Box Office: When Word of Mouth Goes Bad

The box office figures are sooooooooooooooo bad right now, that it made me think about why exactly they are so bad, and if this is a good thing or bad thing.  And I landed on “bad” and also “it’s the audience’s fault”.  So get ready for me to get deep and complex towards the end!

I went through my archives to see if it’s just a time of year thing, the sagging spot between Independence Day and all the fall festivals.  But, nope!  This time last year, Baar Baar Dekho and Pink were both at the box office, and Baar Baar was “flopping” at about $4,000 per screen.  Unlike now, just a year later, when Simran is “running well” at around $2,000 per screen in the US.

Simran is the best of a bad story, at about $2,000 per screen in the US.  Lucknow Central is probably the worst.  Opened on 52 screens, only making a little over a thousand per screen in the US.  Shubh Mangal Saavdhan in week 3 is doing the same as Lucknow Central in week 1.  Which also isn’t great for Shubh Mangal Saavdhan either.

But the real sad story is the non-Hindi films.  Magalir Mattum in week one, at $1,500 per screen in the US.  Thupparivaalan at less than a thousand.  And this is the same across the globe, including India to some degree.  So, what changed?  Is it the films or is it the public?

Let’s take Pink and Baar Baar as counterexamples.  Pink grew from word of mouth, and it had a good opening from promotions.  It was really the ideal situation, benefiting from both the new social media kind of environment and the old fashioned promotions kind of environment.  Baar Baar, obviously, did not grow from word of mouth.  But it still managed a decent opening weekend based on the very coordinated promotional campaign.

(And it wasn’t a waste of money.  Weak film, but worth it to see this song on the big screen)

Now, a year later, that system is no longer working.  We’ve been talking about this in the comments, how fast word of mouth spreads.  But one thing that seems a little different, if I am understanding new technology correctly, is that word of mouth is being quickly dominated by one “mouth” as it were.  It has to be if it is spreading this fast.  With Pink, or Neerja, last year, the opening weekend was decent and then it grew the second weekend.  That means a large proportion of people saw it opening weekend and, among them, the consensus was that it was good.  And so they each told 3 people to see this movie, and those 3 people came to watch it.  And slowly it grew and kept growing.

Now, we are seeing small opening weekends followed by drastically smaller second weeks and so on.  What that means is a small proportion of people are seeing the film and immediately passing on their reviews to 20-50-100 people.  And usually those reviews are bad.

Now, I don’t want to save the movie industry from blame here.  The films are bad, that’s true.  If there were better movies, the word of mouth would be good, those small groups would pass on universally good reviews and more people would come.  We saw that from Baahubali.

But let’s take a second and think about the whole process of deciding to see a movie.  You have limited funds and limited time and want to make sure it is something you will enjoy.  How can you make sure it will be something you like?  Well, there are 3 good ways to do it:

  1. Use your own judgement.  Did you like the promotions, do you like the actors, did you enjoy something else by this director/writer/whoever?
  2. Ask a friend who has already seen it, “is this something I would enjoy?”
  3. Read a detailed review that gives you a sense of what kind of a film it is from a reviewer you trust.

 

And here are bad ways:

  1. Assume in advance you will/won’t like it just because of your personal feelings about the actor, one thing you have heard about the plot, one small element on the poster
  2. Trust a total stranger’s one word “bad” review
  3. Read a short poorly written review from a reviewer you don’t know.

 

Now, “good” option 3, that’s very hard to find in Indian film.  There’s me of course (yay me!).  There’s Raja Sen and rediff.com in general, there’s Baradwaj Rangan, I am sure there are others scattered around that I don’t know about.  But every time I look at a review on Times of India or some other mainstream source like that, I am just disgusted.  There’s nothing there, it says the movie is good or bad and that’s kind of it.

The reason you need more to a film review isn’t so you can learn more about the film, it’s so you can learn more about the reviewer.  Raja Sen, I love him, but we have very different taste in movies.  If he says a film is bad, that doesn’t mean I skip the film.  It means I read the review and if he says it is bad because it is “big stupid crowd pleaser with ridiculous action scenes and a bad script”, then I will watch the film.  If he says it is bad because “the social statements are blunt and the performances are dull”, then I won’t.  I always agree with his content, that’s why I read him, but I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions.  And I shouldn’t, we are different people, we will like different things, and that’s okay.  The content is there to help me make my own informed decision.

(Raja Sen hated Bang Bang.  I loved it.  But we are describing the same movie in our reviews, we just had different reactions)

That’s why I don’t do “stars” on my reviews or any kind of a rating.  You have to read the thing, get to know me, see the details of why I did or didn’t like it, and then make your decision.  Not everyone has the same taste or likes the same sorts of films.  My job as a reviewer is to be as honest as possible about my response to the film and what the film was, so you can make your own decision.  This is why I went to school, this is what I was trained in.  I’m not just someone on Facebook posting a screed about how awesome a fight seen was, or how “unrealistic” a romance is.  And my hope is that even if you only skim the first few paragraphs of what I write, you will get something real from me, not just a bland “I liked it”.

So you can’t just say “all the reviews were bad” or “all the reviews were good”.  And you can’t pick a random reviewer you’ve never read before and trust their judgement.  And you definitely can’t just read a random review that’s only 2 paragraphs long and tells you nothing beyond the plot outline and a row of stars.

The internet is making snap judgments from no content reviews easier and easier.  You can go on twitter and find people re-tweeting a whole series of reviews with just the headlines, and all you see from that is a stream of “good” “bad” and no context.  You can find plenty of meta stories “reviewers hate such-and-such! reviewers love such-and-such!”  But this doesn’t help you decide if you, personally, would enjoy this film.

 

Let’s look at option 2.  Asking a friend.  Again, there’s me!  In the comments, I’ve recommended films to some of you.  But I’m not going to recommend the same film to all of you.  Some of you like swoony romance, some of you like thought provoking films, some of you like dark dramas.  People are different.  And I know you, so if you ask me what you would like, or if I recommend something to you, it’s based on your particular tastes.  I do this for my “real life” friends as well, pick and choose what they might like based on their tastes and personality.  This is different from a real review, you don’t have to read paragraphs and paragraphs of details to be sure you will like this film, you trust my judgement as to what you would like.  And I don’t have to write paragraphs and paragraphs to justify it, you know I know what you are like and what you would like.

(I never would have seen this movie based on the reviews, or even most word of mouth.  But individual people who know my taste in the comments recommended it and that made the difference)

This is a great system!  This is an ancient system.  Movies, music, books, we’ve all had recommendations from friends who said “you liked such and such, right?  Then you will love this!”  And then you will turn around and say to them “I loved the book you gave me, here’s one I read that reminded me of it.”  (which has also happened in the comments, you have told me what I would like)  The point is, this is one on one between people who actually know each other well.

 

Now, let’s look at “bad” option 2.  If you are part of a whatsapp group of random neighborhood ladies, none of whom you know well, and one of them has taken it upon herself to be the “movie” person and sends out a two sentence “Horrible film, skip it”, every Friday, that is close to useless.  She doesn’t know anything about your taste, and you don’t know anything about hers.  It’s not quite as bad as reading a superficial professional review (because bad professional reviewers have various agendas along with their useless opinions), but it is only slightly better.

