The team of Kabir Khan’s directorial 83 waited for nearly two years to release the film as theatres across the country were shut down during the peak of the pandemic. The film starring Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev was released on December 24. However, shortly after its release, India once again saw a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases leading to several governments announcing restrictions and people unwilling to step into the theatres. While 83 was unanimously hailed by critics, the role of the pandemic cannot be overlooked. In a recent interview with Bollywood Hungama, Kabir Khan spoke about the extraordinary love that the film received and his views on the underperformance of the film at the box office.
EXCLUSIVE: Kabir Khan on Ranveer Singh starrer 83 – “The film is a huge victim of the third wave”
When asked about the obvious impact of the Omicron wave on the box office fate of the film, "The point is that the day we released is the day two states went into night curfews. By day two, six states cancelled night shows. By day four, a territory like Delhi shut down all theatres. So obviously that is going to have a huge effect on the film, and the way people are going to have the courage to come out to watch the film because it's not only a question of theatres shutting down, it also creates a whole sense of paranoia and fear. You know, from day one to day 10, it jumped from 6000 cases a day to more than a lakh. So, of course, I think that sense of disappointment that the timing went all wrong. The film has become a huge victim of the third wave. Every film that was scheduled after 83 was moved away. And rightfully so, because everyone realized that it's definitely not the right conditions for a film to be released in."
“Fortunately, we've taken a decision that even till the last two theatres are open, we should be in the theatres and keep running,” he added.
When asked about the unimaginative marketing of the film the director said, “I mean, that is something that I've heard. There were certain conscious decisions that were taken to not push beyond a point because we are at the end of the day living in a pandemic. So we didn't want to be too ambitious in terms of doing too many physical congregations or exposing too many people to large gatherings. In retrospect that is something once the dust settles, one can look at how to sort of analyze how the marketing was, but having said that the film will work with zero marketing also. Ultimately, I think what works is the word of mouth and the word of mouth of this film was extraordinary. So, I still believe that had conditions been alright, even with lesser marketing, we would still get the numbers. I hate to say myself because it's my film, but the word of mouth of this film is unbelievable. Anybody who has ventured into the theatre, they'll only come out singing praises of the film. But that word of mouth will really not be able to lead to anything unless there is access to theatre."
"We cannot at all ignore the effect of the pandemic is huge on this film. But as I said one can’t just sit and keep crying about that, that’s the destiny of the film. But I'm just happy about the fact that it's a film that's now deeply entrenched in the minds of people, whoever's gone and seen it, have really come with amazing love and appreciation for it. I'm sure that will go a long, long way," he added.
Kabir also stated that he was upset with the manner in which certain trade analysts compared box office numbers of 83 with films that released during normal circumstances. He was also upset with the reasoning that the youngsters didn’t take to the film by stating that Lagaan and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag would have failed if that logic was applied.
Kabir revealed that he had not organised a screening for Rajinikanth and the tweet from him was a huge validation for the entire team. He also received a call from Kamal Haasan who spoke to him for half an hour glowingly praising the film. Kabir considers 83 to be his best work yet.
More Pages: 83 Box Office Collection , 83 Movie Review
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