Hindi movies are going through a tremendous change. The avant-garde style of Bollywood has brought out many gems which are refreshing and innovative. Badhaai Ho, the latest of that genre is conquering the box office as we speak.
After the release of Badhaai Ho (translates to Congratulations) on September 11, it was met with thunderous applause from critics and audiences and kept the cash counter ringing in theatres for several weeks despite the other Bolly potboilers hitting the screen. After the end of sixth weekend, Badhaai Ho has earned INR 39.5 million that is more than SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali 2: The Conclusion, which had made INR 33.5 million. Badhaai Ho’s total domestic collection is now more than INR 1.32 billion and is heading for INR 1.4 billion lifetime business. The success of Badhaai Ho and other coming-of-age movies indicate a demographic change in an otherwise conventional industry.
The usual trope of most commercial Hindi, Tamil and Telegu movies entail three hours of sensory thrills and peddling of stereotypes. The men are all so brawny and macho. The women are hopelessly stupid and passive. And molestation in the name of courtship takes place with a slew of background dancers, happily dancing in orchestrated synchrony.
Wind of change
With the arrival of Chini Kum, Gangs of Wasseypur, Aligarh, October, Haider, English Vinglish, Queen, Hindi Medium, Stree it was palpable that the usual rhetoric was changing. The pre-conceived notion about the audience’s ability to appreciate message-oriented cinema was changing. After the bombing of several glossy, over-the-top films of Khans and Kapoors, it was established stardom garnered decades ago weren’t relevant anymore. Audiences now yearn for originality, quality and integrity.
With increasing literacy and rising cultural consciousness, there are more demands to see entertainment that engages the audiences mind. The smart-phone wielding generation is familiar with Martin Scorsese, Kubrik, Majid Majidi and Roman Polanski’s work. The hauntingly beautiful portrayal of simplistic life is much more relatable to the angst, confusion and mundane pleasures of today’s youth rather than physics-defying action scenes on screen. More cultural exchanges mean more flourishing ideas. The tendency to incorporate universal themes of humanity has become normal.
How did Badhai Ho beat Bahubali 2: The conclusion?
Badhai Ho is a slice-of-life from middle class India. The story revolves around a family where the news of late-pregnancy of the aging housewife brings out negative reaction from rest of the members except the husband. The reluctance of two sons to accept the decision of other individuals shows the farce of supposed modernity in them. May be, this is why it was well received among youths because of the double-lives led by them. Traditions are kept at home and rebellion in street.
Bahubali, on the other hand is larger-than-life saga of a fictional kingdom, full of bloodshed and valour. Outright commercial outing aims to trigger adrenaline rushes of the audience, deigned to keep the watcher over the edge of their seats for three hours. But as they say, don’t underestimate the power of a common man. Even the mighty king, Bahubali had to bow down before him.