Bahubali, a vast historical drama that fascinated millions of Indian moviegoers this month, has left the Indian Film Industry a little perplexed, with box-office experts viewing the movie’s runaway success as a warning bell for Bollywood.
Though a regional film, made in Telugu-language, and staring actors, not known outside of south India, Bahubali has made a tremendous business of over 850 million rupees within a fortnight of its release, in Bollywood’s traditional stronghold.
What is even more interesting is that the film’s good run at the box-office was not affected by the release of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a new Hindi film featuring the star actor Salman Khan.
It’s not just a regional film like Bahubali, dubbed as the most expensive cinema made in India with top-notch computer graphic, which is threatening Bollywood’s monopoly in the country. Out of the top five successful films in the first half of 2015, three were from Hollywood.
Released in April, Furious 7, the seventh film in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise, earned more than 1 billion rupees in India, as did Jurassic World, the dinosaur extravaganza that released in May. The same story continues for Avengers: Age of Ultron that grossed around 700 million rupees in India, overtaking some of Bollywood’s big-ticket movies like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Dil Dhadakne Do, Bombay Velvet and Roy.
Should Bollywood, the world’s biggest film industry by output, be alarmed by the current scenario, where its movies are failing to impress its audiences?
Yes! The industry has every reason to worry.
All the creativity and innovation is coming from outside.
Be it the Hollywood franchise movies or regional films like Bahubali, they all have a larger audience pool now, than what they enjoyed before.
Hollywood producers, in the past, have always struggled to grab a foothold in the domestic movie market in India. However, the last few years have seen some drastic change in the trend. Thanks to movie franchises like Batman, Superman, Iron Man, and Transformers, Hollywood movies have made a prominent mark among the Indian audiences. Hollywood’s gross box-office collections in India have jumped to significant numbers in the last two years compared to the years before that.
Bollywood, on the other hand, has failed to create too many successful franchises, and have chosen to survive on the popularity and charisma of few top stars to woo the audience. People in India, especially the younger generation, are exposed to Hollywood movies like never before; add to it the U.S. television series (Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Hannibal, Suits, etc.) that are a huge success in India, and they expect the same quality from Bollywood cinema.
Did Bahubali’s tremendous success ring the death bell for Bollywood? Or, are we judging too quickly?
Whatever the discourse may be, one thing is proved by Bahubali’s success. Indian audiences now have other options. This could be the beginning of the end of Bollywood’s monopoly in the Indian movie market.