Decoding the Epic Tragedy of Rangoon and Bollywood

Another week, another film comes and goes. Yes, I wrote that in the most unenthusiastic way possible....but what else can one do?

This week saw the release of Commando 2. A sequel to a film that released four years ago, with a newcomer at the time, and the film received a Below Average verdict. The question then is, who's idea was it to make a sequel? I mean, that's bad enough, but then you also have the fact that they decided to randomly include a remake of a 10-year-old hit song from Akshay Kumar's film Bhool Bhulaiyaa, with the song Hare Ram Hare Krishna.

What exactly is the connection between the two films, Commando 2 and Bhool Bhulaiyaa?? Why does that film's song randomly need to be remade into a newer version for this specific film, Commando 2? Neither is the main lead the same, neither is the director the same, neither is there any sort of franchise. What's the connection? Well....your guess is as good as mine!

It was for these reasons that I couldn't muster the energy or courage to write my box office prediction for Commando 2. Oh, an Arbaaz Khan film released as well, named Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, which even somehow managed a release overseas....the less said, the better!

Seriously, it almost appears as if Bollywood filmmakers are on a suicide mission. Constantly re-hashing old songs is just an example of their lack of originality, their laziness, and most importantly, their lack of knowledge as to what really works with the Indian audience.

Vishal Bhardwaj making a film with Saif, Shahid, and Kangana sounds completely okay on paper. Until you start to ruin it. I stated clearly in my prediction article that the fact that the film is a love story more than anything else was going to be the biggest problem for this film. With a backdrop of World War II, the makers had an opportunity to create something new and exciting to be witnessed on-screen. An epic sort of war film. Without even seeing the film, I have gained an understanding that what was delivered instead was just another average, routine love story.

In my prediction post last week before the release of the film, when I wrote that Rangoon would finish with lifetime collection of 30 crore net and would have a "Disaster" box office verdict, no one would seem to believe me. As a matter of fact, I had to read some insults towards me. Reality is a different ballgame though altogether, something that the distributors Viacom 18 had to realize too.

The collections of the film are absolutely pathetic, no doubt, but what had me really rub my eyes in disbelief was when I read the amount that Viacom 18 invested to buy this film.....67 crore. In a time and age when films are collecting over 300 crore net at the box office, sure, 67 crore may not seem like a whole lot. But this isn't a Khan film we are talking about. We're talking about a niche, dark film, with a director who never scores big at the box office, actors who have very inconsistent hit/flop record (Saif, Shahid, Kangana), and a February, non-holiday release period.  From a film's net box office collections, approximately half of the collection goes to the distributors. Sure, the overseas audience is generally more friendly towards this type of film, but the collections are poor overseas for this film. Let's not even get

From a film's net box office collections, approximately half of the collection goes to the distributors. Sure, the overseas audience is generally more friendly towards this type of film, but the collections are poor overseas for this film. Let's not even get to domestic collections....what were the distributors Viacom18 expecting the film to collect in India, that they decided to invest a huge 67 crore amount??

The effect on the actors will be devastating. Shahid Kapoor has hardly had a box office run ever, and things are just getting worse. His next film, Padmavati, does have support from SLB/Ranveer/Deepika, but the makers and Viacom18 are once again making a very foolish mistake. The film is said to be one of the most expensive films ever from a budget point of view, and the fact that the film is being released in a non-holiday November period is a travesty.

Kangana Ranaut will still get offers, but any sort of imagination of her being a big star comes to an end. Tanu Weds Manu Returns opened very well for the small stature of the film, and she can get credit for that and the fact that the film touched the 150 crore net mark in India, but then she's had a bunch of flops before and after that film. Even Queen started off with a very poor 1 crore opening!

Saif Ali Khan, unfortunately, is in complete done-and-dusted, pack-up mode. The problem here is this: Saif Ali Khan as a solo star excelled and clicked with the audience in two types of films: in urban rom-coms (Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, Love Aaj Kal, etc) and the Race series. With the former, he is now too old to play those roles. In his last urban rom-com box office Hit Cocktail, many felt that Deepika was the film's showstealer, whereas Saif appeared too old for his role. Saif could still continue the Race series of films as he could still pull that role off, but there have been hot rumors lately of Salman Khan joining the series, likely replacing Saif. Saif does have a film next titled Chef, with the director of Airlift, but the title of the film itself doesn't seem like it would hold much appeal for the audience around India.

