The year 2010 for the box-office has been incredible with movies like Dabangg and Endhiran (Robot) rocking the collections. The stats show the opening collections for Dabangg were higher even than movie like Three Idiots while Endhiran collected a staggering amount of Rs. 50 Crores in the first three days. Even movies like Housefull put up a good show with decent occupancy rates in cinema halls.
This raises a big question. As many youngsters say, “For maximum fun while watching movies like these, keep your brains at home and remove the word logic from your dictionary”. Why is the average Indian movie-goer showing a sudden and partial favourism towards masala movies, which focus just on the presentation and entertainment part with little or no meaning attached to them?
The reasons can be many. Firstly, the typical movie-goer, who has come after a gruelling day at work, paid approximately 150-200 Rs. on the tickets and now just wants to just relax; would any day prefer such movies to ones which cause emotional trauma or invoke deep thoughts/feelings. People just want paisa-wasool-entertainment for two hours. In fact, this is also the reason these movies do not have repeat viewership.
Secondly, the celebrity-status and charisma of the actors is another major reason behind the phenomenal success. Salman has the single, rough, macho image which enjoys an excellent fit with his role of Chulbul ‘Robinhood’ Pandey in Dabangg. On the other hand, Rajnikant, because of his down-to-earth attitude and smashing performance, is treated not just as a superstar, but fondly known as “Thalaivar” or the leader; and commands a faithful audience which practically worships him.
Another factor can be the timing of such movies. After a series of sappy, cheesy love-stories made on almost the same lines, the public was waiting for a fresh breeze at the 70 mm. screen. This came in the form of movies with the hero possessing super-human powers, mind-blowing action, catchy tracks, breathtaking locations and a novel storyline. Even the dates of release of these movies are planned strategically. E. g. Dabangg was delayed until the IPL-3 was over, along with banking on the festival season of Eid where there’s a increased spending in general, due to the holiday mood.
The mainstream Bollywood films have always co-existed with the art films, each commanding their own set of audiences. It is vital for the moviemakers to analyze the changing preferences of the audience and to delve into the reasons for this shift. However, at the same time, care should be taken to avoid over-utilizing the same concept or turning it into a “formula”, which is a sure-shot path to disaster.