Especially because bad news and bad opinions travel faster than good.  It’s easier to say “Horrible film, skip it” then “great film, watch it”.  If you say “great film” and someone sees it and happens to not like it, they will get mad at you, they will say “I wasted my money and time!”  If you say “horrible film”, no one will watch it and be able to disagree with you.  Recommending a movie is a lot more risky than not recommending it.  I’m not saying that random whatsapp people need to be more generous in their reviews, but I am saying that the people getting these reviews need to be less trusting of them, less sure that what someone else says is “horrible” is actual something they wouldn’t like.

 

 

And then there’s option 1, making a judgement for yourself based on the data you have.  “Good” option one is that you see the song video, you see an interview with the star, you decide whether or not it sounds like a film you would like.  Even the “good” version of this is a system that is both a lot harder and a lot easier today.  And it is also the thing that varies the most depending on where you are in the world.  This is, I think, what is most driving the global versus local market.

Let’s look at Jab Harry Met Sejal for an example.  If you are overseas, what you know before the film comes out is that you saw a few songs on youtube maybe, they seem catchy.  Shahrukh is in it.  The poster has bright colors.  So, you go see it because the poster has bright colors, Shahrukh is in it, and the songs are decent.

If you are in India, you have all of that, plus like 95% more.  A barrage of interviews, articles, public appearances, you cannot escape this film.  There is too much information, some of it sounds like something you will like, some of it like something you will hate, and so you err on the “hate” side.  It is so much noise that it becomes meaningless, it’s impossible to make an informed decision for yourself because you can’t spend 8 hours sifting through all the data to find the useful parts of it.

Back in the day, like just 20 years ago, this was the way most people decided what to see especially on opening weekend.  A poster at the movie theater, a song on the radio, the star’s name, that was it.  You had enough to know generally if it would be “your” kind of a film, and if you didn’t like it, that was your own fault, not the filmmakers, not the reviewers, not the social media who lied to you.  It sounds kind of odd to put it this way, but ultimately there was a sense of personal responsibility for a bad film going experience.  You don’t say “I HATE THIS MOVIE STAR/DIRECTOR/FILM STUDIO BECAUSE I SAW A BAD MOVIE!!!!!!”, you say “well, that was a waste of time and money, I should be smarter next time.”

 

 

Now, here’s the really bad version of that.  If you see an actor whose public persona you agree with, on a poster that general nods towards politics/world view you support, and you automatically decide you will like this film before you even watch it.  Or of course the reverse, you see an actor whose public persona you don’t agree with, on a poster with a general nod towards politics you don’t support, and automatically decide you will not like this film.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was not a great movie.  It just wasn’t.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but the songs weren’t that good, the script was confused, and the characters didn’t work.  But it had the right tagline on the poster, and a non-controversial star.  So it ran well.  Dangal was a much better movie.  But it was not the best movie, if it had a more controversial star and a less middle-of-the-road-but-seems-like-you-are-taking-a-stand political message, it would not have run well.

(I love this song.  But I want this song to be the whole movie, butch tough little girls beating up guys. Not nobly winning for India with the guidance of their father)

Dilwale should have run better.  Ae Dil Hai Mushkil should have run better.  Raees should have run better.  Not a lot better, I’m not saying any of them should have broken box office records.  But they took a hit because of reasons completely unrelated to the content of the film.  Just like Rustom and Bajirao got a break for reasons completely unrelated to the content of the film.

 

 

What’s the downside to all this?  People being increasingly picky in their film choices and bad reviews (“bad” meaning both poorly written and negative) spreading faster than good in most cases?  Well, there are two downsides:

First, people are missing out on movies!  When did it become the norm that you can only enjoy a film if it is perfect and everyone else loves it to?  What happened to just going to the movies to enjoy going to the movies?  I had SO MUCH fun at Munna Michael and Raabta and Muburakan.  And these were not good movies.  I would not (and did not) give them very good reviews.  But I hopefully gave them a review that made you know if this was the kind of film you would enjoy, that told you that they are a fun thing to do on a Friday night.

 

A large part of this is related to ticket prices, at least in India.  The prices are going up and up, which makes people more picky about what to see.  And also gives an inflated market share to people who are more likely to read reviews, literate English speakers with technology access.

But the tickets aren’t really going up in America, and yet people are getting increasingly picky just to be picky.  I don’t know, it just feels like you are depriving yourself of something joyful because you are being told that it isn’t worth risking something bad.

 

And then the second problem is, good movies don’t magically appear fully born.  Every film industry in every era has a ton of terrible movies and a few great ones.  They need the money and the experience and everything else from the terrible movies in order to make the great ones.  Look at Bahubali.  Before Bahubali, there was Billa, there was Chatrapathi (that shark CGI was not great), there was every terrible movie Nassar and Ramya Krishnan and Satyaraj were in over the past decades of their career.  You have to allow people to fail in order for them to succeed.  If the public is now saying “don’t bother seeing any movie ever unless it is Bahubali“, well, they aren’t going to get any more Bahubali‘s.

(Great idea, poor execution.  But they got better and then we got Bahubali)

So, yes, films should be better.  Ticket prices should be lower.  Promotional campaigns should be smaller.  All of this is true.

 

But the bigger truth is that minds need to be open and questioning.  Don’t believe everything you read online, dig into things further, think for yourself.  Don’t make judgments before watching a film.  And most of all, don’t trust the judgments of others you don’t even know and who don’t know you.  People have a voice now, and that means it is your responsibility to use that voice well and fairly.

 

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118 thoughts on “Box Office: When Word of Mouth Goes Bad

  1. Wow, I was expecting a standard box office analysis. But I do agree with everything you said! I do think people should be able to judge for themselves whether they’d like a movie or not based on the promo materials.

    “If you are part of a whatsapp group of random neighborhood ladies, none of whom you know well, and one of them has taken it upon herself to be the “movie” person and sends out a two sentence “Horrible film, skip it”, every Friday, that is close to useless. ”
    I relate to this so much! My mom and her friends who usually go to movies together have a whatsapp group. A couple of the people go to almost every Telugu that comes out on Friday and they say whether they liked the movie or not in the group. A couple of my mom’s friends saw Fidaa on the first day and they didn’t like it, so my mom and the rest of the people in that group ended up not seeing the movie. I saw Fidaa with my friends and I talked it up so much to my parents that we ended up going together again. And my mom actually liked it!
    Another thing that annoys me about my mom and her friends’ movie watching habits is that they usually don’t even watch the trailers of movies. Apparently someone in the group suggested going to Arjun Reddy since it got really good reviews. I was surprised that they were going to Arjun Reddy because I could easily tell based on the trailers that this is not a movie that this group would enjoy. And unsurprisingly, they all hated the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you liked this!

      and yes, your two examples are exactly what bother me. Especially, because you are right there! And you are so smart and aware! And, obviously, know your mother well. Instead of trusting random strangers one word judgment, she can ask someone who knows her and also knows film and follow your judgment.

      That’s what I think of as “good” word of mouth, when it is one person telling 3-5 people they actually know, and who know them and know they know movies, instead of trusting someone who you doesn’t know your taste, and you don’t know their ability to make a sound judgment.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 2:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Right! I feel like one needs to have proper judgement about what they’ll like and what they won’t like. Personally, I can tell whether I would like a movie or not based on the trailer itself. I wasn’t as excited for Judwaa 2 as I was for Dishoom but based on the trailer itself I can tell that I’m gonna like Judwaa 2 a lot more than I did Dishoom.