As for Vishal Bhardwaj, no distributor will ever invest huge money in his film....AGAIN. He needs to stick to small-budget films to appeal to his very, very, niche audience in India.

Footfalls will increase when filmmakers realize more what needs to be made. Directors such as Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar are amongst the biggest names due to their series of huge blockbuster films (DDLJ, KKHH, Mohabattein, K3G) and the two directors are still relevant today in a big way. It can be seen by the fact that their name as a director adds huge value to a film, enabling a double-digit opening for the film. With that being said, they should be the ones in charge of pushing the envelope and creating big budget, newer cinema instead of sticking to just urban rom-coms. They need to be the ones creating films with new concepts. If these big directors are unable to push the envelope, how are the others going to? To Karan Johar's credit, he did direct an excellent film with a newer/different story in the form of My Name is Khan, which perhaps the Indian audience wasn't ready for at that time. With that being said, he needs to make another type of film like that, and this time, with more appeal for the audience in smaller centres. Risks need to be taken to encourage the Indian audience to watch different type of cinema with newer concepts.

Karan Johar in particular has been unable to realize his talent as a producer. For the last 10 years or so, Dharma Productions has been constantly churning out urban rom-coms rather than having All-India universally appealing blockbuster films. Many of these urban rom-coms have been profitable, sure, but they also carry a Hollywood wanna-be style vibe that frustrates the audience and carry zero appeal for the audience at single screen/smaller centres. This is coming from arguably the second biggest Bollywood production house, right behind Yash Raj Films.

Rajkumar Hirani is obviously the major director who actually knows how to cater to an All-India audience, but even he could start focusing on making higher-budget films on a grand scale. A film with the excellent universal WOM that his films carry, combined with a big star in a big-budget, grand looking film (as YRF's big action event films such as Ek Tha Tiger and Dhoom 3 looked) will be when Bollywood will realize its true potential for the peak of footfalls.

One thing I would also like to point out is that today's generation comes across as a little less charismatic than those in the past years. Perhaps it's because many of these actors don't have huge physiques and are typically seen in multiplex films where they play the role of a city boy. They rarely play larger-than-life roles, which results in them having little-to-none appeal for the audience in smaller centres and single screens.

In conclusion, these are the topics that I wanted to bring attention to when it comes to the current state of Bollywood and declining footfalls. Everything is in the hands of the filmmakers and actors!

The article has been written by Bobby Sidhu who is a box office analyst from Canada. You can follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/BobbyS_BO

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Bollywood Arena. If you also want to write for us, send your articles on [email protected] 

34 comments on “Decoding the Epic Tragedy of Rangoon and Bollywood”

  1. Bhai poori geeta hi likh di
    Plz arenaji guest article walo ko bole ki Rhoda choota likha kare
    And what's the use of publishing this article
    No one cares about Rangoon
    So why u r caring ?????

  2. Actors like saif, shahid, john, vivek, kangana, rani and the likes should not be given a second change and they should just quit acting and save the audience..

  3. Stupid [email protected] Khans are blocking festival dates from last 10 yrs to make their mediocre films hit.So no star arrived from last decade except these idiots.

    2017 is disaster for Bollywood and it continues

    1. EDX release periods are created by Khans and they deliver Universal Films in past on EDX periods. After Khans every one would come into know that what will be the fate of Films which will release on EDX periods if they will not Universally accepted.

  4. Absolutely wrong cast in Rangoon which was a high budget risky project of 80 crs, Rangoon would not have been a flop movie if there was the presence of bankable box office actors like ajay devgan or akshay kumar

  5. Problem is that Bollywood industry is too much dependent on khans n akshay Kumar.the day these 4 superstars retire,tough days will start for industry. I am not taking hrithik n ajay as hrithik does very fewer movies n his last two movies opening was too below par n ajay apart from singham n golmaal series never took even decent opening, forget about its lifetime collections.

