Era of digital content films
The era of digital content films has dawned in Bollywood. And it was the film and digital content backed by good and compelling storylines that drew the audience’s attention in 2016, when formulaic sequels and even some ambitious dramas failed to make it big.
While some small-budget films generated unexpected results, some star-driven movies didn’t stimulate the audience and, instead, emergent takers of online viewing added a new dimension to film watching.
In the year 2016, sequels of hit films, earlier considered as money spinners, botched at the box office. “Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive”, “Tum Bin II”, “Rock On 2” and “Kahaani 2” didn’t do as well as their first installments. “Rock On 2” was the first movie to release after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the central government’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. And that had a direct effect on the box office earnings of the movie, which had an approximate budget of Rs 45 crore, and reportedly earned Rs 15.67 crore.
Real-life inspired stories were brought to screen with films like “Airlift”, “Rustom”, “Sultan” “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” and “Dangal”, all of which opened to big box office collections. The stories of ‘Neerja’, ‘Airlift’, “Sultan” and “Dangal” were beyond doubt inspiring. The mass audience still loves to watch a hero who wins the battle facing all odds. Some highly ambitious films like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s “Mirzya” and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Fan” failed to impress critics and the masses alike. At a time when success came to films like “Neerja” “Airlift”,”Pink” “Sultan” and “Dangal”, which sent out relevant messages in a style that was as commercially viable but yet worthy of critical acclaim, there was also a film like “Aligarh”, which got lauded by critics but did not set the cash registers ringing. The purpose of making the film doesn’t seem to have been with intent for box office success as the audience of this kind of experimental, sensitive film is outside the theatres. They watch them on the digital platforms like Netflix and at special screenings during film festivals. Eventually, the digital route is finding many takers. Popular and established Production banner Eros International releases films on its online channel ‘Eros Now’ prior to their TV premiere. Even Amazon has opened its platform for digital release of films and, most recently, Shah Rukh Khan’s home banner Red Chillies Entertainment has collaborated with Netflix for the exclusive viewing of the superstar’s movies. “Raees” releasing on 25th January, will be the first one to begin with of the production house of SRK.
No doubt whether a movie is a hit or a flop is always decided and based on box office collection as that is the faster way to recover all the invested money of the film for a producer. The online views do not count as revenue for box office or the immediate business of the film. Today the audience is evolving and “Dangal” is an example of that. It is doing tremendous business at the box office. It may be noted that it is only stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan who are doing different roles bring success and business to the big films and it is only they as stars who make it to happen.
Report by: K V Raman
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