        I think in terms of reviewers, only you come really close to having a similar taste in movies. I really like reading Baradwaj Rangan’s reviews but I find him to be too critical about everything.

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        • Well, you in terms of readers, you have a similar taste to me too! I keep hitting you up for recommendations, because so far everything you’ve told me I would like has hit it out of the park for me. The weakest I think was Ninnu Kori, and even that one I really really liked for the most part.

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          • Honestly, Ninnu Kori didn’t really hold up for me either when I watched it a second time. I mean I still liked it but I was left with the feeling of “why did I like this movie so much when I watched it the first time?”.

            Fidaa on the other hand has only gotten better each time I’ve seen it. I was gonna watch Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju since you reviewed it, but I ended up watching Fidaa again 🙂

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          • Wait, but Fidaa is still in theaters! How could you have…? Oh! EVIL! Pirating and badness! Which I wish I could do but I can only find a no subtitles version.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:22 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I paid for it twice and it had a pretty long run in theaters, I think it’s okay to pirate 🙂

            Anyway, Fidaa is coming on TV soon (I think for Dussehra) so get prepared for it show up on Einthusan.

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          • Woo-hoo! And hopefully soon after that, Hotstar!

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 9:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Good post. 🙂 I have a couple of observations.

    Even though ticket prices in the U.S.are not going up in the way they are in India, they are still a significant investment of money (if you plan to see a reasonable number of films in a year) and, more importantly, time. And with the plethora of 3D movies (not all of which really need the 3D treatment), ticket prices are going up, too. Now what I find with North American professional critics is that they have really degraded in quality over the past few decades. They are more like social media reviews, in that they put out strong opinions (often with insulting comments on the film makers or stars), without much justification offered, and also, they are much more politicized. That is, if the film doesn’t conform to their world view, it automatically becomes bad, even though cinematically it might be quite good. But, with everyone, including “journalists”, proclaiming that it is impossible for anyone to be objective, the idea of writing an objective review is pretty much dead. (In your film courses, did you ever come across the reviews by Charles Champlin? He was the main reviewer at the LA Times, and later became their overall Entertainment Editor. His reviews were the best. He was often criticized for never panning any film, and his explanation was that, even a bad film takes so much passion and effort to be made, that they must be respected. He always told you what didn’t work in a film, but he was never nasty or mean.)

    Sorry, I actually wasn’t going to say any of the above. 🙂 What I wanted to say was that I use the “be open to a film” approach when going to film festivals, especially if I can afford the all access pass. However, I am just now looking at the schedule at our annual international film festival (to decide whether it’s worth it to buy the all access pass), and frankly, most of the films leave me cold. I may end up not going at all (as I have skipped the last couple of years). There comes a point, either because of age or film experience, where you don’t need to be “open” to everything, because you actually have seen most things, and don’t need to see it again. Also, with respect to film festivals, there is a limit to weirdness that I can tolerate, and I seem to have reached it.

    My second (or third) observation is about your comment “Don’t make judgments before watching a film.” After reading most of your blog posts, I think that you do, in fact, make judgments before watching the film in many cases. Not necessarily about whether it will be good or not, but about what it’s going to be. And in this way I think you end up disappointed many times just because the film wasn’t what you thought it was going to be, rather than what it is. I know you like doing the pre-release speculations on what the film is going to be like (especially the big films), but this is a trend that I find disturbing. I feel that you have expended so much energy in speculating that it will be such and such (as you do with your fan fics, for example), that it’s hard for you to readjust to accepting it as is. No doubt you will disagree on this point. But I wish you would think about it a little to see if it could be true.

    One final point is that people do have many entertainment options nowadays, and films just have more to compete against. One of the reasons I may not go to the film festival, for example, is that I have a bunch of other (non-film, and even non-entertainment) events happening during the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One other point about social media reviews, especially for Indian films, is the phenomenon of fan groups and how they try to build up or (more often) pull down a film by “their” rival star, by posting deliberately fake reviews. And now I am reading that some studios/producers are paying people to post reviews on Twitter, especially. I don’t know how true it is, but at least in a few cases, it has been proven to be true.

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    • From what I know, the fan groups are already more coordinated on social media than any official studio PR could be. At least for Indian films. I noticed that with JHMS, there was an odd echo chamber effect, if you were in the fan group part of social media, it looked like a universally beloved film. But if you stumbled into another fan group, it looked like a universally hated one. The middle ground was gone.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 4:24 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Chiming in to agree to this! When its a film of a ‘big’ star, I really have to rely on the judgment of friends (as you mentioned in your post) who know my taste in films. I really feel like I can’t trust any other reviews. I’ve been burned by too many professional reviews which are either overly positive or extremely critical. And the social media echo chamber is surprisingly powerful.

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        • It’s kind of nice writing these reviews from all the way over here in America. I get to be all free and clear and above the influences. And it also helps to never have time to check any other source besides my own blog for an opinion. Well, plus you on the blog, but I think of you all as my “friends” who know my taste in films, not outside sources 🙂

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  4. That’s why I love your blog and your reviews so much – you don’t limit yourself just to say “bad” or “good” and you know that there are different tastes. E.g I really liked “Raabta” and I think I would not watch it if not for your review. Maybe it’s not “blockbuster material” but it doesn’t deserve to be a flop.
    And you are so right that people now wait for perfect movies, and there is no such thing especially in Indian cinema.

    P.S OMG This shark scene! Why nobody told me about it earlier? I wish I could watch it on big screen. I absolutely loved it.

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    • Chatrapathi is definitely a fun movie! But it’s another movie that is open to the one sentence “terrible CGI, trite plot, don’t bother” kind of review. Because you can’t contain the layers of all that in just one statement, you need a full review to talk about it. Or, you need to just watch the trailer or a clip and decide for yourself.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 4:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Been waiting for more of such insightful and observational opinion pieces for soooo long. Really, I was even beginning to feel kinda awkward that most of my comments hardly have anything to do with the blog content itself or a discussion on it esp during the JHMS barrage and the fanfics and what not! Fantastic post.

    How was Baar Baar not a waste of money simply because of song video or two on the big screen that forms about 5% of the (running) time insvested? You said people have limited time and funds!

    Do agree with the reviewers bit, people should learn to take it with a pinch of salt (personally my taste is reflected by Rajeev Masand. Raja Sen is just way too high brow). Oh and the bit about the neighborhood ladies reviews comes as a direct response to what one your regular readers had mentioned earlier wasn’t it?!

    But ultimately I will disagree with the notion that somehow people need to be more forgiving about what they consider a movie worth watching. Instead, and this is something everyone has been saying increasingly loudly over the past few years, PAY THE (GOOD) WRITERS HANDSOMELY. That will inspire more focus on simply thinking a bit more smartly about how to make an interesting movie that explores something new with every step whilst not changing too much in one iteration. And not just cobbling together efforts like Dilwale (sorry no offense!) and then wishing that people gave it more of a chance. Movies like Shubh Mangal, Bareilly, Arjun Reddy and Vikram Vedha recently have attempted something a bit different while not being radically new or anything on a safe-ish budget and worked. Why not make more of such attempts and make the money the industry needs over time instead of so often just trying the easy way and throwing the kitchen sink at the wall and hope enough sticks? The reality seems to be that the existence of a formula for success is increasingly becoming diluted and loose, it is dissolving. And fast. I’d be very very surprised if stuff like Judwaa 2 still works even today. So gleefully glad that Gentleman tanked. But then again Mubarakan did work so who knows! And of course that is the very game. But one in which it is becoming more and more risky to play it safe, if that makes sense.

