Babli Bouncer director Madhur Bhandarkar talks about films failing at box office, boycott trend

After a gap of five years, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is coming up with a slice-of-life film Babli Bouncer, a story about a female bouncer, essayed by Indian film star Tamannaah Bhatia. Madhur’s last outing Indu Sarkar was received well critically. With Babli Bouncer, Madhur’s attempt is to give the audience a feel-good, family entertainer that will put a smile on the audience’s faces. The film also starring Saurabh Shukla, Abhishek Bajaj and Sahil Vaid in pivotal roles will release on Disney+Hotstar on September 23 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Recently, we caught up with Madhur Bhandarkar and while speaking at length about his upcoming film Babli Bouncer, we also asked the filmmaker for his opinion on why films have been failing to draw the audience to the theatres and the boycott trend.

Speaking about films failing to draw audiences to cinema halls, Babli Bouncer director Madhur Bhandarkar said, “It’s basically a phase. This is not the first time, I’ve seen this phase as a kid also when I worked in a video cassette library. There comes a phase when films don’t do well at the box office. Post-pandemic if you look, definitely there is a dent, a slump in the box office (numbers). For two years people have been watching movies on OTT and now they know that the film will stream digitally in a month or so. The mindset is changed now, viewers have become very choosy about the films they want to see in theatres.” Madhur further averred, “But this is just a temporary phase. It isn’t like no film has done well in the theatres. Films such as Pushpa, KGF, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, The Kashmir Files, Gangubai Kathiawadi, RRR, all these have done well at the box office.” Madhur, however, stated he agrees that less number of films have done well at the tickets window this year while adding “the ratio could have been more in terms of films that have done well.”

READ: Babli Bouncer: Was Tamannaah Bhatia the first choice for film? Director Madhur Bhandarkar reveals | Exclusive

Further, Madhur stated that he is sure this phase will ease out by next month. “For the theatre-going audience, for cine-goers, the theatres have a different charm. During the pandemic, there were so many news articles about theatres shutting down, owners who were running into losses turning cinema halls into banquet halls, but we did survive that phase,” He said. “There will always be a section of audience who will go to the theatres to watch films,” He added, “This is not a phase only in the Hindi film industry, it’s globally, even in the South they are witnessing a slump.”

Praying that in the coming years, things look up for the industry, Madhur said,  “I hope in the coming years it will definitely get better and normal for everyone.”

Talking about whether the boycott trend has any impact on the box office collection of films, the Babli Bouncer director said, “I spoke to several distributors and producers in the last one month, and I can say after having had the conversation that the cancel culture or boycott trend, whatever you say, that definitely does make an impact on the box office. Perspective-wise, it makes a difference.”

Explaining further, he said, “If a particular film is being boycotted, there will be people who don’t want to go and watch the film because ultimately they are cine-goers, they have an opinion.”

“Our industry is a soft target. The first three days of a film’s release are very important. We are into this fragile industry so you obviously want the consumer to go an open heart and mind to see a film. But exhibitors and distributors have told me ‘aisi cheesein hone se humko theatre mein, collection mein pharak padta hai (when such things happen, it impacts the collection at the theatres),” Madhur Bhandarkar concluded.


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