My Thoughts

Boycott trend not the reason for Bollywood failures

Posted on: September 9, 2022

The year 2022 has been really poor for Bollywood as far as box office successes go. Very few films have actually done well and majority of the big star films have tanked badly this year. Majority of the media and critics have attributed this lack of success to the “Boycott Bollywood” trend which is being run by a few on social media. While this may have a miniscule impact on the business of a film but blaming everything on it is just living in denial. It is an easy way out isn’t it? Blame it on some unknown people on Social media for your failures and then continue to repeat the same mistakes. It has not been all doom and gloom for Bollywood though, they have had their successes through “Kashmir Files”, “Gangubai Kathiawadi” and “Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2”. If social media could influence people to boycott films, the above movies wouldn’t have been successful. Before people brand me as a hater, let me tell you that I grew up in Delhi and even though I am a Thamizhan, I grew up watching Hindi films more than Tamizh. Sure over the past decade or so that has changed as the content from Hindi does not excite me anymore except for few films here and there.

Here is my take though as to what is causing these failures.

Arrogance of the Bollywood Actors:

The actors in the Hindi film industry have always come across as arrogant and as someone who don’t give too much importance to their fans who support them unconditionally. Recently someone said that star power alone cannot bring audience to the theatres anymore in Bollywood, which is absolutely true. If the movies which released this year had released pre-pandemic, most of them would have been huge successes but again things have changed a lot recently. The biggest difference between the Southern stars and Bollywood is their relatability and humbleness. Something which is completely absent in majority of the current Bollywood stars. For example a statement like what Arjun Kapoor gave in his recent interview would never come out of any South Indian actor, star or not. The accessibility to more South Indian stars and their movies during the pandemic has caused this transformation in the Hindi audience which seems new to the stars Bollywood. An entire fraternity who has taken the audience for granted have now realised how important they are and why they should take them seriously. This is one of the major reasons why the Hindi films aren’t pulling in the crowd just by star power. This is the time to change and probably a change in attitude is warranted for the entire Hindi industry who has so far neglected their core audience and had started to think they are moving west with their content.

Remakes and lack of good content:

The second and most important reason for audience not coming to theatres is that most of the movies which has come out in theatres from Bollywood has been either remakes of famous South Indian movies or have been outdated content. Over the past 2 years Hindi audience have watched a lot of South Indian content on OTT and on YouTube and when you bring the same movies with just Hindi actors to theatres, the fans would obviously reject the same. When they see great content from other Industries in the country, the audience want something different from Hindi cinema as well which so far hasn’t happened this year. This is the major reason for audience to not show up in theatres as the non-remakes which have come to theatres this year have been outdated stories which the audience have seen multiple times in the past. When Bollywood starts making good content and if the word of mouth is good, I am sure the fans would rush to the theatres, “Boycott Trend” or not.

Rooted stories relatable to Indian Audience

Long time ago, Bollywood had stopped making content for Indian audience. The content made in Hindi cinema had started to cater to western sensibilities about 20 years ago. I agree that there are few directors like Anand L Rai and Anurag Kashyap who make rooted content but those are very limited. A regular movie goer will never relate to majority of movies made in Hindi cinema. The audience were accepting what was being served by Hindi cinema until couple of years ago have learnt now that you can make entertaining films while staying rooted to your region and culture. This is where South Indian cinema has always done well. The movies are always rooted in the local culture of the state which makes it easier for the audience to connect. Most of the Hindi films aren’t relatable to the audience which has made them distant from the content, no matter how good it might be

There is also some section of the audience who feel Bollywood spreads Hindu phobia which may be valid in some cases but that isn’t the major reason for the movies not doing well.

Bollywood has two of their biggest releases in the coming months. Brahmastra releasing today and Vikram Vedha releasing at the end of this month. Both these movies boast of great content and performances. The success of these two movies will further emphasize that good content will always succeed and audience will always want to watch such cinema.

The creators in Bollywood had gone into this comfort zone of not trying anything and just sticking to what they have been doing for years while all the other industries have moved ahead. They also had formed this arrogance and not caring about the viewers over the years and this year has been a reminder that audience is everything. If you disrespect them or take them for granted they will not respect or support you back. I hope this year has been that lesson for Bollywood and they will make some changes for good. Also they need to understand that just because Brahmastra or Vikram Vedha succeed doesn’t mean that they are off the hook and keep releasing substandard content. The audience will still reject that irrespective of who is starring in it.


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