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    • You know the funny thing is, I think you would LOVE A Gentleman! based on my “option 2, person who actually knows you” kind of feeling. It’s really clever in how it sets things up, it’s got a great look to it, it’s a lot more Johnny Gaddar or Don than Bang Bang. Plus, Jacqueline does a pole dance.

      Moving on, the neighborhood ladies reviews was kind of a response, but a response to what I’ve been hearing from commenters over the past several months. I’m not part of that world, so I only get to learn about it second hand, but I’ve been hearing more and more that this is apparently “a thing”. And as I said, I don’t think it’s a good thing. It’s one thing if it is taken as part of a larger knowledge base, maybe look at the review you get from a friend, plus the trailer. Or what someone in your real life says. But not if you rely on that alone.

      Baar Baar, well, I’m not saying everyone should watch it, but it had a “normal” drop. People who just wanted to see a movie and liked the songs and poster went to see it opening weekend. And then they told other people not to bother and it steadily dropped over the next few days. But at least it had a chance! People didn’t avoid it straight out of the gate for no real reason. And I know at least one person (a commentator here) really liked it and had a wonderful date night out with his wife at the theater. Which doesn’t mean it is a good movie, but does mean it was possible to have a nice date night at the theater and enjoy yourself. Why cut yourself off from that possible good time, you know? Why not at least give it a tiny chance before writing it off?

      Totally agree about paying writers, and really everyone who does high quality work. Bareilly Ki Barfi, the one clear word of mouth success, had Rajkumar Rao and Ayushmann Khuranna as stars, two actual trained actors who worked very hard to get where they are and should be given more credit and more chances. And that’s on top of the director/writer. Same with all the others you mentioned, everyone involved did excellent work and were rewarded.

      Well, sort of. I am so glad you mentioned those examples because they are really interesting to look at. Bareilly has had a solid run. Vikram Vedha and Arjun Reddy both grew slightly in their second weeks, and then dropped rapidly. Shubh Mangal Saavdhan has done only modest business all along. And yeah, these are really good films! Not perfect movies, no movie is perfect (even Bahubali had it’s bad bits), but films that could provide an enjoyable thought provoking evening. I wonder if it is because good word of mouth is harder to spread than bad?

      And finally, I am SO going to see Judwaa 2 opening night and I don’t even care what you think of me!!!! And then I will report back with a glowing review (yes, I am prejudging it, but based on the trailers it will have to be a total disaster for me not to have fun), and you will read the whole thing and think “well, I may not agree with her conclusion, but it still informed me what kind of a film this was and that I will/won’t enjoy it”.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 6:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • But what use is all that if I figured out the twist from the trailers and also got the pole dance in a song? See this is what is wrong with today’s promos!

        And well yeah I myself do tend to be picky about what movies I watch and in fact even take some “pride” in only watching well-received films deemed fit for my esteemed viewership because I’m so cool and my time is so valuable. But I also balance that out by liking myself some Dabangg, MNIK, KANK SOTY etc.

        I definitely don’t judge people by the movies they like or watch! Only by whether or not they have the good taste to like me.

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        • Dabangg, MNIK, KANK, SOTY? Have you been looking at my DVD shelf/favorite movies list? Okay, not KANK, but the others. And very very impressed that you like KANK! That’s some deep sensitive Karan Johar type stuff there!

          Also, you should totally watch A Gentleman! Even knowing the twist, it’s done so well and the action scenes are great and all that. Or, now that I know you like KANK, maybe you should just watch Aashiqui 2 or something?

          I absolutely judge people by the movies they like. But, based on your recent list, I think we are good.

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          • Agree there! Were you reading back when I saw Arijit Singh live? SO AMAZING! And he refused to sing Tum Hi Ho because he was sick of it, just did a word here and there and made us sing the rest. Which is probably wise, I mean we would all be singing too loud to hear his version anyway.

            On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 10:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • i’m sure Rajamouli will be pleased.

            Check out the Arijit Singh review in the archives, it was awesome. Converted me from a “oh hey, the Tum Hi Ho guy!” kind of fan to a total fan.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m still not sold on his range, I mean of course all the songs I’ve heard till now that make me feel the pain of love or lost love whilst having never known either, namely Tum Hi Ho, Agar Tum Saath Ho and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are all his.

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          • He also did a really good cover of Mere Rang Sharbaton. But that’s the only one I can think of. Even in JHMS, they gave him the sad songs, and gave Diljit the party song.

            Also, finally a guy who doesn’t cringe at my taste in music! Again, I’ve been hanging out with the wrong desis.

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    • Follow up, speaking of not related to blog content, is there any way to rescue a video from my phone’s trash? I did two versions, the first one had a stain on my shirt, but the second one was even worse, so now I want the first one back.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 6:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I can only offer assistance if you have an Android phone and not Apple (never owned one so no idea). But even then your options are tricky unfortunately. At the very minimum you’re gonna have to plug your phone into your laptop and use a software tool to get it back. So you can decide if reshooting is less daunting or recovery! The recovery is not that daunting but you have an aversion to that kind of thing.

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        • I never owned an apple phone either. I don’t understand them and they make me angry because my charger almost fits them, but not quite.

          But, on the other hand, I do have an aversion to that kind of thing. And also to reshooting. And I have now gone from stained shirt to clean shirt to PJs, so it’s too late. Prepare yourself to complain loudly and long about a video that is mysteriously dark and out of focus (I swear, I did nothing different than I did before! The phone camera just didn’t work right).

          Or maybe I just try again tomorrow morning.

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          • Haha yeah try again if it’s not too much trouble. And let’s keep digging about stuff that we continue to discover we have in common! Or not have but the not-having is common.

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          • Your comment on the Monday post is a very strong start, and something I never ever thought I would see a desi boy say. Clearly I am hanging out with the wrong desi crowd, but still! OMG! You just jumped about a thousand points in my eyes.

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      • Miss Redlich don’t be too impressed by this guy he’s not the real me and he’s only posing as this smart pretender but I just got away from him for a second to post this myself so you know and—AAARGH

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          • Yeah it’s me I’m back. Ignore him he’s just a sorry miserable bloke so forget about him. Wait what am I saying? There is no HIM. At all. It’s only me.

            WHY CAN’T I DELETE COMMENTS

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          • Now, I haven’t seen Karthik Calling Karthik, but he does integrate himself and get the girl in the end, right? So maybe you should just lean into it!

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          • Boy he does have a fight in him so had to knock him out cold for a while for the night.

            Where were we? Oh yeah I’m definitely doing whatever it takes to get you the girl!

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          • Which makes me Deepika Padukone! I am fine with that.