  6. @Jeet why you talking like that? Few still do have festive periods Hrithik Ajay and now am Sure Akshay will be considered more serious from now on. Its not only the Khans

  7. bollywood wale naya trend chalu kiye kaun sabse jyada old blockbuster song ko sabse ghatiya crap song bana sakta hai
    aaj kal songs me rap dal rape kar rahe hain purane ache gano ke

  8. Jaz you moron your actor is giving opening of 12-15 crs is that a measurement ? It is the final audience appreciation that matters. That is why movies like Kaabil and Shivaay are still being appreciated by the audiences. Ajay's Television rating too is quite high even if the movies were bashed by critics. If his flop can do 100 cr then what of his Hit. Hrithik too is just having an unlucky timing with his directors that too its minimal. They both are bankable superstars at their rights who have or will have lines of movies at their disposal. So tell me what sense it makes like the case of Shah Rukh movie that opens well but collection falls drastically? Listen every one of them whose few movies does not move as expected as box office is called disappointment because they are superstars not just today but they worked so hard to reach their destination. Tomorrow Shah Rukh can come up with a Universal movie that will win the hearts of audiences same with Hrithik or Ajay same time Akshay can come up with another Boss or K786 if he dare chooses to come out from Low budget movies which is his comfort zone. Forget about Tollywood Robot 2.0 we are talking about high budget movie with Pan Indian Directots. So you better respect yourself and don't downgrade any actor. You called 4 superstars then why did you come and specially mention Hrithik and Ajay when nobody asked you? It means you just had it in mind to ridicule them but grow up comments like these does not change the Love Audience have for an Aamir Salman Shah Rukh Ajay Akshay and Hrithik. They are made men with nothing to prove any longer only to keep their fans and neutral audience appreciate our indian Industry.
    From a Candid Aamir Fan

    1. The reason ajay career is nose diving is coz he doesn't do tv so when negative things are being said about him they all believe that. I remember when media writ all sorts about salman bhai then he did dus ka dum and the common Audience and contestants thought this guy is genuine and polite same with big b soon as he did kbc he garnered an audience command an audience at the age of 70 he can still do solo opening of 5+cr same with srk as long as he does tv shows he has an opening aamir did satyamev jayte akshay did khatron ke khiladi and is a genuine guy ajay really needs to do that or his career graph will fall even harder tv has larger audience and if you do a game show aam aadmi will have access to you and your fanbase will grow.

  9. I know many people will find it hard to digest but even as an Aamir fan who I know my Superstar does few movies even back in 90s which is his choice, Do you know according to Box office India which actor among our Superstars was the 2nd most successful actor from 90-99? While Akshay was at number 11, only The 3 Khans and this Man are the surviving big Game players of today. So Think of his loyal fan bases too mostly in 2nd and 3rd tier Metros and towns. That is the sole reason his pure Single Screen fans took his movie to 100 crs or 85cr according to Boi. His 2011 Singham blockbuster to was mainly from Single Screens so my friend its not everything you think is right that is right. You collect fact too

  10. Firstly Bobby sidhu u used "less charismatic"word for this generation audience

    Seriously are u a dumb Bobby.
    From my point of view today's generation is more smart and charismatic than the past dumb audiences.

    Let's take example in the form of then blockbuster movie sholay

    Sholay: I m asking by which angle this is masterpiece. tell me what is mind boggling in this, Rona dhona?, gunda gardi? , shit type of dialogues? , etc etc.
    Weee didnt go to watch these kind of movies.
    We go to watch movies like bajrangi bhaijaan dangal pk tanu manu pink airlift neerja bajirao mastani piku barfi kind of movies.
    We didn't go to watch movies like Fitoor Rangoon bombay velvet dilwale hny jai ho besharam.

    Okay so mind u we are more charismatic than past bakwaas audience

    1. How about you breathe, relax your mind, and think LOGICIALLY about what I said. WHY would I say that today's AUDIENCE is less charismatic? If you used any sort of common sense while forming your opinion, you would know logically that I was referring to today's ACTORS as being less charismatic than past years, NOT the AUDIENCE! If you read my very next sentence, you would actually see that I am talking about ACTORS.
      "Perhaps it’s because many of these actors don’t have huge physiques and are typically seen in multiplex films where they play the role of a city boy."


  11. There are two set of actors right now. One which comprises of Khan's, Akshay, Hritik and Ajay who are established and the other one comprises of new ones like Ranbir, Ranveer, Varun, Arjun, Shahid, Tiger. There is a big difference in quality in these two sets and the 2nd group( considered future stars) are not bankable in box office(except Var. That's why the future of Bollywood is not that bright.

  12. Holiday pe clashes hona jaruri hein takee khano ko takkar mile aur jo bhi acchi movie ho winner bane.aise karne se hi khano ka samrajya khatam hoga.
    Nahi to aur 10 sal lag jayenge aur hamari industry khano ke sahare jiyegi.
    Kisi na Kisi ko risk lena chahiye.
    Eid,diwali,xmas sab festival pe clash hona chahiye tabhi maza bhi ayega aur jo bhi acchi movie he wo jitni chahiye.
    Na ke stardom par kamai honi chahiye
    Hamare bollywood mein star dekh ke film dekhte hein chahe picture kitni bhi bakwas kyun na ho.

