News Round-Up: No RK Films Revival, No Arbaaz for Dabangg 3, and No Indians at the Top of the Forbes List

Boy, it’s been awhile since I did a real news round-up, isn’t it?  Partly because the releases have been going boom-boom-boom for the past few months, so with my weekly southern reviews, and new movie news, and then Bahubali, there just hasn’t been time.  But this week it’s kind of slow, I don’t have another review ready yet, might as well do a quick news round-up.

Feels weird to do an “introduction” for one of these, but it has been a while, and (hopefully) some of my Bahubali new readers are sticking around and may not have seen one before.  This isn’t supposed to be all the news available today, or even the most important.  You can find that on other websites.  This is just the news stories that interested me and which I felt like I had something to say about.

 

So, first story!  Ranbir Kapoor is saying that he is NOT going to produce anything more after Jagga Jasoos.  He is also acknowledging that the Jagga Jasoos production process was a disaster, and the blame should be equally shared between all parties involved “except one person” (I am assuming he means Katrina?  As a gentlemanly statement, and also probably the truth, I have heard that Katrina is a dream on set, hardworking and responsible and obedient and all of that).  And he says the process has taught him that he should focus on acting, not any other kind of filmmaking.

I find this very interesting for 3 separate reasons!  First, the way Ranbir has this unspoken narrative around him, that we have been waiting for 2 generations for someone to revive RK Films, it feels like in some way the studio is part of the cultural heritage of all Indian film fans and we want a Kapoor to appear and revive it for us.  Since before his launch, heck, since he was a kid, he has had this pressure and this “destiny” on him.  And he hasn’t exactly been ducking it.  Whenever asked about reviving RK, or turning director, or any of that, he just gives a coy smile and doesn’t answer.

Image result for RK films studio

(If I were to revive RK Films, the first thing I would do is repaint the wall bright white and cut back those vines.  I know things get damaged and grow fast in India, but I would have someone constantly standing by with paint and clippers for touch ups.  Just looks so messy to my American eyes!)

And the second thing I find interesting is how that coy smile attitude was maybe part of the problem?  You can’t be a producer, or a director for that matter, if you keep that cool guy “nothing touches me, I don’t care about anything, I am an artist” kind of vibe.  You need to push and show your feelings and get angry and get happy and most of all ask for stuff!  Not pretend that you don’t need anything else, that you are too cool to care.  You need to beg and fight and all of it.  And Ranbir just isn’t willing to lower his dignity like that.

Not every producer or producer/director has to succeed in the same way.  Yash Chopra, for instance, got by through being so gosh-darn lovable, every just wanted to please him and spend time with him.  Aditya Chopra does it by being wise and remote.  Karan Johar is gossipy and charming and a celebrity in his own right.  But all of them have a clear vision of what they need and what they want and they make sure that vision is stamped in the minds of everyone who works for them.  You have to open up enough so people know what you want, and you have to let loose the force of your personality enough so they believe in it.  And Ranbir is not someone to do either of those things, open up or let loose his personality.

The 3rd thing I find interesting is that Ranbir is being very much NOT a producer in saying the blame is shared.  A producer’s job is to say that all the blame is his.  Whether he is a producer/director like Karan Johar, or a producer/star like Shahrukh, or a just straight up producer/producer like Sajid Nadiawala.  And it’s not that they are lying either, a real producer is the heart and soul and breath of a film, it lives on their vision.  And if it fails in anyway, production delays or script re-writes or poor casting, the producer has to believe down in his bones, and declare to the world, that this is because of him and no one else.  Clearly, Ranbir didn’t/doesn’t believe in himself and in his film the way he should if he is going to be successful in this role.

And the 4th reason I find this interesting is that Ranbir’s failure is seen not just as a failure by a Kapoor family member, but as a failure as a rising star.  In the Hindi industry at least, it’s expected that a major actor will eventually turn producer and possibly director, that’s just the direction you are supposed to go in.  Thanks to Ranbir’s grandfather, and others like him, who founded the Hindi film industry on their enormous polyglot talents.

 

So, there’s that story.  Speaking of the expectation that stars will do everything, Salman just issued an announcement about Dabangg 3, which he is of course producing and doing most of the prep work for himself.  But he doesn’t want to direct, give someone else that responsibility.  Arbaaz directed the last one, if you remember, after the original director dropped out.  But Arbaaz doesn’t want to do it either, preferring to focus on the producing side.  So they are looking for some director for hire somewhere.