            On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 9:00 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Right? I mean I’ve tried them on as a kid (guests at a desi gathering of course leave footwear outside so that’s how, honest) and I will never understand just how the heck one is supposed to walk normally in them. It always twisted sideways. But mainstream media has told me that they help with giving a more attractive posture and shapely look or something.

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          • Not worth it! They make you look/feel good for about 5 minutes, and then it’s hours and hours of pain. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, a solid 5′ 9″ with feet flat on the floor is my norm.

            Which, I want to point out, makes my hair even more impressive. “waist-length” is a good 4 feet, would be knee length on someone else. The only reason I sometimes want to be shorter, so my hair would look longer.

            On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 9:17 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Ok so maybe now I’m starting to appreciate just why there is this constant refrain in romantic songs alluding to the heroine’s zulfein (Urdu I think for hair. Or tresses to be a bit more exact).

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          • Yeah, last time I unbraided my wet hair in my friend’s car she accused me of trying to seduce her.

            On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 9:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And then you go about playing around with your hair in your videos. If a woman can get ideas looking at that then just imagine. Sometimes I feel women just don’t realize the extent of their powers and go around asking men to behave!

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          • Well, to be fair, my friend is bisexual. But still!

            And hey, when I have I asked you to behave? Anyway, I wouldn’t ask, I’d just block you 🙂

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          • *flicks on the romantic*

            Oh by now I’ve also entered into and exist in places other than just your blog miss.

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          • Really? The person from last night who was too cowardly to use the contact me form in order to hear the gross story I am not willing to put in the comments?

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          • I do not care about what you did or who you were with in your past. I’m only considering and interested in what you do and who you are and will be with now and in the future.

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          • Oh my, romantic Karthik is in charge! Very nice line.

            On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 9:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh is it? Yeah yes it is definitely original and completely mine,I just thought of it you know! It just formed in my fingers on their own. I just flow like that.

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          • I thought so!

            To be fair, I just assume everything not in Hindi is original to you. And everything in Hindi isn’t. Which is probably not true either way.

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          • But I do get brownie points for honesty right. Coz if not then that is why nice guys just can’t win. I mean if we cheat but then tell the truth then how is it cheating.

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          • Like all desi food, although I have to admit that I generally swing north Indian instead of south. Love love love the desserts. Jalabis have ruined me for regular sweets. (well, except chocolate options)

            And the brownie was supposed to be a treat with my breakfast coffee, but then I got swamped at work so I ended up stuck with it for lunch.

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          • Fun fact: South Indians make fun of written Hindi anywhere by saying “it was all jalebis there I couldn’t read anything”.

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          • Oh oh!!!!!! I JUST REALIZED!!! YOU ARE THE PERSON I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR FOR 12 YEARS!!!! In Roja, 1 hour and 41 minutes in, what is written in the dust? I have never been able to find a version that translates it, and I’ve never known a Tamil person I could ask.

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          • Ok so by now I’ve mentioned that my primary school years were in the north where both Hindi and the regional language Gujarati were mandatory subjects taught in my school and so I did learn to read and write them along with speaking. Parents didn’t really insist on learning to read and write Tamil at that time at home either so I only learnt to speak it. And then down south it was too late and downright scary to have to learn it from scratch at say 13 but thankfully they had alternative language subjects as options and so I continued with just Hindi.

            So to not answer your question I cannot read Tamil!

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          • And the quest continues! If Rahman would just subtitle the text in his films like a normal person, I wouldn’t be so stuck.

            Also, this all makes me feel a lot better about my own terrible language issues. Maybe I only know one language while you know at least 3, but at least I can write the same language my parents speak. Which, okay, is also the only language I have ever learned fluently, and the language everyone around me speaks and so on and so on.

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          • One of my aunts knows to speak 7 languages fluently. All the 4 I speak plus Marathi (she lives there now), Bengali (she went to school there) and Nepali (she was born there).

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          • Of course so between us future generations will stand tall and be well spoken. What a gift they would be to our species.

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          • And on that note, I am off to bed! You kept me up an hour past my personal curfew, be very proud of yourself.

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  6. “When did it become the norm that you can only enjoy a film if it is perfect and everyone else loves it to? What happened to just going to the movies to enjoy going to the movies?”

    This may have happened when people in India realised they have the option of not going to a film that doesn’t appeal to them? Why is it OK that not every film in Europe or Australia or East Asia or the US is a blockbuster hit but if people are not going to the films in India or Indian films overseas, the above questions are asked? Are you saying Indian audiences are being too harsh on the films that don’t appeal to them? People should go watch films every Friday, even the trash ones, just because? Huh?

    I really don’t understand what you’re going for here.

    You’re saying people should think for themselves but you’re also saying people should trust reviewers and the reviews of friends and family.

    a) Have you read Indian reviewers? Would you trust any of them? LOL I personally like Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra and I’m also capable of finding trailer reviewers that I think are honest. My mom/cousins/people decide their weekly movie outing based on the availability of company and which film won’t feel like a waste of money and they probably aren’t going to do in-depth research and then look specifically for bits that redeem a film. IT’S TOO MUCH WORK! When did the movie going experience start DEMANDING such copious amounts of work??

    b) Film, like any other form of art is a subjective experience. A reviewer may help you understand a film better but if it does nothing for you, it would do nothing for you no matter how amazing the product may be. Like Gangs of Wasseypur. I don’t think the film is getting an index on your blog even though it is all kinds of amazing and groundbreaking in terms of promotional strategy, release strategy, actual story, what it meant for a part of the country that doesn’t any attention in films, what it mean for Nawazuddin’s career, the profits it earned, the narrative strategy, the benefits of the split release and so on! It’s an important film but it won’t get the same treatment as DDLJ because you probably won’t feel Wasseypur the same way you’d feel DDLJ. And that’s OK. As an audience member, I won’t hold it against you that you won’t appreciate that film which I liked on the same level as you’d love a film that you lived personally so very much, It’s the same for everyone else. They’re allowed to NOT love every film. And they’re allowed to skip films if they don’t appeal to them and they’re allowed to have whatsapp reviews reinforce their own impression of a film whose trailer they might have seen on TV or theatre when they were undecided.

    c) The Netflix and Chill factor: You converted me to the religion of Nivin Pauly’s beard. You can’t unconvert me now. If I had the choice of spending my weekend binge watching Premam and OSO and Biju plus a film of his that I haven’t watched before on Hotstar or watching a new SRK or Salman film in theatres that I’ve heard is terrible, I would never pick the theatre option. EVER!! This isn’t to say I would stop watching films in the theatres, it just means that I’d be less inclined to spend on fuel, brave the weather, brave the traffic, spend on the tickets and spend on theatre food (because that’s the movie going experience!) for a film that I suspect isn’t to my taste and which I’ve been warned about from multiple sources on social. PLUS, I have the option of watching that foreign film that multiplexes aren’t playing locally.

    People go to the theatres to enjoy a story. Any story that requires 4-5 viewings to be tolerable is probably not very well made. How many times did you watch Tubelight to make that film redeemable for you?

