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October 25, 2011

Ra.One - A new genre beckons Bollywood?


In the past few days, i have been asked this question a little too often - Why this silence over Ra.One from my side? No tweets, no blog-posts, no Facebook updates. The reason is pretty simple and something which i have followed more or less all the time in the past. I have never understood the fascination of doing post-martum of a movie before seeing it. I think each movie should be judged on its merits irrespective of the hype around it. That, i believe is the best way to not only enjoy a flick but do some pertinent analysis later on.

That brings me back to Dabaang, a movie i was extremely critical when it's first trailer came out last year. My first and an almost, instantaneous reaction was more directed towards the star than the movie. But i did stuck to my guns of not getting carried away with the hype of a movie, I was not excited enough to see Dabaang. And it was not till this June i finally managed to catch it on DVD with few friends. I thought movie was strictly average, but Salman was terrific in it. How you wish he can use this star power to get better movies made? But, i digress.

Now, Ra.one is definitely not the first time a super-hero movie is being made in India - Krissh and the most recent, Robot are the two flicks which straight away come to mind. But in a way, Ra.one could very well start a new genre of super hero films in India. Our mythology is full of such characters and i believe, Ra. one is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more stories to be explored, more super heroes (and hopefully super-heroines) which can be translated on the screen. It just have to be started.

Here are some of the reactions and questions i have heard in the past few weeks leading up to Ra.one release. My reactions to the same:

Q1: Ra.one will be a flop. There is too much marketing going on, SRK is everywhere.
A1: Sounds trashy to start with... SRK has always been all over. This is nothing new, it has been the same since past 15 years or so. He has danced at weddings, promoted brands ad-nauseam, and have hosted abysmal TV Shows (Remember Jor ka Jhatka early this year!). But still the brand value has remained untouched. Like it or not, that is star power. Too much marketing has never affected fortunes of a film. In fact, in an industry where the box-office collections have become restricted to first week business...it becomes even more imperative to do aggressive marketing.

Q2: Ra.One is too costly. It can't recover 150-200 crore as investment.
A2: This could just be partly true, specially if the initial reaction to the film is negative. However, the movie has already been sold for 35 crore for TV rights and going further, in association with 40 brands, the producers have pocketed another 45 crore. This takes the total revenues to 80 crore already. So in net, it just requires 100 odd crore to break even, which is predicted to be the revenues in the first 5 days considering the advance bookings in over 1500 screens in India and abroad. So the loss is out of question. The only point remains, will it be able to make profits?

Q3: Ra.one has scenes copied from Hollywood films. Even the poster is copied from Batman Begins.
A3: This is true, but then when we have not copied from Hollywood films? The list is endless. What should matter in the end is how the movie engages you in its 150 minutes running time. I am not supporting plagiarism, but there have been worse Hindi movies made even after copying. At least, Ra.one attempts to take the genre and the work in it seriously and most importantly, to a next level.

Q4: What is this craze of Ra.one all about - video games, merchandise, T-shirts? Just release the damn movie.
A4: It is not maniacal approach to promote a movie, it is a simple two-fold marketing strategy. First, to get in revenues before the movie releases and secondly, to create enough buzz in keeping the audience engaged before they finally watch it in big screen. In Hollywood, for years super-hero films are preceded and succeeded by such marketing activities. We are just seeing the first instance of it here in India. Being first doesn't mean you are wrong, it means people are just getting used to it.

Q5: What's a big deal in seeing Ra.one? It is just another Diwali release.
A5: That solely depends on how big movie buff you are and exactly which section (mass entertainment or classy cinematic experience) your priorities lies. Ra.one is important from a futuristic point of view. If this works, we will have more super-hero films made, with bigger special effects and better technologies. If this works, we will have a window open to a genre which is neglected in our cinema so far. If this works, may be...just may be, we will have better action movies made in India.

PS: Was no fan of Farhan Akthar's Don (2006) but the second trailer of Don 2 looks promising. Car chases, free falls, guns and the girls. Bring Christmas Early!

2 comments:

mêlée said...

hey I liked the Don2 trailer :) and waiting to watch it!

Suruchi said...

my god, now we have to soooo wait for your review:-)
and bang on, on all the questions we would have wanted you to answer!