Tubelight Aftermath - The Director At Fault
Thursday 29 June 2017 12.00 IST
Box Office India Trade Network
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Tubelight has come and is almost gone with the film struggling to be even the biggest grosser of the first half of year if we exclude the dubbed Bahubali. The film is not a box office financial disaster like a Broken Horses, Bombay Velvet, Rock On 2 as the profits in the producers book far outweigh the loss of the distributors. The film was made for 61 crore production budget without fee of male lead Salman Khan and 22 promotion and advertising costs. But the huge problem is the expectations from the film and the prices paid by the all India distributors who will loose around 70% of their investments. The prices paid are crazy as this sort of money is a huge risk with any film and not just Tubelight. The film reminds of Mrityudaata (1997) which also fetched record prices and then lost 70% of its investment. That film was a box office disaster as there was no back up from television and digital rights at that time.  



The difference between Mritydaata and Tubelight is that when Mrityudaata had released the male lead Amitabh Bachchan came back after a five year break and although the super stardom remained within the industry, the public had moved on to younger stars like Sunny Deol and Shahrukh Khan but here Salman Khan is the superstar of the day so something like this should just not happen with Tubelight.  The director has gone wrong and how, probably like no other before. The Eid factor and star power of Salman Khan has hid the directors mess up so far but in the second week there will be no hiding place.


Just two years back Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman Khan and the same director Kabir Khan had come and if we take out Bahubali - The Conclusion (2017) which is a dubbed film and Gadar Ek Prem Katha (2001) as that sort of chest pumping adrealin rush cinema is near impossible for any present filmaker, then Bajrangi Bhaijaan is actually the greatest film this century. Dangal has done more business and even footfalls have gone 20 lakh higher but these things depend on circumstances. Dangal had a three week open run and then when competition did come it was a nothing film like Ok Jaanu. Bajrangi Bhaijaan came in the second week of Bahubali - The Beginning when that film had started to work in Hindi markets and then in week three and four there was Drishyam with Ajay Devgn and Brothers with Akshay Kumar respectively. All things equal its pretty much certain that Bajrangi Bhaijaan would easily add those 20 lakh extra footfalls and more, and on equal ticket pricing the box office number also goes higher.


So basically you have give the greatest film in modern Hindi cinema and then this low of Tubelight. When there is nothing wrong with Bajrangi Bhaijaan why change the treatment of your next film so much in terms of the screenplay. The scenes written are so slow and long that the emotional impact that the film was trying to ride on is irrelevant as the audience is so bored that they are not bothered and feel for no one in the film. It is possible that the screenplay and story of Bajrangi Bhaijaan was by the writer of the Bahubali films and here the director and his team were left to their own devices and the audience got a film which had the pace of Kabul Express, New York and Phantom. These are generally non cast films especially as far as male leads are concerned so you can even get away with it sometimes but its not going to happen with Salman Khan. This same sort of think of happened to Rakesh Omprakash Mehra who made a solid Hindi motion picture with Bhaag Milha Bhaag which was far superior than any of his work prior to that but then slips back to typical foreign cinema of his previous films with Mirzya.


The industry is in a bad state as far as box office collections go and after Tubelight a a big HIT is the order of the day. But there is a silver lining with digital which is the golden egg at this moment. Amazon and Netflix have come in such a way to India that even a mega disaster like Noor is close to recovery thanks to digital. A Tubelight picks up a huge 85 crore for digital rights which is more than its budget including PA. The box office fate of Tubelight could have repercussions on that but the fact they were prepared to pay the huge amount means they believe big films can convert into large subscriptions.


Amazon and Netflix have come to India to convert the huge Indian audience into their subscribers. They are even throwing money at even web series and small films but in time they will find out this does not work in India as the larger audience which they want does not care as we have seen with television numbers of small films. Its big films that have to keep this digital story alive and for that you can't have directors like Kabir Khan and others making such huge mistakes. This digital story has come as a life saver for the industry and to kick this in the teeth could spell doom considering the way the theatre going audience for Hindi films is going down.



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