Could Akshay Kumar Starrer be a game changer for Bollywood like Crack & Master was for the South?


Could Akshay Kumar Starrer Bell Bottom be a game changer for Bollywood? (Image credit: IMDb)

Can Akshay Kumar do a Vijay? Or Ravi Teja? Since the Bollywood superstar announced Bell Bottom for a theatrical release on July 27, excitement has been building. Fans and industry watchers alike have applauded the move. The hope that, if the practicalities of the pandemic allow, Akshay’s gesture will initiate the first step towards box office normality for the Hindi film trade.

After all, the trade has maintained for a while that, with vaccination in place and with the world cautiously opening up in the latest phase of unlocking, all it would take for the Hindi film trade to kick-start a once again it is a great success. This, in turn, required a movie with the right entertainment quotient, pre-release hype, and, most importantly, a star who didn’t have to try too hard to draw a crowd.

Bell Bottom, starring Akshay Kumar, is a retro spy thriller set in the 80s, shot primarily in the UK, blends stylish spy action with pop patriotism drama, is based on a true story and its co-stars Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi and Lara. Dutta.

The combo would seem instantly salable, total entertainment. Bollywood hopes that Bell Bottom will have the same impact that Ravi Teja’s Krack had for the Telugu film industry and Vijay’s Master had for Tamil cinema in January, when the big screen trade in the South made a valiant attempt to return to the business even as the first attempt to unlock theaters happened this year.

For the record, “Krack”, made with a budget of around 16 million rupees and released on January 9, achieved more than 60 million rupees in just about four weeks, after obtaining the first weekend collection of about 23 million rupees.

The release of Master, coinciding with Makar Sankranti (January 14), was an ambitious move, and the film is rumored to be budgeted at around 125-135 crore rupees. “Master” did it spectacularly despite the pandemic protocol in theaters and the public was wary of venturing. The film grossed 250 million rupees worldwide according to India Today.

Of course, subject to movie theaters opening, some other Hindi-language movies were scheduled for theatrical release in July. Before the second wave of Covid arrived, “Shershaah”, starring Sidharth Malhotra, was announced for July 2.

Ayushmann Khurrana was scheduled to return to theaters with Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui on July 9, as was the modest budget comedy “14 Phere” with Vikrant Massey and Kriti Kharbanda. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, starring Alia Bhatt, “Gangubai Kathiawadi” was scheduled for release after Akshay’s Bell Bottom on August 30.

None of the previous films that were listed as possible releases in July 2021 have officially confirmed their release as of now, and no one in the trade wants to risk guessing if these films will be delayed again. Perhaps, the creators fear that the theatrical business across India will not open wide enough for the first half of July or, even if it did, audiences will not be convinced enough to venture into the aisles.

In the best case, theaters could open by the end of July given the current situation (to understand the immediate situation, Maharashtra, one of the most important national markets for Bollywood films, recently said that the regular opening of cinemas it would occur only in Level One areas, while Level Two areas would have 50 percent occupancy).

At Akshay’s Bell Bottom, it’s interesting to note the fact that July 27, the date chosen for its release, is a Tuesday.

Which means that Akshay and his battalion of producers (Vashu and Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani) have given each other a three-day head start. This is expected to generate word of mouth during Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before the weekend begins on Friday 30. For a film like “Bell Bottom”, which is not a conventional mainstream artist, a little enthusiasm would seem like the right thing to do, at the time of super cautious unlocking.

Akshay currently has half a dozen movies lined up. Of these, “Bell Bottom”, “Sooryavanshi”, “Atrangi Re” and “Prithiviraj” were scheduled for release in 2021. Rumors suggesting that Akshay is eager to publish “Sooryavanshi” about Gandhi Jayanti have not been confirmed or denied. . Two other films by the superstar, “Bachchan Pandey” and “Ram Setu,” are scheduled for next year, and Akshay has reportedly completed almost all filming except “Ram Setu.”

A quick scan of that list tells you right away that Akshay’s focus with his releases this year and next is interesting on total entertainment.

Subject to the realities of the pandemic, if Bell Bottom starts the Bollywood theatrical trade on a positive note, it would certainly give Akshay an edge over the other superstars. At a time when OTT has grown rich in the absence of the movie business, Akshay’s superstar Salman Khan recently learned the hard way from Radhe that the digital space doesn’t care much about the power of traditional Bollywood stardom. Akshay himself would also know. He had released “Laxmii” on OTT last year and the impact was far from a box office success.

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