    As always, this is a consumer-driven industry. Yes, it means that it keeps Salman and his shit films around but it also means that you get films like Anarkali of Arrah and The Lunchbox and Bahubali. The Indian industry is exploding with options and people are exercising their right to use those options. I, like Karthik, too do get a lot of pleasure when a film I thought was badly made tanks. I work hard for my money. Why shouldn’t filmmakers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • People are allowed to like whatever they want and watch whatever they want of course. A hit movie doesn’t automatically make it a good product and frankly neither do professional Indian reviewers guarantee a good product as they all seem very compromised and most of them are unreadable. I personally don’t even find reviews from people I know to be too helpful because I know I tend to have different taste than they do. So I watch if I really love a promo or love one of the actors or just happen to have a free weekend and in that case will just watch whatever happens to be playing at the time just as an outing.
      However, there seems to be a feeling developing in the masses where it’s like if you don’t fall into line with the majority, there is downright outrage over it. HOW DARE YOU NOT HATE THIS AS MUCH AS YOU SHOULD!! People seem to go crazy over it trying to convince you how wrong you are and even when they are in the majority they are still unhappy if a few people like something they don’t. There is no room for debate left especially on social media. Everything is exaggerated and overdone. Even film reviewers try to be as nasty and viral as possible to get their reviews to trend and get more hits. What once would have been a mediocre review for a film but still a thoughtful and engaging one turns into a battle to see who can come up with the funniest insults, the most crazy take, the most insulting – anything to try to get attention that a more nuanced review won’t get. Frankly sometimes the reviews are not even read. People scroll down to the number of stars. Bet you a zero star review will be trending shorty. There’s no incentive for any normalcy because there’s no profit in that. Anything they like is over-exaggerated and anything they dislike is equally trumped up and neither version is usually accurate. It’s created a grotesque environment.
      Btw, BW might be offering choices in movies like Anarkali of Aarah or whatever but industries do not sustain on little movies like that. It’s the big tentpoles that run an industry and stardom is a big part of that. Otherwise, BW will become like European movies – little watched and heard of and consumed by Hollywood. There’s a reason why someone like SRK is spending huge amounts to modernize and producing big scale movies with new tech. It may not work out and the risks are huge and expensive but eventually people will wander away if only Toilets and Lipstick in Burkha types are available. One Bahubali series can easily be a fluke (that too is not BW anyway).

      Liked by 1 person

      • You forgot Salman. Look at the all new tech and money he’s bought in too. 😁

        Didn’t indian film begin with and sustain all these years thanks to smaller filmmakers making non-humongous budget films?

        Anyone who thinks SRK is leading the charge in indian films or even just bollywood in tech is deliberately misrepresentating the figures. Anyone that wants to believe he’s the best thing to happen since sliced bread can continue to believe that but ultimately, he isn’t delivering anything to the Indian audiences. He can continue to make films for NRIs and dedicated SRK fans all he wants. But if he wants to be loved by the Bollywood audience within India, he’s got to change his game.

        He can always take his groundbreaking tech and enormous money and make a film outside of Bollywood and outside of India too. Nobody is missing him anyway and maybe he should just show us what exactly is it that we’d lose if we don’t have him making a dilwale or a chennai express or a JHMS released here. He really should show us what is it that we’re missing by leaving bollywood and working in any other industry. Anywhere in the world. Just to prove his worth.

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      • Just jumping in to say that one of the comments I got on my Toilet review, which really surprised me, was anger at me for not liking it, I was clearly wrong, since the majority of the reviewers did like it. Which was such a strange argument to me, why should I care what the majority of the reviewers said? That doesn’t mean I’m “wrong”, film reviewing is subjective. But I guess it isn’t any more, you are all supposed to agree with everyone else, and if you are the outlier, you are “wrong”.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Asmita, I am asking you this after reading an ‘anonymous’ post.

      I have red in forums that Bahubali has huge impact on north Indian Hindu psychology. They seem to be sick of Amir’s PK movie ridiculing Hindu gods, Sharukh’s Chennai Express, Salman’s killing of Bishnoi deers….etc….in general seeing Khans as an extension of Pakistan. So north Indians see Bahubali as revival of Ancient Hindu greatness in movies and so on. There will be more Hindi films in future that won’t be shy of showing Hindu culture and traditions.

      Being in Hindi heartland, aap kya kehte ho?

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      • Don’t be misled by the nationalist propaganda. Barring those that want to suck up to the right wing Hindu political groups, nobody in the Hindi heartland has ever seen or can ever see the Khans or any of the other non-Hindu Indian actors in any of our industries as belonging to any country other than India.

        Bahubali is a raja-rani story. NOT a hindu raja and hindu rani story. And it isn’t set in ANCIENT India either. It’s close to the 17th C because remember how they had a sheikh travel to there? They didn’t exist in antiquity. They came into existence during the medieval times. So if one were dating Bahubali, they’d probably find that the Pindari too were muslim/former mughal soldiers that raided Mughal owned lands.

        It’s just like how Jodha Akbar was a raja rani story NOT born-muslim raja with a hindu rani and a religion he founded story! That’s rubbish. Don’t fall for the crap.

        The hindi heartland is synonymous with Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb which is more secular than the rule of the Nizams down south. What part of hindi cinema you think has shied away from showing Hindu culture and traditions exactly?? Would it be the Rakhi songs or the wedding scenes or the rakhi songs or the havans and poojas and depiction of gods and goddesses or the ganpati, diwali, govinda, holi, durgapuja celebrations?? Where exactly is the hindu element missing from our films?? If anything, Muslim, Sikh, buddhist, jain, parsi and christian traditions and cultures are misrepresented and underrepresented in Indian cinema.

        And those weren’t bishnoi deer that Salman killed. The bucks are a protected species under the law. The bishnois just jumped on the fame wagon.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The biggest reason for this post is that the box office in America this week for Indian films is so low that it is abnormal. This isn’t just “people who think they might like this kind of film are seeing it and everyone else is staying away”, this is “no one is taking a risk on any movie at all”. And there is such a variety of films out this week! Baadshaho, Simran, Poster Boys, Arjun Reddy is still running, surely there is something there that would be for everybody? And yet, no one is watching anything. And I am trying to figure out why.

      a) like I said, it’s important to read a good reviewer. And it’s not the only way to make a decision, just that if you are making a decision based on a review, make sure it is a good review from a reviewer you know and trust. It’s also totally fine to say “nice poster, heard the song on the radio, might as well check it out”. What worries me is what Niki was describing from her mother, going to see Arjun Reddy based on reviews without even reading the full review, or looking at the trailer or poster to realize this really is not a film for her.

      b) Yes, this is EXACTLY my point! It’s great to decide to see a film because someone who actually knows you recommends it to you. Or because you read a full review and know it is the kind of film you would enjoy. But not every film is for everyone. A reviewer, or someone you know, may hate a film you would love. And vice versa. What I am worried about is if we are getting more towards the “everyone has to love it or no one should bother” point of things. Because that is a very rare film, that everyone will love. And absolutely you can take into account all sorts of variables when making a decision on what to watch. That is a good thing. Just don’t look at only one variable and always look to the bad. If you get a bad whatsapp review, but a good review in person. Or really like the trailer. It might mean you should still give the movie a chance and make up your own mind.

      c) All hail Nivin Pauly’s beard! Here’s the flipside of that. Malayalam films are trying to break into the national market, but are struggling because no one is giving them a chance in theaters. They are exactly the kind of movie that you would stumble on because the poster looked cool and you thought you might as well try it out. It’s hard for the filmmakers to justify their arguments that they need subtitles on their films, they need a promotion and a national release and so on, when no one is taking that first step and trying something new.

