'Hollywood is beating Bollywood'. 'Bollywood would be finished just like European cinema'. 'Indian filmmakers need to pull up their socks'. 'Star system is set to end sooner than later'.
"No," says a prominent exhibitor, "You can't judge an entire industry by the success or failure of a film. In all fairness and good credit to The Jungle Book, it was still as Indian a film as it can. It was set in Indian milieu, had Indian characters and the best of it all, was dubbed by Indian celebrities. Yes, it has done huge business but half of it is coming from the dubbed versions."
This can be evidenced from the fact that the second best Hollywood release in India is Captain America: Civil War and that is looking at a lifetime of around Rs. 55 crores. That's a huge distance from The Jungle Book.
"On the other hand Deadpool didn't even taken an opening, despite all the hype. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened well but then fizzled. Kung Fu Panda 3 did reasonable business due to franchise recall, and that's about it," informs a trade expert, "So we basically have five films doing decent to extraordinary business in 5 months. It is just that the phenomenal success of The Jungle Book has ended up building a perception that Hollywood is here to rule. It is like Slumdog Millionaire doing well in the West and making one believe that Indian films are there to rule in overseas too. That never happened, right?"
"There is junk made in Bollywood but then same is the case with Hollywood too. Do you know that more than 50 notable films have released in the West as well since the beginning of the year? On the other hand, we are talking about only a handful of films that have made some sort of impact in India," says a senior member of the Bollywood film fraternity, "I can bet that you won't be able to name even 10 other prominent Hollywood films. See, we have a habit of pressing the panic button for no rhyme or reasons. Also, it gives media people like you some spicy headlines. We are here to stay and you will see that."
This could well be true as the only big ticket films of 2016 that one can count are X-Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Legend of Tarzan, Ice Age: Collision Course, Jason Bourne, Inferno and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. On the other hand Bollywood has its own biggies like Housefull 3, Sultan, Dishoom, Rustom, Mohenjo Daro, M.S. Dhoni, Shivaay, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Befikre and Dangal in the offering, all of which are expected to sail past the 100 crore mark quite comfortably.
Well, may the best industry win!