Saturday, 14 September 2013

It’s All About Money, Honey! Part-I

I searched frantically for my pink ear-rings that would go with the white top I was wearing. As I put them on, my little sister busted into the room and in her child-like voice said,”Didi, dadu aapka kabse wait kar rahe hain!” I replied, struggling with the ear-ring, “Apoo! Dadu ko bolo bas 5 min aur.” We were already late for the afternoon show. I wished we would reach on time and grabbed my purse. Announcing along the way to the people in house that we would be back only by evening, I dashed towards the door.
The afternoons in summers are pathetic! Especially when you are in a town where 80% of the day there is no electricity in the house, a house that dates back to 1960s. A house where all my uncles and aunts had spent their childhood playing under the huge mango tree in the garden (It is still there!). A house situated in a dirty lane of the dirty town Gorakhpur in this dirty country’s most populous state. My school had shut down for a straight 2 months in the middle of the year and like the obedient migrant birds, I flew down here to visit relatives.
After much deliberations and coaxing (which took most of our morning), Dadu had agreed to take the bachcha party, to the nearest cinema hall to catch the latest release, Ek tha tiger. Its star cast was all over the place last week promoting the film and this excited my cousin, Ajita. She would stage a drama in her peculiar nautanki style to persuade Dadu, the eldest in the house, to grant us permission to watch films. This time too, the trick worked much in our favour. As the rickshaw puller parked the vehicle in front of the gate, we could clearly see Salman Khan’s craze everywhere. Truck loads of people, had come down to watch him and only him, barring the charring heat. The place was brimming with people, overflowing onto the nearby road.  Long queues of head-strong visitors that ran miles and miles stood patiently waiting for the ticket counter to open. As I wiped the dripping sweat drops from the forehead, mine and Ajita’s eyes met and we shrugged our shoulders. Getting tickets won’t be easy this time.
Photo Courtesy: Internet
In the evening, Dadu was uncontrollable as he vent out his angst on our way back home. It was as if the pressure cooker had been left to whistle non-stop in pressure, letting out the hot white fumes. I so wanted to tell Mumma to put that off but when Dadu is around, you need to learn to shut your chattering machine.
It is usually not easy to tick him off but when he sees “the sad state of Hindi movies and the poor choice of today’s young minds”, his blood boils. Rightly so, one can evidently smell how zealously passionate, he was, and still is, about films. The towering racks lined with innumerable VCDs, neatly stacked, are a testimony of this. Sangam, Awara, Teesri Kasam, Pyaasa, Shree 420,Guide, Do Biga Zameen he had it all there. He at times boasts of how he used to dedicatedly save money from his day-to-day spending to take my Dadi for the latest cinema, the tiny theatre was showing, two lanes away.
“I don’t understand this 100 crore figure thing”, he lamented,” they have reduced the art of film making to mere business”, he exploded into the house. Now, that sent me off thinking.
The so-called 100-crore club is a nomenclature coined by the media in the most recent past, a term used by the film industry to segregate the more successful stars from the rest. The term has become rather ubiquitous and everyone from the commoner lining the street leading to Film City to the spotboy on the set is talking about it.  It’s cool, it’s coveted, and it’s for the crème de la crème. The latest status symbol in Bollywood: The 100-crore club!
Photo Courtesy: Internet

It all started with Ghajini in 2008, the first Bollywood film to gross 100 crore at the box office, taking only 18 days to do so. It was followed up in 2009 with 3 Idiots which took half the time to reach the magical figure. Incidentally, 3 Idiots remains the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time with worldwide collections of Rs 339 crore (domestic + overseas). Hence, in that regard, Aamir Khan has been labelled as the inaugural inductee of the club.

If 2008 and 2009 had one 100-crore film each, 2010 saw that number double, with Salman Khan (Dabangg) and Ajay Devgn (Golmaal 3) entering the club. While the latter took 17 days to breach the mark, the former did it in 10 days.
In 2011, that figure rose to five films (ReadySinghamBodyguardRa.One and Don 2) with Bodyguard garnering 100 crore in a record-time of 7 days. Suddenly, every top Bollywood actor, mostly the Khans, was in a race to make it to the exclusive club. Salman Khan had breached the mark thrice in succession, while Shah Rukh was the last of the ruling Khans to get an entry into the coveted club.
In 2012, eight films (AgneepathHousefull 2Rowdy RathoreBol BachchanEk Tha TigerBarfi!Son of Sardaar and Jab Tak Hai Jaan) have grossed 100 crore. Salman Khan, who’s become his own competition when it comes to box-office collections, broke his own previous record set by Bodyguard as his Ek Tha Tiger rushed into the 100-crore club in five days flat. The film is the highest grosser of the year with worldwide collections of Rs 246 crore. Dabangg 2 was 2012’s ninth film in the 100-crore club, and Salman’s fifth straight – a “historic record” as trade analyst Taran Adarsh puts it. From one to two to five to eight, and from the Khans and Ajay Devgn to Hrithik Roshan to Akshay Kumar to the Kapoors – Bollywood’s 100-crore club has only grown manifold. Nowadays, the buzz preceding the release of every other big-budget film has its mention.

Photo Courtesy: Internet

This year, only a few films so far have been able to add to its population. Films like the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, the multi-starrer Race 2 and Mohit Suri’s Aashiqui 2 crossed the magical number. Aanand L. Rai’s Raanjhanaa, starring the unusual pair of Dhanush-Sonam also touched that mark with the combined collections of its Hindi and Tamil versions.

Is the 100-crore film a myth and a product of impeccable PR machinery? Or is it a result of a transformation in the economics of the film trade?
 Stay tuned to know more in this 3-part series on the coveted 100-crore club. Promise! Won't make you mull over it for long! It’s All About Money, Honey! Part-II, coming soon! :D

 Part II

Part III

P.SAny suggestions for future posts? Feel free to send in your suggestions and requests here or on my e-mail id: . Hope to hear from you soon :) 

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