Patriots clash for celluloid fame on Independence Day

Apurv Shukla

Two big ticket Hindi films, ‘Gold’ and ‘Satyameva Jayate’ will be released the world over on August 15, 2018, marking India’s Independence Day.

‘Gold’ stars Akshay Kumar and ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is top-lined by John Abraham.

Since August 15 is a Public Holiday in India, producers of both films hope for a box-office bonanza.

About the Films

Both these films have patriotic undertones.

The most prolific and versatile actor of Hindi cinema –Akshay Kumar, returns to the big screen after his successful ‘Padman’ earlier this year with ‘Gold.’

He plays the role of a Hockey coach trying to mould a team that wins the first Olympic medal for India as a free nation in the film.

This marks his first collaboration with Director Reema Kagti and producer Farhan Akhtar. ‘Gold’ also sees another star of television, Mouni Roy making her transition to the big screen.

‘Satyameva Jayate’ has John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee teaming up for the second time in an action thriller. The successful writer Milap Zaveri, tries his hand at direction for the second time after the box office disaster, ‘Mastizaade.’

Historic examples

Two films releasing on the same day makes industry watchers ponder if it is a feasible and commercially viable idea to have films clashing at the box office.

It has happened in the past, and as more films get made and shelf lives of films shrink – it will become a more prominent occurrence.

A good example of two films releasing on the same date and doing well occurred in 2001. Aamir Khan’s first film as a producer ‘Lagaan,’ clashed with the Sunny Deol cross border patriotic saga, ‘Gadar.’

The two films again had an underlying theme of patriotism.

But they were totally different in their tone and tenor. Both garnered immense critical and commercial appreciation.

While ‘Lagaan’ was India’s official entry to the Oscars, ‘Gadar’ was one of the biggest money spinners of Hindi cinema.

Khan-Deol again

Another clash that yielded good results for both films happened in 1990.

Aamir Khan and Sunny Deol again clashed at the ticket window with their films ‘Dil’ and ‘Ghayal’ respectively.

Boasting of melodious music and a beautiful love story, ‘Dil’ became a favourite of the youth. ‘Ghayal’ had one of the best written screenplay and dialogues of the 1990s.

Sunny Deol became a bona fide action star after ‘Ghayal.’

Acrimonious clash

One of the most acrimonious clashes at the box office happened in 2007 when Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ clashed with the Ranbir Kapoor debut, ‘Saawariya’ directed by Sanjay Bhansali.

Both parties went out all out to promote their product, and in the bargain ended up running the other film down.

‘Saawariya’ weighed down by a weak and disjointed script, stood no chance against Shahrukh Khan’s masala potboiler.

Khan was however at the receiving end of a clash in 2015, when his magnum opus ‘Dilwale’ collided with ‘Bajirao Mastani,’ a Bhansali film.

Historical ‘Bajirao’ won international acclaim, whereas ‘Dilwale’ fizzled out.

Global Competition

Bollywood today needs to brace for a future where the clash at the box office is not only with other Hindi but also English and regional films.

The recent Tom Cruise starrer, ‘Mission Impossible’ is enjoying a fantastic run in India. Streaming services are producing excellent content like ‘Scared Games,’ which is attracting a lot of attention.

The adage that a well-written film, attractively presented, will succeed at the box office holds true. Added competition will make the going tougher for weak products, but good films will still resonate with the audiences, and find their place under the Sun.

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