spectacle – through which they wow the audiences. If we in Indian cinema can come close to that, I don’t see any reason for Hindi or any Indian movie not to be at top of the American Box office.
I think only a particular kind of Hollywood movies like a big event film or special effects driven films are doing well. The worrying part is that the Hindi versions of these films have done better than our Hindi Films. So it’s a solid competition but we don’t need to worry much but yes it a strong competition nevertheless.
I don’t think it’s a threat to our cinema at all, in fact it is inspirational for us to do bigger and better films, it’s an eye opener that this business is possible in lesser number of screens, so let’s take it positively and work harder cause it’s pretty evident that there is huge theatre going audience. I personally don’t aspire to be number one on American or any other countries box- office; the key is to make films which increases India’s box-office numbers with every film.
It’s not a new phenomenon, whenever a big Hollywood franchise film releases in India there is always a panic reaction to it in our country and not only in Hindi cinema but in all regional cinemas as well. So it is not as if they are stepping into a business of Hindi cinema but also regional cinemas, be it Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri etc. So it’s a pan India phenomena. There are countries like China which till date has been able to keep Hollywood cinema out of his country.
Also only in the last five years that they have started to release Indian films over there, that too only 5 Hindi films that the government of their country decide. But personally I don’t think that art of which ever kind whether a film, literature, music or any other type of art and also the world has now turned into a global village, so you cannot put barriers at least when it comes to art, somebody in any part of the world should be able to see a film made in any corner of the world. Cinema lovers should be able to see that film sitting in Mumbai, so I stand by it that Hollywood cinema should come to India and should be watched. Now it depends on what kind of cinema we are making, now just this past week a film starring Mahesh Babu was released that film did a very good business it crossed 100 crore in just one week and is also doing very well in front of Avengers. So what I am saying is that as filmmakers, as Hindi filmmakers and as Regional filmmakers we have to come out with stories which connect with our audiences in a much better way, we will have to better our cinema. Hollywood is setting up a bar, we are also making Baahubali. So we have to make our content strong, we have to make stories of our land rather than try to make like Hollywood, then it won’t work, in any part of the world it won’t work. As much as local we will get we will reach globally. So now we have to look within, this is a signal that whenever a Hollywood superhero or franchise film release and do well, it’s an indication that we have to make our cinema better, if we have to grow, save our market and audiences then we will have to give them better cinema as simple as that.
It’s not a threat. Who would have thought an American film will do so much business here. Similarly one can’t see it happening today but one day a Hindi film of International level may do that much business. Aren’t we doing phenomenal business already in let’s say China? Were we present in China even a couple of years ago?
Yes absolutely, it started with fact that first their main studios set up their offices in Mumbai, the presumption was that they are getting into Bollywood but the Bollywood content that they created was essentially inline to what was already being created, what they used that space here was to widen the market of their film releases or of their own global film releases.
This is about a decade and some ago and because the market had saturated in Hollywood a decade ago, plus the American audiences market had saturated so they in order to grow in search for new markets at that time China was closed in a sense that China would allow only a few number of International film to release in their theatres, so India was a place they could look at. So if you go back in time say a Spielberg film in the 90’s of course did well but it never affected the release dates of Bollywood films, so Subhash Ghai for instance would not be worried about a Spielberg film entering theatres. He would not program his release keeping that in mind at all but that has began to happen now surely because they have taken the market seriously and one of the ways they have done is to make sure it is not seen as a completely American film, so even when it is in English you would see subtitles in English so it’s easier for people to understand whose English may not be that great so that is one, then they will release it in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu dubbed so those are the new markets that they will capture as a result and even when they are dubbing they are releasing in close pockets, they are releasing as a mainstream film in those pockets, so the kind of people they will think for to dubbed in those films will be the mainstream film stars of those region including Bollywood of course, so there is a direct local connect that is formed, so yeah I mean it has taken them some time and slowly and steadily they have mange to totally grip the Indian audience’s attention with sort of films that Mumbai cannot make, you can’t make a 1 billion dollar film that level of expertise, skills that you see in level of VFX and special effects in general in IMAX or 3D in these country is very hard to replicate, they are also giving something which is not replicable here because the market of Indian films is not as much to able to spend that kind of money and they concentrate on themes that are extremely universal. A action film is a action film, a superhero film is a superhero film where the superhero is going to save the world, so it doesn’t matter where you live in Chandigarh or Philippines or anywhere to connect with the stories, so yeah I think they have really like made it to Indian market in that sense.
Yes it is a threat but I think the main treat is due to the lack of support for theatrical business for Hindi fi lms and high costs for funding in India.
