There’s been a lot of talk about “pan-Indian films” lately, based on the success of RRR and KGF: Chapter 2, films that were released in Hindi as well as their original languages – Telugu and Kannada respectively. The record numbers of these South films have changed the perception that Bollywood is the big daddy of cinema in India. Both RRR and KGF: Chapter 2 unapologetically aim to entertain; both also include Bollywood actors in their cast – Alia Bhatt co-stars in RRR, Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon in KGF 2. Audiences have embraced the masala content of these films and that’s not something to celebrate, critically acclaimed actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui says.
After over two years of delayed films and locked theatres, Nawazuddin’s hope was that movie buffs would emerge from the pandemic with a refined taste for cinema based on the quality of international content available on streaming platforms. “I felt the audience will mature after the pandemic and lockdown because they would have seen good international cinema. Change has come but it’s for the worse,” the Sacred Games star told NDTV.
The box office-destroying ticket sales of KGF: Chapter 2 and RRR prove otherwise. Just the Hindi version of KGF 2, starring Yash, has collected over Rs 343 crore; the film’s numbers have crossed the collections of massive Bollywood blockbusters like Aamir Khan’s PK, Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanju and Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai. After five weeks, RRR, starring Ram Charan and Jr NTR, continues to grow and celebrated Rs 1,000 crore overall recently. The Hindi version of the film has crossed Rs 262 crore.
In contrast, Shahid Kapoor’s COVID-delayed Jersey has bombed at the box office, collecting only Rs 15.5 crore in four days.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui reminded us that box office performance should not be conflated with the merits of a film. “When a film does well everyone joins in and praises it even more, if a film doesn’t collect good money people criticize it more,” he said, adding that a hit Hindi film could reset the status quo: “This is like fashion, now if a Bollywood film becomes a big hit then all these talks will change. I think this is just a trend.”
Among potential Bollywood hits are two big releases coming up this year – Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha and Brahmastra, starring Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui himself stars in a masala entertainer that released today, Heropanti 2 with Tiger Shroff, “Yes, I have also done a commercial film. Hope people go and watch this one also and we rake in lots of money,” he said.