  13. Srk ko Ranvir ne haraya hein
    Aab xmas pe Ranbir ko ana chahiye aur sallu ka khatma karna chahiye.
    Aur agle Diwali koi bhi aajaye against TOH.

  14. Jo bhi khan clashes me jitega wo survive karega baki industry ke bahaar honge.
    Main to kahta hoon clashes khano ke bheech hona chahiye
    Srk vs salman
    Aamir vs srk
    Salman v Aamir
    Maza aayega.

  15. Dutt biopic should clash with TZH and Ranbir should beat Sallu and finish his career just like Ranveer finished SRK's. See where is SRK now. He has not even given a 200 cr movie after Mastani Bajirao clash

    1. Kyon apne bankable star varun ko clash karne ko kah...vai h na tere hisab se bankable star young generation me????

  16. bahut sahi article h bhai....Bollywood losing its originality sabko sirf multiplex boring movies hi kyu karni h.....desi movies karo on Indian culture I m sure hr acchi movie badhiya karegi....

  17. NVT well said bro. Yes it was Ajay Devgn from 90-99 that was the 2nd most successful actor according BOI After Sunny Deol. Dunno why lots f people have complex with Ajay and too be honest he is a very chilled out guy one of if not the most respected cool Dude among his peer group in the industry. People capitalize with his low level of interaction with TVs medias etc. That's him he can't be changed. That's my take on Ajay Devgn. He and Aamir are well respected and for Meet confusing low opening and lifetime verdict o want him to tell me if Akshay has crossed Sidharth and Ranbir opening day forget Hrithik and Ajay.
    Gawar Boy

  18. Khans time is coming to an end it won't be the new generation will end them but age and bobby I was surprised you got abuse for saying Rangoon would be a disaster about 80% of ppl that comment here all said Rangoon would be a flop. To put it into context you can give Michael bay a big budget and he will deliver but you wouldn't give David lynch a big budget or you will end up with a disaster like dune. This is vishal bharadwaj's dune

  19. Sufisaab but am I not be an Ajay die hard fan but what I can say it is not compulsory he comes out on TV. The whole movie industry knows one Ajay makes his mind he thinks its not correct he follows it. I remember an article 6 years back saying Ajay and Salman are the most nominated best actors at Filmfare but Ajay said publicly once you go to award show they gibe you award or create a new one he believes its not proper. He does not come on TV much because he is a shy man. But look his Trp he has over 6 in top 20-27 Trp all time highest viewership. Meaning he still gets audience watch his movie on TV. Also do you know what it means for a channel TV to give you 400 crs as token? Only Salman Ajay enjoyed that why? They are not fools to pay Ajay 400 c rupees. So let's just say Hw did some wrong choices although Priyadarshan openly told journalist Aakrosh and Tezz was his mistake about promoting. Sating he has to compensate Ajay with their next unknown film 2018. Jeez allow the Man period.
    You see how Ajay becomes a topic from neutral fan praising him and putting dislikes like Akki Meet for downgrading Ajay Hrithik?
    They bring the topic but none could come and defend the bad things they said about him. Can you see

  20. #Kangana Ranaut will still get offers, but any sort of imagination of her being a big star comes to an end. Tanu Weds Manu Returns opened very well for the small stature of the film, and she can get credit for that and the fact that the film touched the 150 crore net mark in India, but then she’s had a bunch of flops before and after that film. Even Queen started off with a very poor 1 crore opening!#

    Megastar Lallu had 6 flops before Hum Madhuri Ke bina Hai Kaun and 5 flops after HAHK barring Karan Arjun. After HAHK(which had 9 lakhs opening) Megastar Sallu babu gave disastrous Chandramukhi and inspite of coming with Multistarrer Andaaz apna apna opened to 30 lakhs on the same day when Suhaag did 50 lakhs

    But wait a scond..................................Calling HAHK a "SALLU" film is like calling TWMR a Jimmy Shergil film

  21. @bollyarena....thank you very much for encouraging new talents like bobby sidhu. he does very good analysis of bollywoood. plz ignore one or two negative comments and give him more chances to write on various topics. much better than so-called trade analysts anupama,ananya etc. those ppl live in some make-believe world of their own.

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