Hey Ram: India’s obsession with Radhe
Take a dive into the hit macho movie culture of Bollywood
Trailer of Salman Khan’s new movie Radhe has only been uploaded a few minutes ago but it’s already on the top of the trending chart. To no one's surprise the premise of this story is the same as all the others he has done.
The movies are always set in Mumbai. Villains are always wearing black ray-bans because apparently that is the universal symbol of evil. Also, no one has been able to catch this villain. Then Salman Khan is introduced as the best cop in the world. He will kick-ass, say trademark catchphrases, flirt with the heroine and then the movie will end.
The storyline is cliched but has been working for not just years but decades. The audience doesn’t care that just two brain cells have been used to create the screenplay, they just wait for the lead to macho-punch two dozen men without breaking a sweat.
For actual critics these movies are a nightmare but from a commercial point of view, such action movies are golden-egg laying hens.
Kick released in 2014 earned 231 crores, Bodyguard earned almost 250 crores and Tiger Zinda Hai had a box office collection of 339 crores.
The movie business is centered around profits. Rarely, does a commercially hit star prioritise working on a film that aims to revolutionise the society over a film that makes money.
Also, on a fun note, notice how you remember all the hit-songs of these movies but not their plot?
This is because they conveniently have no plot.
A stark comparison to the Salman Khan level action movie would be those of Akshay Kumar. He has done his fair share of action films and commercial masala films. But on the side he has never shied away from taking on projects that might not be profitable. He has done movies like Toilet – Ek Prem Katha and Pad-Man without caring about his movie superstar image. Nevertheless, these movies also turned out to be commercial hits.
We can’t talk about movies on social topics without mentioning Ayushmann Khurrana. When he acted in Shubh Mangal Zyada Savvdhan, it turned millions of heads. To everyone’s surprise, the Indian audiences were not bigoted towards a film with two homosexual leads as previously thought and the movie did well
This shows that Indian public is ready for tweaks in the cliched commercial hit formula. The change will obviously not be instantaneous, but as long as we have celebs that are ready to take risks, Bollywood can produce interesting storylines that are profitable and are not just action movies.