The holidays (Christmas, Salman’s birthday, Anushka’s wedding) are finally over and people are doing newsworthy things again.
Salman is Coming!
First and most and excitingly, Salman might be coming to a venue near you! He is planning to take his Dabangg tour around the world, instead of just sort of dabbling with one night shows in places that are a simple plane ride away from Bombay. So, in June and July 2018, you might be able to see Salman LIVE!
Devdas is Back!
Well, it’s been almost 10 years since the last one, time for another Devdas. I wasn’t that interested in this one based on the cast so much, Richa Chaddha as Chandramukhi and Aditi as Paro and Rahul Bhatt as Dev, but the director is interesting! Sudhir Mishra, who did Chameli and Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi among others, so we know he can sensitively handle both sex workers and love triangles. He also has a slightly new twist to the story, supposedly planning to set it in the world of politics, which seems like a nice fit for the characters (Paro marrying a boring older politician, Chandramukhi being part of dirty politics that disgusts Dev, and so on and so on).
Aditi could make a really great Paro, she played a lot of those similar tones in Kaatru Veliyidai. Richa Chaddha I don’t know as well, but I’ve heard good things, so I will give her a chance with Chandramukhi. Rahul Bhat, I don’t know AT ALL. Looks like he was the fiance in Fitoor, I barely remember him in that, and he is also a TV guy. Is he secretly awesome and I should be excited about this casting? Tell me, if so!
Biwi No. 1 Remake Not Happening
This is just a follow up, there were rumors that Varun was making Biwi No.1 which we all thought was a terrible idea. Thank goodness, that’s not happening after all. It was just rumors, David Dhawan has squelched them.
Twitter is Weird
The Twitter trends of 2017 have started coming out. And the big headline thing that I find really interesting is that Raees was the most talked about. Here’s the whole list for reference:
Now, here’s the thing, Tiger Zinda Hai is a hit. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Golmaal Again and Judwaa 2 were hits too. But 6 out of the 10 most talked about films were major major flops, not hits. And not even on this list is Bahubali, Dangal, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, and plenty of other successful films.
This list is pointing to a larger issue. People would rather talk about things than experience them. Everyone has an opinion on Raees, few people saw it. Everyone was talking about Kaabil, no one actually wanted to watch it. And so on and so on. And on the other hand, everyone went to see Dangal, no one talked about it. The enjoyment gathered from talking is separate from and unrelated to the actual experience of the film.
Especially when there is some perceived social standing or statement that can be made from your opinion on the film beyond just personal taste. Having an opinion on the Salman and Shahrukh is about a whole bunch of things unrelated to their film performances. Tweets about Raees or Tubelight or Tiger or JHMS aren’t about those 4 movies, they are about religion and politics and gender issues and globalization and class and caste and urban versus rural and all sorts of other things. If you want to prove your membership in a certain community, you can do it by defending or condemning a particular film/Star. On twitter, around the dinner table, at the lunch table at work, in the comment section of a website, in an editorial in the newspaper, or in your political speech. It’s the same as the street gangs in America that all wear the same colors, or football fans all saying the same cheers, it’s about feeling like you belong to a certain “tribe” because you are all repeating the same talking points. And you are all different from your other, “enemy”, tribe and their unanimous talking points.
In India, more than most other places, film has been chosen as the battleground to prove membership in a community of opinion. Films have always been political in India, more than in other places, but it used to be that it felt like the films were leading the conversation, they were taking risks and being censored for it, or falling in line with the government and being rewarded. Now, somehow, they have lost the ability to even take part in the conversation. The 4th most talked about film on the list is Padmavati, which hasn’t even come out! Everyone is talking “around” the films more than “about” them, if that makes sense. And if a member of the film community dares to make a statement for themselves about how they feel about all of this, the same statement that any regular person can make on their twitter account, they are vilified for it, as though they do not have the right to join a conversation that is about them!
The big thing that you can see from this list is that “twitter buzz” does not help the film industry. It does not lead to box office. There is no advantage to starting a trend or planting fake news or any of that for them. All publicity is NOT good publicity. And the real fans (“real” meaning willing to actually buy a ticket) are not the ones having these twitter conversations, because if that were the case, the twitter record would line up more closely with the ticket figures. The majority of the conversations are being had by people who did not buy a ticket and see the movie, don’t care about the movie itself, but only care about saying the right thing according to their community as loudly and frequently as possible.