For our Hindi films to reach the American box office level we will need a bigger audience now, we carter to only targeted audience and they play around 10-11 thousand screens and Hindi films play around just 4–5 screens so that’s the difference we don’t match the audience that’s there going for bigger films as compared to our films. Secondly the Indian market is just growing; it is a good thing that Hollywood film is doing great business as compared to a Hindi film except ‘Padmaavat’.
This proves a point that any good film cannot be stopped whether it’s bad period or IPL or anything because people want to go and watch a film if it’s good irrespective whichever season or time it is. As a distributor or a studio it gives me little displeasure that Hollywood films are doing better than Bollywood films. At the same time as a business man it makes me happy that films are working and Indian audiences are going in theatre and watching the film and more money is getting generated for the multiplexes and the industry for us to grow further. And the next step is that we should increase more screens and make India more 2k savvy so that the number of screens can grow and there can be more of such films which can get more revenue. Today the single screens which are not 2k are deprived of this film, there should also be a revolution where 2k should also grow and people should get more screens to watch. Avengers is like any other mass film and it’s got the soul and the right screenplay to it, and I think any film which has the soul and story screenplay of a good film will get this kind of audience. ‘Baaghi’ we were not expecting but it got numbers because it had the right screenplay and soul. In future if ‘Race 3’, ‘Sanju’ and even if a smaller film like ‘Raid’ had it, the audience is there to grab it. We are giving more of multiplex stories when we have to start giving more mass stories with better script and screenplays then we are here to get more audiences. The best part is that the audience has not given up on theaters despite having a digital life.
The film which is all over is ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. There are all big actors working in it and I happen to notice that none of them were fighting for the screen space in fact the fight was about how beautifully they would portray the film and how they would make this ‘Avengers’ better than the previous one. So, I believe that’s important more than anything. Despite having fewer screens of around 2000 still working wonders at the box office is insane.
And I think more than our filmmakers in the industry, they know the actual need of the people and what they wish to see and they are aware what’s happening all over the country that’s the reason they are wining it again and again. Best thing about Hollywood is that their actors are well secured. I think we have been talking this since years but not really working on it but when we try something new the audience start to compare with Hollywood, despite seeing that our industry has at least tried. I remember when ‘Ra One’ had released it was a good try but that’s a different thing that it didn’t work but at least the audience should appreciate that something new was made. I doubt that our film will be there in top of American box-office because firstly we will have to remove the insecurity. More important is that when we make a film we think it as it’s our film and not my film so when the time comes when people start thinking it’s our film then there will be some chance otherwise no. But today we are at the level when we reach there as ‘Bahubali 2’ has proved it that we can be capable of doing it but what happens is we get tired with just one film and then we start giving that example for 10 years and after that when other such film is made then that example will be given. We are just making one film as an example for 10 years and Hollywood is making such kind of film almost every week; we are happy watching all those films but then the question is that when will we make them happy which I highly doubt.
First of all 80 percent of Hollywood movies that are doing well are franchise films, they are already an establish brand. A lot of people are talking about the Avengers number but what we should also look at is what were the advances, the advances of Avengers were beyond imagination and they were amazing, which itself proves that people were already waiting to watch the film and as per the Book My Show also the advances of Avengers were one of the biggest, which were higher than even Baahubali last year, so which shows that there was already a set audience which were eagerly waiting to watch the film.
What added on to that was that it was a brilliant film, it was basically the trickledown effect because the anticipation of a franchise film like Avengers were on a all time high, good number of people went in to see it on the first day because the film happened to be a very good experience there was a word of mouth but there was a lot of word of mouth because of the number of people who went on the first day to see it. So that is what resulted in a culmination of those numbers very clearly. Secondly I don’t think it’s a threat to Indian films for the very reason because there is hardly a situation where you see a good Hindi film not working. So as long as films are good whether they are Hindi Film or English films they will find its audience. Classic example is even you know again entertainment is the reason why people go to watch films in theatre, can anybody imagine what a ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ did because it was a good film. So end by the day even if your initial might be less, your marketing and your other buzz related activities can only add to the first one or two days but then if the film is good it will work if it is not it won’t as simple as that, like today I can tell you right away that ‘Sanju’ is going to get a brilliant opening because the anticipation like avengers people are waiting to watch ‘Sanju’ but what ‘Sanju’ will do in terms of numbers will completely depend on the kind of film that it is which I am sure will be a great film because it’s coming from someone called Raju Hirani. So just to answer the question the anticipation was already there on a big – big high, the advances of Avengers showcased that brilliantly and plus the film being a brilliant experience for the cine goers became a sone pe suhaaga which made film do what it has done right now.