And now we reach the era that the majority of us are actually aware of! Yaaaaay! Which is also why this is the shortest post, because I didn’t feel the need to give nearly as much background. Feel free to take off in the comments with your on details for these films, if you want.
It’s Aditya Chopra’s birthday today, but I don’t want to make a big fuss, because it seems like he isn’t the kind of guy who likes a big fuss. With that in mind, I will celebrate by letting his work speak for itself. And I will do 28 reasons, one for every year since he started working in film. The reverse of last year, when I did 18 reasons, one for each year he was in age. (This is an updated and reposted post from last year)
Well, everyone has decided that the duldrums of February is the time to promote their films, and the duldrums of March is the time to release them. It’s an interesting sign of the state of the industry that I find the piddling little early spring releases much more interesting than the big deal winter ones.
I was very very nervous about how this movie would work, but it totally worked! I was afraid it was going to be a big Aditya Chopra movie taking the industry in another new direction where I didn’t want it to go. But turns out, it’s just a little Aditya Chopra movie, a nice harmless little thing that just happens to be made really really well.
Thank goodness, Aditya Chopra is still capable of running his life and business! As trailer after trailer came out for Befikre, I kept thinking “really, Adi? You are betting the farm on this….thing?” But nope! He isn’t betting the farm, he is just betting, like, that one cow that doesn’t give very good milk any more.
Feel free to disagree! But my reaction, after watching it, is that it is trying so hard to be “different” from the regular Indian films, that it ended up being exactly the same as a million other western films. Most obviously the French movie Love Me If You Dare (I haven’t seen it, but it was fairly successful and widely reviewed and talked about when it first came out).
I think, like myself, the world at large has gotten tired of no new SRK news, now that Fan promotions and IPL are over. So, since he isn’t poking his head out of doors, we are all scavenging around for whatever little scraps may be lying (laying?) around outside.
Data, right? That’s the plural and datum is the singular? And since I am going to be talking about several separate quotes, I want “data”.
It’s Aditya Chopra’s birthday and I almost missed it! Just like he probably prefers. Definitely not a guy who likes to be the center of attention. With that in mind, I will celebrate by letting his work speak for itself.
In one of my reviews of Fan, I mentioned that I couldn’t believe with the director or the writer listed in the credits were the people who really come up with the ideas, because they were just workmanlike Yash Raj studio directors, full of rom-coms and bright colors and songs and happiness. But today an interview came out with Maneesh Sharma, and turns out, it was all him after all! And also, I may be a little bit in love.
Notice how I put the really exciting picture at the top so we would remember why this really matters?
So, currently, the highest Shahrukh movie on the all time gross list for India is number 5. NUMBER 5!!! The shame of it! Ahead of him is PK, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Bahubali, and Dhoom 3. The whole list is here on wikipedia.
Now, you know what all these films have in common? They are all from the past 5 years. And the film at the top is usually from within the past 2 years. In America, we are used to that, the top grossers are always fairly recent, but in India that wasn’t always the case. Mother India set a box office record in 1957 that stayed in place for 3 years until Mughal-E-Azam surpassed it in 1960. Mughal-E-Azam held the record until Sholay beat it in 1975. Sholay held the record until Hum Aapke Hain Koun came along in 1994. Hum Aapke Hain Koun was toppled quickly by DDLJ in 1995. Then DDLJ lost it’s crown to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. That record held until 2001 when it was beaten by both Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Gadar held the record until 3 Idiots in 2009, at which point everyone breathed a sigh of release because they could start pretending Gadar never happened (very very problematic messages in that film). And then 3 Idiots held the record for a long time, by a big big margin, until it was finally beaten by Chennai Express in 2013. All Shahrukh fans cheered and celebrated and laughed in the faces of their Aamir-fan friends, or at least that’s what I did. Truly, it was a magical time!
(Shahrukh, take a bow! You earned it!)
And then about 2 months later, Dhoom 3 came out and Aamir was on top again. It stayed up there for a year, until PK came out, and then Aamir had the two top spots. PK is still up there, but Bajrangi Bhaijaan did really well this summer and came close to beating it. And Bahubali, of course, is a huge deal since it is the only non-Hindi film up there (although it was distributed by a Bombay based production house, Dharma, which is very important in terms of overseas awareness and national reach in India).
So, on the micro-level, this just means we all need to buy as many tickets for Dilwale as humanly possible in order to return Shahrukh to his rightful ranking. I don’t care if you are actually seeing Star Wars, you buy your ticket for Dilwale!!!
But on a macro-level, in terms of global trends, economics, and the future of the industry, what does all of this mean and where does it come from?