Herald: STAR SHINE SINE DIE
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STAR SHINE SINE DIE

19 Jan 2019 04:17am IST

Report by
Dibyojyoti Baksi a take on the latest and upcoming film releases

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19 Jan 2019 04:17am IST

Report by
Dibyojyoti Baksi a take on the latest and upcoming film releases

 

 

It’s time for a hard truth assessment

for the stars locked in their preconceived stardom notions. In 2018, none of the stars, especially the Khans, had films that trailed to touch the Rs 100 crore mark. They still believe that their ‘star power’ would be primarily effective for the success of their films, which was the case even a couple of years ago.

Salman Khan came with ‘Race 3’, Aamir Khan with Amitabh Bachchan offered ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ and Shah Rukh Khan with ‘Zero’; all were ‘apparently’ high budget films and had their selected festival release. Their films failed for many reasons; one, which was common between ‘Race 3’ and ‘Zero’, was riding upon wrong perceptions. Salman bought the rights of the ‘Race’ franchise from Ramesh Taurani and roped in Remo D’Souza, who was riding on the success of non-starrer ‘ABCD’ (2013), to helm the third installment. Likewise, Anand L Rai, also among the new breed directors, who had some successful offerings like the ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ franchise and ‘Raanjhanaa’ (2013) under his credit. SRK played him to change his game. Both were fated to fail.

The genesis of whole assumption was pretty linear. Stars started thinking that when a director can make a 100-crore film like ‘Badhaai Ho’ with Ayushmann Khurrana, or ‘Stree’ with Rajkummar Rao without releasing it during a festival, the same director can make a 300-crore film easily with their festival releases. But the director has a vision for his actor character. When a realistic film or a small budget film is made, the protagonist is kept as a normal character. When a big star ventures upon such films, he fails to match his star prejudices with the character.

If Aamir Khan thought that a threadbare plot would be forgiven because of his quirky presence with towering Amitabh Bachchan in a hugely mounted period drama and high price multiplex tickets in Diwali release would fare the film, his supposition was no less faulty.

It’s only Akshay Kumar who had understood this a long ago.

Akshay Kumar could come out from the shell of stardom and play an uncouth character from a rural middleclass neighbourhood as shown in ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, getting rebuked, slapped by his parents, dumped by his girl before becoming a real-life hero at the end of the film, but the Khans won’t be accepted in such character.

Actually, even if it is a realistic, content driven film, the monopoly of the stars actually causes its failure. It’s like when Shah Rukh Khan is in the film and people are coming to see him, however grave the character is, the makers would wield a couple of romantic song, dance sequences to feed the audience’s preconceived image of the stars and in its pursuit, some content-heavy scenes are compromised.

No doubt if Shah Rukh or Salman or Aamir is in a film, his star-pull will automatically draw the audience. But that’s for a day or for advance booking. When Yash Chopra had already failed in making a film with the same combination—Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma—releasing ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ at Christmas then why a love story ‘Zero’ again at Christmas? SRK played a dwarf in the film. With him in that avatar, the audiences’ expectation would be to see something about them that they don’t know or has never been cultivated in any film, not just their usual love story.

Star films were making money because they were having festival releases but since small, good films are releasing in normal course and ticket prices are less, then why would one pay a higher ticket price for a festival release of a star’s film? As people have a better choice, none of the Khan films actually could touch Rs 100 crore threshold, falling flat far ahead of the mark. Though the makers flamboyantly claimed numbers past Rs 100 crore, originally ‘Zero’ made Rs 68 crore, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ Rs 72 crore and ‘Race3’ around Rs 86 crore.

If they’ve learnt a lesson, stars should stop gloating over their glory!

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