Salman Khan. Katrina Kaif. Ali Abbas Zaffar. Expectations are sky high when such big names are attached to a film.
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif are one of the most successful on-screen pairings! Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai are their two notable blockbusters together.
Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zaffar…. Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai immediately come to one’s mind. Huge blockbusters, both of them. As a matter of fact, Salman’s only hugely successful films at the box office since 2016.
Together, this trio (Salman-Katrina-Ali) delivered Tiger Zinda Hai, which remains one of the biggest grossers in Bollywood.
Here are some trends I have analyzed, when it comes to actor/director pairings. Often times, an actor/director duo will want to repeat the success of their previous blockbuster(s) together, by keeping many similar elements of their previous success in their new film (when the new film is NOT a part of a franchise/sequel). More often than not, it doesn’t work!
Salman Khan and Kabir Khan: This actor/director duo delivered two huge blockbusters together in the form of Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The latter is still considered a classic today. Two years later, the duo returned with Tubelight, and just from the promos itself, one could sense that they were trying to recreate the magic of Bajrangi Bhaijaan with the cinematography, a child actor, tension between two countries, a social message, etc. The result? Tubelight failed at the box office.
Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty: Chennai Express was a huge blockbuster, and it became the highest grosser ever when it released. Two years later, they reunited for Dilwale. If Chennai Express was heavy on DDLJ nostalgia, then Dilwale went even further, as suggested by the name of the film itself! But, the result? Dilwale failed at the box office.
Aamir Khan and Victor Krishna Acharya: Dhoom 3 was an All Time Blockbuster, becoming Bollywood’s highest grosser ever. The duo reunited for Thugs of Hindostan five years later. Certain elements were kept the same this time, with Aamir once again playing the role of a thief with villainous/grey shades. The result? The film bombed at the box office.
Sunny Deol and Anil Sharma: Gadar is simply one of the biggest blocbusters in Indian cinema history. Period. Naturally, when Sunny and Anil tried to recreate this magic 12 years later in Singh Saab the Great (note the scene where Sunny Deol pulls out branches rather than the handpump!) the film failed at the box office.
Now, you might be wondering why I am mentioning these pairings and their last failed film together. Here’s why: Bharat appears to be a mix of Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, actor/director Salman Khan/Ali Abbas Zaffar’s last two films together. The feel of the film, certain scenes/songs (such as the Aithey Aa song and scenes of Salman punching a punching bag and dragging something behind him) remind one of Sultan. The sequences of Salman leading a group of men reminds you of the same from Tiger Zinda Hai, especially with Katrina being there as well. The Zinda song reminds you of both films. The train sequences shown of the kid version of Salman Khan remind you of Ali’s own Gunday.
What do I think will be the fate of Bharat? The same as the films mentioned above from other actor/director pairings: a box office failure!
To be honest, Bharat seemed a risky project from the get go. Bharat is the remake of a Korean film, An Ode to My Father. Typically, Bollywood remakes only work when they are a remake of a South Indian film. Any remake outside of that, especially a remake of a foreign film, almost never works with the audience! Bang Bang and Brothers are examples of that. Mohit Suri did manage to make his foreign (Korean) remakes work with Ek Villain and Murder 2, but it appears that he was an exception to this rule. Also, in the 2019 time of social media, there are bound to be many Indians who have already seen An Ode to My Father (especially public living in cities) and therefore, they wouldn’t have a keen interest in watching Bharat.
The teaser released in January and got a positive response, but as for the theatrical trailer released in April….not so much. There were a section of viewers who felt that the trailer was just average, and that the actual film may get confusing with all of the different time periods that Salman’s character goes through.
To add to the woes, the songs have been received rather poorly, with the exception of the Slow Motion song.
Also, even though Priyanka Chopra left the film due to her marriage and other commitments, it's also possible that perhaps she saw some shortcomings in the film's script, and maybe that's also a reason as to why she left the film.
To see a Salman Khan film having such poor pre-release buzz is rather worrying. Compare this to his and Katrina’s Eid release seven years ago Ek Tha Tiger, which actually felt like a hurricane was coming!
A lot of promo time has also been shown on Salman Khan as the old man in the film. Honestly, I think this character may be off-putting to his diehard fans, as they will not take to his old appearance. Katrina is also shown to be in a more deglam role, which again, will not be liked by her diehard male fans. The glamorous role has been given to Disha Patani this time, but it doesn’t appear as if she has a huge role in the film.
With that being said, there is one thing that Bharat will reap the benefit of: the Eid holiday. The opening day for Bharat will be the Eid national holiday, and combined with Salman and Katrina’s prescence, this ensures a huge opening day for Bharat. There is a big India cricket match on Wednesday as well which will dent the collection of Bharat to an extent. Besides, Bharat wasn’t going to break the Hindi record opening day of Thugs of Hindostan anyway as that film was being promoted by Yash Raj Films as being the biggest film of all time, especially with the first time combination of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, and it arrived uninterrupted on the biggest national holiday of the year. However, Bharat’s opening day should edge past Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (39 crore nett) to emerge Salman’s biggest opener.
My Box Office Predictions for Bharat:
Unfortunately, this looks to be Salman’s third straight box office underperformer on Eid after Tubelight and Race 3!
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