      And you should check out my Tubelight review! It literally starts “read this spoiler review instead of seeing the movie”. That was the rare film that was so bad, I wasn’t just giving my subjective opinion, I actually tried to stop people from seeing it. Munna Michael, Mubarakan, it was possible to have a fun filmgoing experience with those films. Because I did! I went with a friend, we laughed the whole time, it was great. Tubelight, that was a never ending slog of misery. But it’s a rare film that is so incredibly bad there is no one in the world who could possibly enjoy it. Just like it is a rare film that is so incredibly good everyone will enjoy it.

      Finally, for the exploding with options, exactly! That’s what worries me this week. People are not exercising their right to those options, they are abstaining altogether. There is so much out there right now, so many many options, and no one is trying any of them.

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 11:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Question: Are these BO figures extraordinarily bad for this time of the year? What’s the highest and lowest they’ve been lets say in the last decade and what films were in theatres at the time? Which film have you watched more than once in theatres in the last year which wasn’t a big hit?

        Of course, there’s always the “last summer weekend” thing. Maybe people just arent away for the weekend?

        As for Malyalam films, they need to first break into the hindi move channels on tv before they can think of getting released in theatres.

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        • I was curious so I looked it up. And yes, they are bad! This time last year Pink was still running and Baar Baar had just opened. Pink’s “solid word of mouth” figures for a later week were much much better than Arjun Reddy’s now, for instance. And Baar Baar’s “terrible movie, but decent songs” opening was much better than Baadshaho’s. They weren’t good, but they looked like people were at least giving them a chance before making a decision.

          On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 7:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • $4,000-$5,000 per screen versus $1,000. It’s really dramatic.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 7:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • $6,000. $6,000-$8,000 is what a Khan film opened at, $4,000 was a decent opening for a major release (like Baar Baar with all the promotions and so on). And then Pink and Neerja in later weeks as the word of mouth built, they were taking in like $7,000-$8,000 per screen in week two, and a solid $4,000 even in later weeks. That’s what I meant about “good” word of mouth, you could look at those figures and see a solid opening as people gave it a chance, and then an earned increase as the word slowly spread. Queen, Tanu Weds Manu, all those films that you want to succeed and do better, were. But only if they got a chance opening weekend, for people to actually see them and tell other people about them.

            Now, if I am seeing figures this low in opening weeks and then dropping even lower later, it means only a few people are giving them a chance at all, and then warning everyone away.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 7:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But are people being warned away from genuinely good films? Because if people are being warned away from bad and below average films then it’s the film’s fault for being bad, isn’t it?

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          • I think they are. Shubh Mangal saavdhan was a legitimately good film, and it never got the box office it should have. Simran looks like it is getting so-so reactions, but not “less than $2,000 opening weekend” reactions. It should be higher than that. I’m not talking the Khan releases or the big budget stuff, but the smaller decent films seem to be caught up in the same whirlpool that’s dragging down the bigger stuff.

            And yes, part of this is the fault of the big budget stuff. If people are disappointed in the huge heavily promoted film, then that disappointment will filter down to the smaller films. But that’s not really fair, to blame a small film because you didn’t like a big film.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 7:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • To be fair, i think at this point we need to separate the khans into Amir and the others. Amir Khan has given us the biggest Indian global hit in recent times. So it’s basically just Salman and Srk who are tanking from the former trio.

            I like to think the content of the films is also a factor that should be accounted for in what we’re discussing. Last year this time, the US BO had Neerja and Pink dominating as you say. Neerja had the advantage of nationalism and real life heroism and a case that a lot of Indians settled in the US might have remembered. Pink had courtroom drama and Amitabh Bachchan who is a pan national star. On the other hand, there is definitely some extreme behaviour being seen at BO.

            I guess you’d need to do a year by year lowest BO collection post too (specifically the American BO) to get at the real reasons. It may be content, time of the year in terms of local holiday traditions, competing entertainment options, holiday season for Indians who may be heading home for diwali, etc and not just word of mouth and super misleading promotions. You’ve already mentioned ticket pricing is funky.

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          • I wonder if some of it is because of recovery from multiple hurricanes and earthquakes (in Mexico, which affects lots of people here) depressing going-out and spending-money type activities in general. Not to mention the political craziness which is making everyone–but particularly minority communities–a bit more financially uncertain.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Could be. But this low box office also seems to be consistent globally, so not tied to weather or holiday weekends or anything else that would have an effect.

            On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 11:12 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I’m very curious about Newton. It seemed just other decent movie which will pass almost unnoticed in BO, but in last two days I’ve read so many good reviews and recommendations, that maybe it will make some money. Trailer looks good, story and actors are great, let’s see how much a good word of mouth will do for this movie.

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          • Looks like it’s not even playing near me, so I won’t be able to tell you. Hopefully someone who does have it playing nearby will give us a report!

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 4:32 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. In Roja, 1 hour and 41 minutes in, what is written in the dust?

    Margaret, it is read as belows…the same line the hero sings in the song..

    kaadal rojave enge nee enge
    Kanneer vazhiyudhadi kanne

    Means …..oh my beloved Roja, my eyes are filled with tears because of my love for you….

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  8. M, the shark CGI in Chatrapathi wasn’t great, I agree. But it was made in 2005 and also not main selling point of movie. I can’t say it is a terrible movie. It was good for Telugu masses, who are the real ticket buyers.

    Especially I don’t agree with your “its audience’s fault” theory. I am a professional working on fee-for-work basis. I have to deliver satisfactory service so that a client pays me. If I ask him to pay me for ****** work just because I work 80 hours a week, he would laugh at me. Same with movie makers….if Rajamouli takes me back in time with Bahubali 3, I am again willing to see it several times and part with money.

    My theory……if there are no good movies, then people entertain themselves with TV, internet, social media etc which are cheaper. Movie makers have to provide value (entertainment) for money. That is simple economics. There is no question of maker-viewer loyalty either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like Chatrapathi, but like you said, it was made in 2005, the technology and experience wasn’t there. But it only gets there when people give it a chance.

      To take your fee for work example, yes they shouldn’t pay you if you do bad work. But on the other hand, they shouldn’t refuse to pay you if your work isn’t the best most amazing perfect work in the world. I don’t know what your job is, but let’s say you are a house painter. If you forget to paint one of the walls, then you shouldn’t get paid. But if you paint all the walls in the color that was picked out and do a decent job, they shouldn’t complain just because it doesn’t look like the Sistine Chapel. That’s what I am wondering if we are trending towards. it has to be the most amazing perfect once in a lifetime Sistine Chapel like film, or else no one will pay anything at all.

