Thursday, May 30, 2024

Boycott Bollywood: Will it kill Hindi cinema?

Needhi Gandhi

The Boycott Bollywood trend that is going on

Bollywood has been boycotted, vilified, abused, and trolled on social media many times last year and in the past few years. These were not organic campaigns; but Twitter handles, social media influencers, and websites that drove them. Such campaigns were timed usually around the release of certain films. 

Recently, in November 2022, SRK’s film Pathan was accused of copying its poster from a Hollywood movie titled Beast. The tweets included the hashtag “Chorwood,” which had been tweeted more than 3000 times. In early December, there were a lot of controversies over the song Besharam Rang from this movie. Twitter was filled with several tweets regarding SRK and his movie.  

Past incidents of Boycott Bollywood

The trend saw a massive peak on August 3, two days before Alia Bhatt’s Darlings. Aamir Khan’s Lal Singh Chaddha also received boycott calls. In August, there were attacks on Brahmastra because it featured Hinduism but promoted Sufism subtly.

Reason for boycotting Bollywood movies

Subpar content

The quality of the content of Bollywood movies that were released in the past few years has obviously fallen. South Indian movies are taking a much bigger share through dubbed versions. Thus, Bollywood filmmakers must rethink their content and strategy of distribution. 

A number of remakes

The main reason for the Bollywood boycott has been the futility of successfully remaking a movie that is already famous and loved among Indian film fans. A Bollywood remake will ruin such stories by turning them into melodramas in ‘Karan Johar style’. Moreover, it offers them nothing new. With less interest in the plot, they only focus on the music and some of the dialogues. If the remake does not excel in any of these areas, it is unable to leave an impact on the audience.  

Rise of OTT

The unexpected growth of OTT, especially after the pandemic, has altered people’s preferences. Tons of content is now available on OTT from everywhere around the world. So now the audience will not give Bollywood movies a chance if the screenplay is poor.

In the post-Covid era, with the rise of OTT, people got cheaper and more comfortable ways to watch movies that suited their preferences. Many movie buffs prefer watching movies alone or with their loved ones in the comfort of their homes on OTT, a month or two after the theatrical release, unless the hype around a movie is so huge that they cannot wait that long.  

Other than this, people are getting a chance to watch better and a wider range of content online for INR 500-1000 for their monthly OTT subscription. No one seems interested anymore in buying a ticket, and people go to the movie halls and come out frustrated if the movie is disappointing.

The OTT platforms facilitate huge variety, and there are many unconventional movies like Darlings and Monica Oh My Darling that were well-celebrated after their direct releases on OTT. 

Poor quality performances

These days, raw performance grips people. Content-driven movies are therefore in focus now. Frivolous movies are no longer drawing crowds the same way they did in the past. For example, Shefali Shah’s performance in “Ajeeb Daastaans,” which got released on an OTT platform, connected her fans to their innermost emotions and offered a cathartic experience. People remember her performance for the way she made them feel. 

The audience wants a strong reason to compel them to visit a movie theater. Boycott calls are at the social media level, but they can impact a movie’s box office collection. Many Bollywood stars are looking worried now. Many of them have already started to voice their opinions against such calls on social media. But South Indian movies are doing quite well, comparatively. And Bollywood is eagerly waiting for that big hit, which is still due. In recent years, Bollywood has failed to choose relevant topics and, thus, has failed to keep its audience glued to the screen. Another reason for their downfall is the excessive number of movies defaming Indian culture as well as promoting ‘woke’ propaganda. The creators, directors, or actors are to be blamed for this. If Bollywood does not improve the storyline of their movies, along with the music, and the cast and if they do not stop remaking already popular movies, audiences will remain disappointed. Such boycott calls are like a word of mouth, and they could have a similar severe consequence for any movie that could be otherwise successful.

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