Image result for salman arbaaz

(Arbaaz is the slightly handsomer youngest brother with the straight nose who’s marriage is officially over, not only rumored to be on the rocks.  Sohail is the other one)

Fascinating, considering how usually directors are considered as the driving force of a film.  This announcement, and the way it is reported, acknowledges that no, when you are a big star, you are the driving force of the film.  And not in a bad way, you have the right sense of what will work and what won’t, you have more experience and talent than any director, that’s what made you and kept you a star.  So Salman and his brothers figured out casting and story and all of that, the director just has to show up at the last minute and turn on the cameras.

 

Final story!  The Forbes wealthiest entertainers list is out.  The wealthiest actors list, if it is the same pattern as last year, will be coming in August.  And that’s where our Indian celebrities really shine.  Because, as is becoming a theme for this post, they aren’t really just “actors”, doing the kind of job that “actor” means in other places in the world.  They are actors/directors/producers/marketing managers/agents/advertising executives/politicians.  A much bigger kind of role than actor is elsewhere.

Closer to what, in America, someone like Sean Combs is for music, producer and talent finder and everything else for the entire industry.  Sean Combs, coincidentally, is the top of the list with 130 million last year.  Shahrukh is the highest Indian, at 65th and 38 million.  At 71 is Salman, with 37 million.  And at 80th is Akshay, with 35.5 million.

Image result for shahrukh salman akshay

(Akshay may be the poorest as a middle-aged man, but I think we can all agree he had the best hair as a 20-something.  And really, at the end of your life, what is more important?)

Notice, looking at that list, that the actor with the most profitable films last year, Akshay, had the lowest overall income.  Salman, with the next most successful films, is in the middle.  And Shahrukh, who had one of the worst years of his career in terms of box office, is right on top.

It’s all upside down, because the money doesn’t come from films.  Not the big money.  At least, not directly.  Shahrukh’s income comes from ad campaigns, from the Red Chillies VFX and other investments, from public appearance payments.  And from pre-sales of satellite rights and distribution for his films, thanks to his producer credit on all of them.  The actual box office, whether they are true failures and losses like Fan, or just lower budget small releases like Dear Zindagi, that doesn’t have a major effect on his income.  His income is untethered to the actual box office, at least short term.  Long term, if this string of failures keeps up, those ads and public appearances could dry up, and the rights pre-sales will go way way down.

Salman’s in a better position going into 2017, and was in a better position in 2016 too, because of Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan.  Not their actual box office, that didn’t go into his pocket, but how that box office success raised the rates he could charge for his next film, for his ads, and for everything else.  It’s secondhand box office money, the money from those films sets the scale he can charge for everything else.

And then there’s Akshay.  The workhorse of the box office.  Most reliable actor in terms of profit margin.  But not splashy, you know?  If you could pick anyone to perform and hang out at your wedding, he’s not the one you would want.  And I don’t think he would want to do it.  I think he would rather keep his head down and work hard, and work smart, in these films.  In which case, it is kind of impressive that he came as close on the list as he did to Salman and Shahrukh.  Considering his income comes the hard way, from actual box office profit, more than from the other easy and more profitable sources.

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13 thoughts on “News Round-Up: No RK Films Revival, No Arbaaz for Dabangg 3, and No Indians at the Top of the Forbes List

  1. I must admit I’m very confused about this Jagga Jasoos. It’s Katrina’s movie so I’m not waiting for it at all and don’t follow news about it. So when I read your post I thought that this movie already released, and did very poor. What a surprise when I read that it was postponed few times and will be out next month. Ranbir really is like the worst producer in the world if he talks bad about his own movie which wasn’t even released yet. Or maybe I’m missing something?

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    • He isn’t officially saying “it’s a bad movie” yet, but he is acknowledging that it had a lot of problems during production. Which is still bad! I mean, it feels like he is preparing the ground for a bad movie, getting his excuses all lined up. Like saying “I hope you like the cake I made you, I ran out of ingredients and the oven stopped working while it was cooking and I dropped it on the floor a little, but maybe it will still taste good! And if it doesn’t, it’s not my fault.”

      And Jagga Jasoos is a disaster! And was guaranteed to be from the start, I think. Anurag Basu is not a very controlled director, not good at going commercial and staying within budget. And Disney, putting up most of the money, has no sense of the Indian market at all. So Ranbir was the person on set who should have been there saying “No, we’re not doing this. Yes, we really need a song here. No, that ending isn’t going to work, re-write it”, all those practical decisions to keep it on track. It was just a terrible choice for his first production, he should have gone lower budget, financed it himself, and chosen a reliable workhorse kind of director. Oh, plus, they made the fatal mistake of casting two people opposite each other who were currently dating. Kat and Ranbir broke up in the middle of filming, which delayed it another like 3 months, and seriously messed up promotions since they can’t really appear together for interviews and stuff now.