      On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 6:14 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Yea, I’m with Siva on the give it a chance thing. We shouldn’t have to give bad films a chance. If I use the example you used, it would be something like- the painter fucks up the paint job in the first room he did but I should not only pay him in full for that, I should also let him paint the rest of the house.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m afraid I might be getting a little obsessed with BO numbers since Bollywood press has decided NOT to give us accurate analyses of the shape our industry in is. So, naturally, I compiled some data. This time with FOOTFALL figures which I suppose tell us more than ticket sales figures.

    https://mukhprishth.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/the-khans-and-footfalls-what-the-numbers-tell-us-about-bo-pull-of-our-big-3/

    Here are the results:

    Decade averages AAMIR: (4 films)
    Avg Screens/Film: 3512
    AvgFF/Film: 2,81,99,000
    Avg FF/Screen: 8028
    Decade high: 9739 FF/ screen: PK
    Decade low: 4292 FF/ screen: Talaash

    Salman Khan Decade averages: (11 Films)
    Avg Screens/Film: 3,209
    AvgFF/Film: 2,24,92,090
    Avg FF/Screen: 7009
    Decade high: 13203 FF/ screen: Dabangg
    Decade low: 3891 FF/ screen: Jai Ho

    SRK Decade averages: (9 films)
    Avg Screens/Film: 2783
    AvgFF/Film: 1,44,77,333
    Avg FF/Screen: 5202
    Decade high: 7007 FF/ screen: Chennai Express
    Decade low: 2455 FF/ screen: Fan

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    • What jumps out at me is the SRK is the only one shorting on the screens. Which either means he knows his films won’t be as popular and thus isn’t giving them as wide a release, or the distributors know he isn’t as popular (despite the hype) and therefore aren’t giving him as many screens.

      On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 3:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • See, i see the same figures and see that he has a consistent 40% or more overseas earning. So, my hunch is he’s deliberately keeping aside a chunk of his overall screen count to include overseas BO too. So he isn’t too bothered by domestic counts as much as a salman would for whom a wide, wider release is crucial almost

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        • And this gets into a bigger topic which I may need to do in a video, the difference in what Shahrukh means to the overseas audience versus the domestic audience.

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          • Perhaps the two are related? Or, put it another way, SRK gives something that the overseas audience desperately needs, and once he saw us responding to that, he kept doing the same thing and realized he could get more response from overseas than at home.

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          • That’s what i mean when I say he should look at making a film exclusively for his overseas audience instead of making a mash that has no value for the Indian audience. See, I say this again, if he doesn’t click domestically, he will lose market share. there’s no coming back from that. After a while, he isn’t making films with a specific audience in mind, he is appealing to no one.

            Of course, his lack of international/NRI-specific projects also means he knows he isnt that strong overseas that he would be able to sell a non-Bollywood film outside India.

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          • Or possibly he is trying to form a new audience, overseas desi. So not a straight up cross over film, but a film just for desis overseas. Which is essentially the market he is already forming, the crazy white people like me are a much smaller market share, it’s mostly the NRIs. And it’s clearly a large enough market, since Bahubali made it to number 3 in the American market, and that really wasn’t a cross over film, at least not outside of the desi audience, although it crossed over through out the desi audience, that is, all generations and all language groups and all class backgrounds.

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 8:39 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • He’s had the overseas audience since the mid-90s so it isn’t something new that he’s doing. It’s just that he seems to be no longer too concerned with domestic BO. Which is probably because he is doing OK. There are two flops in the decade but both were essentially SRK’s narcissism being indulged. So he learnt the lesson and the next films picked up what was the healthy BO count for him. For the decade. Not extraordinary. It is still in decline but it is still healthy. The numbers for this year would be really interesting.

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          • I’ll be really curious what he ends up doing after the Dwarf movie. And also, how he promotes the Dwarf movie. He’s had this string of funky odd art movies that are promoted as mainstream films that they really aren’t. So I could see him either promoting the Dwarf film honestly (like Dear Zindagi was promoted) so the audience is less angry. Or picking a straight up entertainer after the Dwarf film so the promotions will be in line with the actual film.

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 9:52 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • The dwarf film is going to get compared to the kamal hasan classic both in the north and especially in the south. Remember, the country has just been on a journey with Peter Dinklage through GoT and he has immense respect and a great following in urban, young India.

            Both standards are very high. I know you don’t follow GoT but the public does. As always, a lot will depend on what the film is actually like. If it’s a great story and the acting is decent, word of mouth will get people to the theatres mostly because the public os starved of a SRK blockbuster WHILE they’re used to Aamir bringing new concepts and great films every year.

            If it’s a bad film, no amount of promotion will help. At this point, he shouldn’t even be promoting anything. His name should ne enough.

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          • I like that idea, no promotions at all. Just put the trailer and songs out on his twitter, and let it go at that. At this point it feels like promotions are only lowering his status, making him too available

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Exactly!!

            Ideally, what I would want for the entire industry, is to do what the south does even today or go back to what they were doing before fancy managers took over.

            What I would love to see again is:

            1) return of the muhurat shot that got covered as an event.
            2) trailer launch with the main leads, producers and director which is the main and only press junket in the promotional tour. After this trailers go on air and in theatres.
            3) audio launch with the stars and music director. Because someone needs to remind bollywood that they come from a strong film music tradition. All this remixing and recycling is just plain LAZY and disrespectful to music directors.
            4) A Pre-launch event where everyone involved in the film shows up and takes the stage to give speeches. Every actor in the film needs to show their commitment to it. Not just the main dude or dudette.

            That’s it. No reality and comedy show appearances by anyone involved in the film. They can do that independent of films. It’s exploitative both ways and sometimes you can see the disdain in both the stars and the hosts.

            Separate social accounts for the film should be there and all promotional material must originate from there. So if SRK must promote on social, he can retweet from it which looks more organic and less desperate.

            Cut down the promotional budget and commitments for the stars.

            Right now, people watch films based on the actor’s names. Rajkummar Rao? Gotta watch! Nawazuddin? MUST watch? kangana, Swara, Vidya? Tickets get pre booked. And they do the very bare minimum in terms of promotion.

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          • Yes! And, thanks to my box office-through-the-ages post, I can confirm that this kind of smaller release with minimal promotion actually brought in more money than what they are doing today. Yes, there’s more competition today too, with satellite TV and streaming, but the argument that you have to spend money make money doesn’t make any sense.

            Especially when the bigger stars can make news just by walking out of their house. Why set up a whole coordinated event when you get the exact same amount of coverage by just walking out your front door, saying “well, I have a movie coming out” and walking back inside again?

            Really feels like it gets back to the whole larger issue of the non-creators exploding within the industry. PR flacks, business managers, casting directors, all these jobs that used to just be done by one person who learned through apprenticeship and could see the big picture because they were doing everything, and now are done by 20 people with fresh overseas degrees in stuff like “marketing”.

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 12:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • What’s worse is that the actual marketing people, the ones with the clever ideas, are nowhere near the industry.

            What are the stars thinking anyway? Do they think a Salman movie trailer appears on tv and theatres and there are no other promotions that people would not know that a salman film was coming out??

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          • The one I remember where it worked really well was Student of the Year. But that was a very particular situation, the stars were nobodies and the promo tour was partly to introduce them to the world. Plus, they were going after a specific market (young people) and they formatted the public appearances for that market.

            There’s no reason a film that already has a big name involved, and is going after a wide range of audience, should have this kind of promotion. Heck, even Student of the Year probably doesn’t need that kind of promotions any more, you could market in the same way just using the internet, try to promote it to young groups and do a couple of targeted interviews for the stars and you’d get the same kind of talk going.

            On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 12:25 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Of course a bunch of newbies need promotion. But if there are standards in place and a structure and everyone follows the same structure, the media and the public know what to look out for. This entire out-of-the-box-thinking thing messed up the original traditions. Which were nice.

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