Since the start of the year, Bollywood has constantly tried to deliver variety and refreshing subjects to the audiences in the form of Neerja, Kapoor and Sons, Airlift etc. While commercial movies have worked in their own right, smaller movies like Nil Battey Sannata & Chalk n Duster have also fought among each other for screen space and visibility, which in turn has proved good for the business.
Amidst all this, Bollywood's competitor changed...
The smaller budget films were earlier fighting with big budget films for greater number of screens and the Khans were tying to outdo each other with their 100 and 200 crore films. But today, the fight isn't only limited locally. The opponent that Bollywood faces today is global. It's powerful. It's resourceful. It's Hollywood.
Hollywood has taken over film industries of various countries in the past and it looks like India is its new target.
Bollywood should be losing its sleep over the fact that the Indian cinema goers have started opting for Hollywood films over the domestic releases. And the trend is only gaining momentum.
Here's a look at the hard numbers which will pop the bubble for Bollywood:
Fan & The Jungle Book released a week apart and while the former struggled to earn Rs 85 crore; The Jungle Book earned approximately Rs 183 crore.
Sarbjit earned approximately Rs 25 crore, while X-Men: Apocalypse earned approximately Rs 33 crore. Both released on the same day.
Captain America: Civil War earned around Rs 58 crore. Azhar earned approximately Rs 32 crore. Azhar released a week after Captain America: Civil War.
To put things into context, Airlift, which has been the highest Bollywood grosser this year, earned Rs 127 crore which when compared with The Jungle Book falls short by a massive amount.
And it's not just limited to numbers. To get connected with the masses, the studios are now engaging popular Bollywood actors to dub for the Hindi versions also.
Until a few years ago, Hollywood was considered as a niche market in India, but the scenario has changed drastically in the past couple of years. The superhero films, along with other franchise films, are starting to make a strong foothold in the domestic markets. With the increasing number of multiplexes in smaller cities, the audience is getting exposed to these films. To get connected with the masses, the studios are now engaging popular Bollywood actors to dub for the Hindi version. Varun Dhawan recently dubbed for Captain America : Civil War and many Bollywood stars including Priyanka Chopra & Om Puri dubbed for The Jungle Book, which has set new benchmarks in the Indian market.
One of the major reasons for this shift is the content that is being offered by Bollywood.
The quality of films being offered by Bollywood is improving for sure, but Hollywood films with their fancy graphics and CGI still light years ahead of us. The world is connected by Internet and so the exposure to world cinema has increased massively. Bollywood can no longer compete with itself as the audience is now getting better content to watch on various other platforms.
Irrfan Khan who works in both these industries has similar concerns.
Irrfan Khan, who is enjoying the best of both worlds at the moment, has also talked about the same. He told Indian Express, "Hollywood has a bigger reach and has its own universal language. It is more powerful. It has dominated our cinema. It can affect the business of Bollywood. But, our films are not affecting their business. Its Hollywood, which is affecting Indian cinema."
However, the worrying part is that the stars haven't woken up to this phenomenon yet.
Shah Rukh Khan said in an interview in February this year that till the time we have the star culture in Bollywood intact, Hollywood isn't an actual competition. The 'star culture' is not prevalent in many other countries and SRK feels that would be enough to fight the competition.
But Bollywood needs wake up and smell the coffee, and up its game obviously.
With the release of major franchise films which also include the superhero films, the Indian market is getting affected on a large scale. Also, it's not just the graphics that are attracting the movie-goers, the hunt for a good story continues whenever we watch a film and unfortunately in the past few months, Hollywood has managed to offer good content and the audience is starting to recognize that.
Recently released 'The Conjuring 2' & 'The Angry Birds Movie' are repeating the same old story and beating Indian movies in their own backyard.
The Conjuring 2, which released alongside Te3n and Do Lafzon Ki Kahani, has already outdone these films. As per a report in DNA, the first day’s box-office collection of The Conjuring 2 was approximately Rs 4.25 crore, as compared to approximately Rs 2.75 crore for Te3n and around Rs 1 crore for Do Lafzon Ki Kahani. The Angry Birds Movie earned approximately Rs 9.4 crore in the opening weekend which was more than the collection of three Bollywood films, Phobia, Waiting and Veerappan combined.
Bollywood has to come up with mind blowing content that makes their loyal audience fall in love with them all over again. We Indians love a good story and we need nothing more if that story is told beautifully and Bollywood has the potential to do that as we have seen multiple times in the past. With great content coming in from the foreign market as well as the Indian, the audience will surely have a gala time.