      The teaser trailer came out months and months ago, and then they went back to re-work and re-schedule the release again, and now they are releasing this second trailer after we have all forgotten the first one, or felt like the movie has already come out. Once again, RANBIR!!!! Part of the producer’s job, AND part of the star’s job is to control and direct the marketing. And Ranbir is just sort of flailing around without any clear plan. Compare it with Dabangg 3, also in this post, where Salman is doing a controlled series of mentions and rumors leading up to even starting filming, and then will smoothly continue with little hint type photos from on set during filming and a series of coordinated public appearances with his co-stars, and then the song launch, and so on. It seems effortless, because he is so good at it, but without that, you end up with this situation where people forget the movie is even coming out.

      On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 10:08 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think it’s the first time I see somebody talking bad about movie before it was released. Even the film producers of the worst movies try to publicize their work till the last day. When it’s out, they can’t do it anymore, but at least they try to earn as much as they can before people realize that the movie is bad.
        Don’t know if it’s sincerity, stupidity or immaturity of Ranbir (or maybe all three together). He at least has “good” cast, and should rely on it. What shock me the most is that he isn’t random guy who decided to produced a movie. He has all his filmi family behind. Has nobody advised him? But then I think that he and his family did Besharam and I’m not very shocked anymore.
        So will be Jagga Jasoos worse than Besharam?

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        • I can’t imagine anything would be worse than Besharam!

          I was thinking the same thing about his family, but then, none of them have done that well as producers either. His father and his uncle both tried their hand at it, and just didn’t seem to have a good sense for the industry. Although they weren’t this bad, they didn’t actually badmouth their own film, and they chose cheap directors and so on so that it wasn’t such a notable flop when they failed. Although they still failed. Maybe they thought that Ranbir understood the industry better, had some good reason for picking a high profile director and a big budget for his first film.

          I also wonder, his father has always been very outspoken about badmouthing the films he stars in, and Ranbir has followed his lead a little. Maybe Ranbir thinks he can keep doing that as a producer, not realizing that when you are an actor and you say “the director ruined the film, the script was bad, my scenes were cut, that’s why it is terrible”, that’s one thing, but if you are the producer saying the same kind of thing, well, you are the one who picked the director and the script and everything else! As an actor, it makes you look honest and clear-sighted, but as a producer, it just makes you look stupid for having made those choices in the first place.

          On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 11:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I like Rishi and his son less and less, and I have never been a fan! And it’s problem now because I started watching Chandni yesterday, but as soon I saw Rishi I turn it off :/

            But talking about your article I really appreciate the part about forbes list. As always you explained me things I didn’t understand, and now I know much more. Thank you.

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          • Rishi is a bit of a pill off screen, but he is such a delight onscreen that I try very hard to forget that. If you haven’t watched Lamhe yet, try that (no Rishi!), and then try coming back to Chandni and Rishi. Both films are really more Sridevi’s pictures than anything else, so it isn’t that hard to overlook the guys.

            And I’m glad you liked the Forbes list part! If you like that, you might want to try to crawl through the massive post about Box Office that I just put up, it is all about background and explanations.

            On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 12:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I think you’re missing some key points about JJ. Are you forgetting that Anurag Basu was the director for Barfi? Yes, that was a decidedly “uncommercial” film that unexpectedly grossed more than 100 cr (barely), in the days when that was still considered an achievement, attained by few other than the Khans. Heck, I think Ranbir was the *only* one other than the Khans to do it. While I can’t remember exactly, I think Barfi came after Rajneeti and before YJHD, and was one of the key reasons for all the euphoria about Ranbir being the next superstar to take over from the Khans. It was in the middle of all those celebrations that JJ was announced, and of course it was also at the height of the Ranbir-Katrina romance. So that casting also made positive news.

    Since then, of course, the film has had numerous delays, almost all to do with Basu reimagining his “vision”, necessitating multiple reshoots of the same sequences. When Ranbir and Katrina broke up, that hardly had an impact on the film’s schedule, which happened to be in hiatus at that point. So I think it’s unfair to blame the breakup for even as short a delay as three months. And, I guess you haven’t been following the news, because the two of them have been promoting the film together with no issues, with the media commenting on how well they get along, and Ranbir making his usual idiotically hyperbolic statements about his costar that he always does. So, your statement that they can’t really appear together to promote the film is demonstrably untrue.

