News Round-Up: Salman is Coming to America, Devdas is Coming Back, Twitter Makes NO SENSE

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!

Image result for rahul bhat daasdev

 

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:

Shah Rukh Khan's Raees beats Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai2

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!

Image result for aamir khan intolerance row

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.

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9 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Salman is Coming to America, Devdas is Coming Back, Twitter Makes NO SENSE

    • I’ve had the same conversations, many times, in the real world as well. Where I start to realize I am just hearing talking points being repeated without an awareness of what they are saying, just saying it to signal belonging in a certain community.

      On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 11:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. Well said. The analogy of films playing the same role as sport, creating tribal associations and heroes to worship, has often struck me. The media then reinforces it with the language it uses, one film ‘beats’ another at the box office because it earns a crore more, or a star ‘loses’ to another for whatever lame reason ( Twitter hits , for example).

    And Twitter brings me to despair. It is contributing in a big way to the death of conversation, debate and considered opinion. Blah!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Regarding Twitter, part of the problem is marketers focusing on buzz rather than ticket sales. There are ways to drive people to the box office, for example, have a Twitter quiz that leads people to a place where they can buy tickets online. But people don’t know how to do their jobs. Yes, Twitter is full of people virtue signaling in one way or the other but also if you are a good communicator you understand how to harness the medium to drive your sales. I get the feeling movie marketers aren’t all that sophisticated.

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    • There were some successful twitter campaigns for films this year, but interestingly they are not the films listed here. Ittefaq, for instance, had a really good idea of getting major stars to tweet about not spoiling the ending. Which made you want to watch it, and stopped people from spoiling the ending. Rustom had a similar thing, Akshay promoted it by getting his movie star friends to take turns tweeting countdowns, #10daystoRustom #9daystoRustom etc. etc. Which got people focused on the release date and wanting to see it opening night. But they were both just little baby trends, not massive out of control India dominating trends. That’s what’s so odd, this feeling that the filmmakers aren’t in control of their own films any more, some outside group has swooped in and taken over the conversation and they can’t take it back, it’s way way beyond anything they can control.

      On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 3:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I just reread my response, and I sound terribly bossy and superior! What I should have said was:

      You are right! I never thought about that before. Now that you have got me thinking about it, there were a few films this year that had good twitter campaigns, because they controlled them, like you are describing. Started by the filmmakers/studio just a month before the release with one small talking point reflected in a hashtag. They may not have been the top trends, but they were the most effective ones in actually getting people to buy tickets.

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  3. Hi I am a new reader of this blog and got to know about it through your bahubali analysis. Quite detailed ones which are fascinating to read l, the ideas you thought were something which rajamouli would also have not thought like fire vs water etc.
    Regarding the current topic I feel wkkb was the best marketing strategy any movie has till now.

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    • Yes, #WKKB was a brilliant strategy. Kept the focus on the content of the film, not discussion around the film. Gave people a reason to buy tickets and come to theaters. And was short and memorable.

      And thank you for commenting!

      Like

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