The success of Akshay Kumar-starrer Toilet – Ek Prem Katha has spread cheer for the distributors and exhibitors. The social satire came after the debacle of big-budget films like Salman Khan-starrer Tubelight, Ranbir Kapoor’s musical Jagga Jasoos and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal. The industry was desperate for a hit and Toilet – Ek Prem Katha performed exceptionally well, thereby bringing the industry out of a crisis.
What’s also interesting is it ranks as the fifth consecutive success of Akshay Kumar after Airlift, Housefull 3, Rustom and Jolly LLB 2. It’ll also be the fifth film in a row for the actor to cross the Rs. 100-crore-mark. So has Akshay Kumar become the new darling of distributors?
Girish Johar, film trade and business analyst says that it has always been the case. “He has always been a darling of the distributors. He does as many as 3-4 films a year and has a great success ratio. He’s one of the dependable stars. Exhibitors and distributors look forward to his films since audiences are guaranteed to come for it, rather than actors who do just one film in two years.”
Harveen Singh, distributor from Rajasthan opined, “He has been very carefully selecting his films. He has been delivering something new to the audience, just like how Aamir Khan also gives something different.” Trade analyst Atul Mohan also compares Akshay Kumar to Aamir Khan. He said, “He is the new Aamir Khan. He’s slowly and steadily become the darling of distributors.”
Almost all people we spoke to feel agreed that Akshay Kumar’s choice of films in the past few years has contributed in making him a credible actor. Harveen Singh said, “Akshay Kumar is in his best phase of his career. Since Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, his career has taken a new turn.” Leading distributor Rajesh Thadani also agreed and opined, “He’s one of the bankable stars as his last few films have done very well.” Atul Mohan added to this aspect by saying, “Slowly since the last 2-3 years, he has built a trust among audiences. Audiences now feel that if Akshay Kumar is in the film, then definitely it will be something to watch out for.” Another trade analyst Amod Mehra called his recent track as ‘impeccable’.
Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’s performance at the box office has been great and it’s expected to become Akshay Kumar’s biggest grosser, beating Rowdy Rathore whose collections stood at Rs. 133.25 cr. Trade experts are now looking forward to his upcoming films with renewed vigour. Regarding Akshay Kumar’s 2018 film PadMan, Harveen Singh said, “Just like Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, even PadMan would be different and also of course entertaining.” Rajesh Thadani asserted, “His upcoming films are now expected to fetch a better price.”
Amod Mehra however denies that he’s the new messiah of distributors. He opined, “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is not such a big hit. Akshay Kumar charges a lot. So right now, his films recover money and hence he’s considered as a safe bet. He’s definitely dependable but he’s not at all a darling of distributors. It’s only when his films start doing 200 crore business is when he’ll be considered a darling.” He also felt that if his upcoming films are sold at a bigger price, it might prove detrimental. “If his films are sold for a huge price, then it might incur losses.” However Amod Mehra praised the performance of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. He said, “With Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, he had a difficult subject in hand but he came out with flying colours.”
Prernaa Arora, the film’s co-producer, meanwhile is ecstatic over the performance of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. She said, “Akshay Kumar has always been the darling of the distributors and also audiences. At one time, he used to be known as the ‘Khiladi’ but he realized that times have changed. It is indeed very courageous of him to take up such entertaining and also socially relevant films and make a mark. He has always been a tortoise, slowly and steadily making his way up to the top.” She also excitedly spoke about PadMan, which is also co-produced by her. “With Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, we have realized that audiences are ready and open for such films. PadMan is also going to be a film to watch out for, despite being based on a taboo topic,” she signed off.