It was only like yesterday that film makers talked about and aspired to make 100 crores…not any more…100 crores is passé for many…. The new 100 crores is now Rs 500 crores. Just like the yesterday’s lakh is now crore…just now no one aspires to be a lakhpati. The crorepati and the arabpati or even the kharabpati has become more aspirational.
This transformation in the filmdom has been rather fast. Lets flashback to the year 1943 when the Ashok Kumar starrer Kismet, for the first time made 1 crore earning in the box office and gave India her first all time blockbuster film. So, what if the Indian Film Industry was born three decades ago in 1913, it was at this time that it had come into maturity. Kismet was followed by many more blockbusters including Mother India (1957), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Sholay (1975). Post-liberalization, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) changed film business forever to become one of the biggest blockbusters of the modern era.
However, it was Ghajni (2008) starring Aamir Khan that redefined Hindi film business by becoming the first Rs.100 crores Hindi film. Soon, Salman Khan’s Dabangg 2 breached the Rs 100 crores mark. Since then it has become a trend. The 100-crore club is no longer exclusive. Now, more than 35 Hindi films are a part of the exclusive 100-crore club. And then came the famous ‘3 Idiots’ who made a total Worldwide Box office Collection of Rs.325 crores plus!
The SRK starrer Chennai Express and Hrithik Roshan starrer Krissh 3 were the fastest films to reach the 100 cr mark, in just 4 days in 2013, Aamir Khan has his 3 Idiots in the club followed by Salman starrer Ek Tha Tiger and Ranbir starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Indra Kumar’s adult comedy Grand Masti also made a surprise entry into the club. While Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela entered the 100 cr club in 10 days with a collection of Rs. 100.2 cr.
The highest grossing Hindi films are PK (2014) 735 crores, Dhoom 3 (2013) 542 crores Chennai Express (2013) 422 crores Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) 400 crores (till date) 3 Idiots (2009) 395 crores Happy New Year (2014) 383 crores, Kick (2014) 377 crores, Krrish 3 (2013) 374 crores, Bang Bang! (2014) 340 crores Ek Tha Tiger (2012) 320 crores Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani 2013 311 crores.
All this thanks to the multiplex culture, more prints, higher tickets and films released on longer weekends! From the first multiplex by PVR in 1997 to almost 2050 multiplex screens in India till now in 2015, the multiplexes transformed the film business in India. Though they hardly account to 17% of total 2,000+ screens in India, they contribute almost 70% of a film’s box-office collection. By offering a better film viewing experience, mutliplexes have brought the film lovers back to the silver screens.
So far so good! Now the question is how long it will take Bollywood to reach and cross the magic 1000 crores figure. Going by the present trend let’s say by around 2017 or so, even earlier. The writing on the wall is clear. 100 crores clubs don’t excite anyone anymore. If we combine Indian and overseas Box office collections, we observe that a lot of films have managed to cross Rs.200 cr mark and very soon and so we will certainly soon see a film crossing the Rs.500 cr mark at worldwide box office collection.
So, why not set a new benchmark for Bollywood Blockbusters. Why not think of the unthinkable but not the unattainable. How about a 1000-cr Bollywood Blockbuster which will change the business of Bollywood forever! As of now it may seem too ambitious to aim for a Rs.1,000 cr club Bollywood Blockbuster, it may happen in the very near future. There are many supporting reasons that may boost up the growth.
With just a 1,000 prints, 3 Idiots in 2013 managed to cross Rs.200 cr mark solely from Indian Box office. Thus, with 4000 plus prints at the time of release as well as increased ticket rates; we can very well expect a “good film” with similar audience appeal to cross the Rs.500 cr mark at the box office with a successful run of 4 to 5 weeks.
Next reason is that as the Indian Film industry is too obsessed with box office collections. However we hardly ever track audience footfalls. Titanic was watched by approximately 12 cr people, compared to half that number who watched Avatar in theatres. It is estimated that Mughal-E-Azam and Sholay were viewed in theatre by 3-cr plus film lovers at the time when Indian population was just 43 cr and 60 cr respectively which means that almost 5% of the Indian population watched Sholay in theatres. And if we can manage to come close to that number in today’s time, that will be great!
Another vital component is the overseas market plays a crucial role for a lot of Bollywood films. Given the current rupee depreciation, the net collection from overseas market is bound to increase substantially. We already have a Bollywood movie crossing $30mn mark in the overseas market. If we can manage to capture US, UK, China and other key overseas markets, then there is a high probability of crossing $100mn+ mark from overseas market.
So, what we need now is a talented and committed team who, besides getting the mathematics right, can also strike the right balance between the art and science of film making to deliver a mega-blockbuster of all times. Though there can’t be any magic formula for success in Bollywood, the following recipes are a must to deliver a 1,000-cr Blockbuster:
An Indian story dubbed in English with global appeal with an international release on the same day could be recipe numero uno. Story was, is and will remain the most crucial element for the global success of any film. The storyline has to have the perfect mix of emotions that appeal to Indian heartland and at the same time manages to strike the right chord with global audiences. A superstar Indian cast: can play a super role in the success of the movie. A superstar is a must for a super-film of this size and scale. Salman khan, Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan may provide the much needed star power to this venture. The film will also need stellar supporting cast with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Om Puri, Anupam Kher, Anil Kapoor , etc. may also help to reach out to wider audiences. A vital role in the film by a Rajnikant or a Kamal Hassan can provide the necessary boost, given their huge overseas fan base. Another formula can be the presence of an international star: An all-Indian star cast will not be able to break into the lucrative overseas market. Also different versions for different audiences: The film should be written and shot in a way that we can have two versions of it. One version for Indian audiences with usual song and dance routine and another version for the international audiences without compromising on the essence of the film with minimal or none of the Bollywood routines.
Add heavy financial muscle to it, viola Bollywood will have many a perfect 1000 crores plus blockbuster ready to serve on a platter to the global audience.
These ingredients and recipes are no secret. What we need is a Bollywood Magician who can combine them to weave magic spell on the box office permanently.