Decoding 2014

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with movies. The lights, the star cast, the action, the drama, Bollywood lights up my world. This past year, I have been at the movies for almost each film. Some have disappointed and some have stolen my heart away. We try to come up with ‘innovative’ ideas that will make the audiences rush to their nearest theatres, make the box office go ka-ching and create a new ‘Crore’ club each time. We come up with comedy, romance, action, and art movies. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture here. Bollywood has been churning out movie after movie, but which ones work and which don’t? For this particular article, I’ve taken the period October 2014 – January 2015.

During this period, we have had movies that defy all realms of logic and yet have set the cash registers ringing. Let’s take Bang Bang for example. If only it was that easy to steal the Kohinoor! But take two superstars, a leading banner and semi decent music, you’ll have audiences rushing in like moths to flames. Bang Bang, (which had high resolution CCTV cameras in a small dhaba at Shimla) collected 340 Crores world wide! We had Kick, joh sirf dil mein aata hai, dimaag mein nahi. Bhai ki picture! Of course, all Salman Khan movies defy logic and sense. Kick collected 377 Crores world wide! The biggest hit of the year, where a bunch of losers take part in a dance competition to steal diamonds. Are you sensing a pattern here? Somehow, it’s really easy to steal! Well, the only people conned here, were the people who bought their tickets to Happy New Year. Unless…. You’re a Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone fan, in which case, you probably even saw Chennai Express and lived to tell the tale. Happy New Year collected 360 Crores world wide. Let’s talk a bit about the most controversial film of the year. P.K. An alien who comes down to Earth in an attempt to learn our culture. A socially aware film that simply had one message. Believe in reality. Unfortunately, the makers decided to commercialize the film and put in a little too much information, but managed to touch people’s hearts too. Of course, since this is India, we took offence. P.K collected a humongous 615 Crores world wide.

There was only one movie that maintained some semblance of logic and catered to a cinema enthusiast, and not just fans of a superstar. We had Haider, a movie where the powerful performances, direction and music was the voice of the film. Haider collected 89 Crores. Compared to the onslaught of ‘hits’ we didn’t have many movies that would be regarded as a master piece or even remotely, a good film this year.

For a very long time, we have been applying the same ‘tried and tested’ formula on all our movies. Using a superstar couple as your main leads guarantees success, no matter how illogical the story. There’s nothing that can go wrong with Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone’s pair. People are blinded by their love for Bollywood’s A Listers. Slowly and steadily, we have realized that making movies like Happy New Year, works. You make a humongous amount of profit and you don’t have to do a thing. It’s easy. What do you do, when our industry focuses on making movies like Daawat-e-Ishq and Kill Dil, when they could be making movies like Haider, PK or Mardaani? The hard part… is getting good content to make money.

It has been 100 years of cinema, but we are still a bag of chips with only a few chips and a whole lot of air. In my opinion, 2014 has been a bad year for films, not because they didn’t make money. Some did, some didn’t. We failed when it came to content. We produced bad films after bad films simply because, we knew people loved watching their favorite stars together. We bank upon their loyalty but sooner or later, we will have to realize that people really aren’t dumb, and they do demand better content. But this is just one person’s opinion. Let’s hope 2015 is a better year for Bollywood.

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