Trade Tutor: Cop Universe, Tiger, Dhoom, Housefull & Golmaal: Will franchises replace stars in Bollywood?
Trade Tutor Vishek Chauhan assesses the status of Bollywood and its films
As I watched Sooryavanshi in my theatre, I could hear a thunderous applause on Ranveer Singh’s entry in the film. Were these claps for Simmba or Ranveer? Then the mighty Singham entered and the theatre exploded to an amazing cheer. Was it for Ajay Devgn or Singham? Since , Sooryavanshi was the first cinematic outing for the character , I am damn sure that Veer Sooryavanshi over the years will become a power brand if not already. This is a tricky situation that Bollywood finds itself these days. Bollywood has primarily seen itself as a star driven industry. It has depended on its stars to bring in the big event films and the big moolah. Now, it finds itself creating a very strong eco system of Franchises/Universe/ IPs etc.
Not very long back Hollywood was a star driven Industry. Schwarzenegger , Stallone, Cruise and Willis ruled the boxoffice at their peaks and they were followed by Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Leonardo DiCaprio. Even female superstars (Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock) enjoyed great boxoffice clout. Then the IPs took over and to bring in the huge numbers Hollywood relied on them rather than its stars. The box office clout of these stars vanished but when they were part of the Franchises/IPs/Universe , the results were mindblowing.
Down South, its still a star driven industry. They rely on their stars to bring in the audiences and these stars are the film's biggest draw. The Telugu Industry alone has more than dozen stars that can open tremendously. The story is same across the other industries down south. These stars are tremendously loved and every time they come out with a film, they make sure that their fans are not disappointed. Films are written with the stars image in mind and tailored accordingly. Case in point, Pink became Vakeel Saab to cater to Pawan Kalyan fans and the result was electrifying.
Bollywood finds itself in both boats these days. Our stars don’t shy away from breaking their image and taking up characters that might disappoint the fan bases. The problem with the younger stars is that they start experimenting before a solid fan base has been built. This leads to dilution of the brand and erosion of a nascent fan base. Even producers don’t try and create stars as was the norm sometime back.
Then you have these Franchises/IPs/Universe driven films doing really well. Golmaal, Dhamaal, Dhoom, Don, Krrish, Dabaang, Race, Cop Universe, Spy Universe (Tiger Franchise) etc are the big IPs of Bollywood.
Bollywood still relies on its 90’s superstars to do the heavy lifting and the younger lot is more inclined towards performance oriented characters. The burden of boxoffice heavy lifting will eventually shift towards IPs the way it shifted in Hollywood.
The problem with Bollywood though is that it doesn’t have too many big franchises and most the 90’s superstars headline those IPs . It needs a huge number of franchises that can support cinemas throughout the year and it needs young actors to also headline these franchises.
It is clear that Bollywood is making the transition from a star driven industry to an IP driven industry . YRF and Rohit Shetty have already shown the way. The others need to pitch in and pitch in fast. As leaving a vacuum isn’t a great idea as Hollywood and South are already breathing down Bollywood’s neck.