Isn’t it strange that a film is facing criticism from all corners, especially very strongly from women, and yet the production house keeps issuing collection figures of Rs 30-40 crore each day, and double those figures in the weekend!
Is it so simple for a film to add so many crores every day? It is not possible for Hollywood films, nor for a Hindi film. Is there even that kind of capacity in cinemas across India (of course, it is a fact that no film releases in all the cinemas of the country).
Also, are there so many film viewers filling up cinemas running the same film every day? Especially when a section of moviegoers, those who do not like gore and misogyny, all of which this film has on display in abundance, is vehemently opposed to it!
‘Animal’ is that film. Its fame has even reached Parliament, where one MP has questioned how and why such a film was even able to get a certificate for public exhibition.
In normal circumstances, the government would have immediately replaced the Chief of the Censor Board. Instead, the Board’s CEO has been replaced, probably because of so many controversies in the recent past. Even earlier, the government’s favourites have been replaced when complaints became a regular feature. But, here, it seems as if some people are more favourite than others.
On social media I have observed that the majority of opinions are against ‘Animal’ and what all it shows. What is more, it goes totally against its lead actor Ranbir Kapoor’s image.
And as the movie plays in the cinemas, there is a TV ad on air showing Shah Rukh Khan, sporting his ‘Jawan’ get up, selling a brand of iron roads used for construction and scaring the hell out of Ranbir and Alia Bhatt. Quite contrary to what Ranbir portrays on screen. And to think that yesteryear’s stars made careers entirely out of their screen persona. Today, the mantra seems to be ‘anything for money’.
The public reaction notwithstanding, what is strange is that the PR department of the makers of ‘Animal’ issues box-office collections of the film daily, and these show that it is adding multi-crore figures to its tally every day. People are bound to ask how these numbers are possible when theatres have no audience!
The trick is in giving worldwide collections, besides giving out gross figures. That is not how the trade operated. It always gave out net collections (that is, total collections minus taxes).
There used to be a Rs 100-crore era and the media would lap up the figures of the films that made it to the ‘100 crore club’. Now, the trend is 500 crore- plus! Take a look at these figures: ‘Jawan’ – Rs 640 crore, ‘Pathan’ – Rs 542 crore, ‘Gadar 2’ – Rs 525 crore, and ‘Animal’ – Rs 470 crore (still counting).
You might as well stretch your imagination a bit more and make it Rs 1,000 crore. Why not?
These manipulations have gone so far as to even make the online booking platforms a party to the plan. Their charts online show ‘sold out’. Yet, if you press hard, you get not only tickets, but also seats of your choice.
In fact, these fake ‘house full’ charts drive away prospective ticket buyers. The ones depending on online booking would be deterred.
So, who are these manipulations benefiting?
No one else but the stars. A star does one or at best two films a year, and, sometimes has no new release, and that is not much money. Despite this, stars have to stay relevant to retain their celebrity value.
Because, being relevant and staying in the news is what earns you the real money from endorsements and other ventures, such as promoting popular sports, that keep you in the limelight.
Endorsements mean multi-crore earnings. Now, some stars have also learnt to use consumer product ads to promote their upcoming films.
The stars who get maximum endorsements and brand promotion assignments are Amitabh Bachchan and Pankaj Tripathi. Bachchan, because his status, is infallible and does not depend on the success or failure of his films. Pankaj Tripathi, because not only is he popular, but he is a natural and looks convincing in whatever product he promotes.
Even aspiring stars know the importance of being relevant. They do things to attract maximum likes and followers on social media. Strange as it may seem, nowadays, new talent is picked from social media according to their following and likes! Talent is out of fashion.