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Regional, Hollywood films steal the show from Bollywood

By Lata Jha
Recent box office flops have led to Bollywood pinning hopes on Yash Raj Films’ latest comedy Jayeshbhai Jordaar that released on May 13 (Twitter)

Recent box office flops have led to Bollywood pinning hopes on Yash Raj Films’ latest comedy Jayeshbhai Jordaar that released on May 13. The Ranveer Singh-starrer, however, has failed to generate buzz and will compete with a big-ticket Telugu film Sarkaru Vaari Paata starring Mahesh Babu that is expected to cross the Rs. 150 crore in box office revenue.

Media consulting firm Ormax has estimated the first day collections of Sarkaru Vaari Paata at Rs. 59.6 crore and those of another Tamil film Don that is released Friday at Rs. 12.2 crore. In contrast, trade experts said expect Jayeshbhai Jordaar to clock barely Rs. 6-7 crore on opening day.

Bollywood has had it too easy for way too long but now post covid, theatrical viewing needs to be justified with a film that demands the cinema experience. Gone are those days when people would just turn up for anything. The Hindi film industry needs to realize that it’s competing with the best of the best, be it Hollywood or south Indian cinema," independent exhibitor Vishek Chauhan said.

Viewers are not interested in mediocre Hindi cinema, said Chauhan, is evident in the shows of the two big Eid releases, Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 and Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34, being cancelled over the past few weeks, for lack of footfalls.

Another single screen owner who did not wish to be named said there is no buzz around Jayeshbhai Jordaar because audiences prefer seeing Singh in light-hearted roles such as Simmba, whereas here he is seen fighting issues like female foeticide and gender discrimination. “It’s a crucial film though, because it comes from the Yash Raj Films banner. If these movies don’t work, Hindi films will increasingly start looking at direct-to-digital releases," the person said.

Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said the southern film industry is likely to put up another great week at the movies with Mahesh Babu’s Sarkaru Vaari Paata that is the correct mix of action and drama, making for an entertaining summer holiday offering and action comedy Don starring Sivakarthikeyan who is considered one of the top three saleable heroes in the Tamil industry. Even in the overseas markets like the US which used to be the domain of big Hindi films, south Indian, and particularly Telugu films have taken over with Sarkaru Vaari Paata almost touching $1 million in advance ticket sales. “The other issue is that while southern films are increasingly finding audience draw in the north, most Hindi films don’t go beyond metros like Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the south," Pillai pointed out.

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Dive Deeper:
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