scorecardresearch
Will the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer 'Shamshera' bring good tidings for a struggling Bollywood?

Will the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer 'Shamshera' bring good tidings for a struggling Bollywood?

A big star and a prominent banner needs to work in order to restore confidence. Especially given the fact that except one movie, almost all high-profile releases this year have struggled to perform well in the box office, affected by the onslaught from Hollywood and movies from the south.  

All eyes are now on the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Shamshera, touted as the next big hope. All eyes are now on the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Shamshera, touted as the next big hope.

 

That Bollywood needs a string of big hits is obvious. This year has been a disappointment for the Hindi film industry with a string of flops at the box-office, with even the stars not having it easy. All eyes are now on the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Shamshera, touted as the next big hope. At a budget of over Rs 150 crore, it has Kapoor playing the lead with Yash Raj Films (YRF) producing this mega project. Set to hit the theatres on Friday, there is a lot riding on its fate.

Over the past few months, films such as Attack: Part 1, Heropanti 2, Runway 34, Jersey­, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Dhaakad, Samrat Prithviraj, Anek and Jugjugg Jeeyo have failed to work their magic, with the only silver lining amongst this string of flops being Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Distributors and exhibitors alike are a worried lot, with the new trend of Hollywood films and the ones from the south taking charge. The concept of a bankable star in Hindi is not a phrase used with any great level of confidence today.

On the face of it, Shamshera with a known star, a huge banner and the expected grand spectacle ought to be a winner. But there are a few hitches. The film has been in the making for a while (it went on the floors before the pandemic) and the protagonist, Kapoor’s last release was Sanju, a blockbuster released in mid-2018. The pandemic has altered viewer tastes quite significantly with the OTT option seemingly more attractive. Besides, YRF has not had it easy with two big failures in Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Samrat Prithviraj. Clearly, the scenario is a lot different from what the folks in the film industry might have bargained for.

“Every big film release is critical for Bollywood, more so when films have been faring badly. Shamshera is important because it has a big star cast apart from being big-budget and a big banner film. All this means, it has the potential to set the cash registers ringing,” says trade analyst Komal Nahta.  

Joining Kapoor in the star cast are Sanjay Dutt and Vaani Kapoor. Film producer and business analyst, Girish Johar is optimistic about Kapoor’s fan following making a difference.

“But the content has to do the talking. The opening weekend is critical and beyond that the content has to take over,” he says. Shamshera is a period film set in the 1800s and the fight for independence. “Obviously, audience tastes have changed during and post the pandemic. It shows up in the kind of films that are today working,” adds Johar.

It is estimated that Shamshera, set to be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, will be viewed in over 3,500 screens in India with another 1,000 coming from the overseas markets. A factor working in its favour is the clear one week run till the next film, Ek Villain is released.

Nahta points out that YRF needs a hit after Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Samrat Prithviraj tanked. “It is important to maintain a hold on exhibitors and keep the enviable equation with satellite channels and OTT platforms intact. After all, this is what helps in fetching huge monies for its films irrespective of their box-office performance,” he explains.

For now, the opening weekend is what will matter.

Also read: Bollywood's bad luck at the box office continues as Akshay Kumar's 'Samrat Prithviraj' drags

Also read: Ranbir Kapoor-starrer 'Shamshera' trailer drops; here’s how Internet reacted