Bollywood Is Undergoing The Ugly Aftermath Of Boycott Trends. Can It Survive Though?

In the last five years, Bollywood has faced many difficult situations from filmmakers being threatened for their films to now social media Boycott Trends. While the films have managed to survive through challenges, with low box office numbers and bad reviews, it has been harder for films to make it to the big screen. Recent releases like Raksha Bandhan, Laal Singh Chaddha have seen a similar fate whether it’s the boycott trend or the plot, Bollywood has failed to impress the audience. Future releases like Liger, Brahmastra Part One: Shiva are expected to face similar issues. If nothing, the #BoycottBollywood hashtag has forced the filmmakers to take a close look and make necessary changes.

SEE ALSO: Vivek Agnihotri Slams Anurag Kashyap For Not Watching The Kashmir Files; Says ‘Look At The Intellectual Dishonesty’

Earlier this month, many Bollywood filmmakers have opened up in support of Hindi cinema claiming the Boycott trends have gone too far. After Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt has also received flak for her statement on the same. She told Bollywood Hungama, “I can’t keep defending myself verbally. And if you don’t like me, don’t watch me. I can’t help it.”

Taapsee Pannu whose film Doobaara was lost in the boycott trends on social media said it has turned meaningless. In an interview she said, “If something like this (boycott calls and trolling) happens on a daily basis, one ceases to be bothered anymore. It becomes useless. There is a dialogue to this effect in one of my films.” However, the more films trend on social media the less audience are going to the theatres irrespective of which film is released.

Swara Bhasker expressed similar concern. She said, “I don’t like this kind of division. I think that, as artists, as an industry, if films do well at the box office, it’s good for everyone. I think it’s very silly and petty to divide and celebrate somebody’s failure or to feel jealous and envious of somebody else’s success.” It isn’t just certain actors who has faced the Boycott trend, even Hrithik Roshan’s upcoming film Vikram Vedha, Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan, Salman Khan’s Tiger 3 have been called for a boycott by netizens on Twitter.

On the other hand, South films, as well as Hollywood releases, continue to see footfall in theatres and the box office number is skyrocketing as compared to Bollywood films. Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha and Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan hardly managed to cross Rs 10 crore on its opening day while RRR collected Rs 121 at domestic and Rs 65 crore in international markets. With alarm bells ringing, it’s time for Bollywood to implement come corrective measures including the kind of stories the audience is looking for.

Bollywood also suffered huge losses during the lockdown, but in that time, the audience grew and have more expectations from Hindi cinema than mere entertainment. Hindi cinema for years has been a means to mint money and the audience has caught on. Subpar storytelling like Satyameva Jayate 2, and Heropanti 2 may have worked before the pandemic but now good entertainment is at the tip of their fingertips. It does seem like filmmakers are taking this backlash seriously. Reports have revealed that several films have been shelved due to either high fees by leading stars or the commercial viability of the story. India Today revealed Tiger Shroff’s film with director Shashank Khaitan has been shelved as well as Shahid Kapoor’s film with Dinesh Vijan.

Filmmakers are also rethinking their revenue model. Films used to have a three-month theatrical release, later adapted as DVDs and CDs. With OTT, the theatrical release window has been reduced to less than two months followed by a second release with a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon. With less profit at the theatrical release, many filmmakers also are opting for a complete digital release. Bankable actors like Akshay Kumar who released several films in one year have turned out to be a bust in the last two years.

SEE ALSO: ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ Is The Highest-Grossing Hindi Film Internationally; Earns More Than ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’

Three of Akshay Kumar’s back-to-back releases including Samrat Prithviraj, Bachchhan Paandey and Raksha Bandhan tanked at the Box office. He has several releases in the pipeline, including Cuttputlli, for which he recently released the trailer. Unfortunately, there was little to no buzz after the trailer release with most calling it a regular action drama. Cuttputlli might not have caught the eye of the boycott trend yet but the audience certainly has washed its hands off of Bollywood.

They won’t return until Hindi cinema has proved itself once again. At the end of the day, it’s the audience who determines is a hit or a flop.

Cover Image: Instagram


John Colin

I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. I have spent much of the last ten years, focusing on open source, tech gadgets, data analytics and intelligence, Internet of things, cloud computing, mobile devices, and data management. I'm a senior editor at Mashable's covering data analytics, venture capital, (SaaS) applications, cloud and enterprise software out of New York.

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