    JJ is a mess, because its very premise and concept was problematic from the beginning, and that’s on Anurag Basu. Ranbir’s fault as a producer is to completely give in to that vision, with no thought of controlling the budget or schedule, or even how marketable the film would be. But on the last point, I think his fault as a producer is to believe too blindly in the mass appeal of his leading man. 🙂 I doubt that Ranbir has had any attitude adjustment since the experience of Besharam and Bombay Velvet. His statements following those films seemed to be that they were all somebody else’s fault, and he still deserved the mind boggling amounts of money he charged. (His fee or BV was more than the entire lifetime collections of the film!) This arrogance I think got reinforced by the relative success of ADHM. And I think the basis of his attitude isn’t that “I am an artist, above all things like commercial viability”, but that “I am a Kapoor, so I’m owed,” an attitude fully reinforced by both his parents.

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    • I think of Barfi differently, as the first multiplex hit. It had a very targeted release, similar to Dil Dhadakne Do or Piku or any of the others that have come out since then which did very well, but only in the urban upperclass markets. And overseas. It proved that ticket prices in multiplexes were so bloated that you could make a profit just on those tickets even if the vast majority of the audience was not interested. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is the one where I remember Ranbir really getting buzz. Because that was the one that hit outside of the young urbanite audience.

      But we are in complete agreement as to Basu’s unreliability as a director. Or, not exactly unreliability, but capriciousness. You either need to control his budget, so you know you are just looking for a small profit and it doesn’t matter if he takes forever to finish the film and it is only popular in a small segment. And I would not want any first-time producer to try to take him on!

      Ditto on Ranbir’s confidence! At first it seemed like Varun or Shahrukh or Salman or Amitabh, or anyone else who just knew they had talent and that confidence kept them going through all the lean times. But his lean times have been really really lean, you know? Kind of feels like he needs to stop being all “I know I am good and I won’t change, I will just keep going” and more “Maybe I should change. Or at least stop taking stupid scripts with ‘brilliant’ directors and instead take the less risky routes”.

      He also is such a director’s actor, you know? He will trust his director totally and do whatever he is asked. Which is great for an actor, but terrible for a movie star. He needs to take control of his career and responsibility for his choices and his mistakes. It is shocking that he is producing this film, AND starring it, and still seems to be positioning himself to push the blame on to someone else when it (as seems inevitable) fails.

      I see the same problem with Shahid, and Imraan Khan, and loads of other very very talented actors who never quite made it as major stars. They just don’t know how to pick scripts, and stand up to directors and take control of their own destiny. Not right away (that’s where those other young actors fail, the ones who start trying to fly before they can walk), but after a few years and a few films, it’s time to stop just going with the flow.

      On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 2:05 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I love your News Round Up posts! You always end up adding interesting thoughts to it like connecting Ranbir’s failure as a producer to how Salman handles his own stardom.

    By the way Ranbir and Katrina are promoting Jagga Jasoos together without any problems. Katrina was and will always be a very professional person.

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    • I don’t much like Katrina’s acting, but I kind of respect her as an actress. That is, all the parts of the job unrelated to the actual acting. She works very very hard, does everything that is asked to the best of her capabilities, and no one ever has a bad word to say about her. Most importantly, everyone wants to keep working with her. Khans, Aditya Chopra, Karan, everyone.

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      • What I found strange is that , like you say, no one from industry has a bad word to say about her, but on contrary no one outside films has a good word about her. Really I read only bad things about her comportment with random people who only wanted a photo or an autograph. Stars are only people and have bad days too, but I have never read somebody write: “I met Katrina and she is such a nice lady”.
        I wasn’t fan of Varun, but when I read some people’s stories how nice, and kind he is I started liking him.
        I’m not able to divide a person form the artist, and I just can’t enjoy seeing, or listening to somebody who I know I would not like in real life. I have never liked Katrina’s acting , but I tolerated her in movies. But since I read bad things about her I just can’t see her. I have the same feeling with Kareena Kapoor and now start hating Ranbir and his father (but at least they can act)

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        • When I saw her live at the Dream Team concert, she looked absolutely miserable to be on stage, very awkward. And I feel like she comes off kind of the same way in interviews. I’ve also noticed, no one really has anything super personal to say about her. I hear a lot of stories about her giving fitness advice, but not about jokes she has made, or her favorite movies, or anything like that.

          My impression is of a very very private person who doesn’t really make friends in the industry. Which might explain why she is still so close to Salman’s family, like spends her birthday at their house every year kind of close. If they were the first people she felt like she could be herself with, and that is so rare for her, no wonder she has stayed close with them.

          But in terms of working, sometimes that kind of very very private person who doesn’t make friends is the easiest person to work with. There’s no personal context when you do a scene with her, there’s never any drama on set, she shows up on time and does exactly what is asked, just kind of slots into the film as needed and you can almost forget there is a person behind the face.

          On Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 4:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Exactly! I feel the same way about her. I also liked her acting in a few movies like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

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