Last month, the film industry was in celebration mode after Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan opened to record collections. This month, the mood has turned depressing. First, Shehzada failed to entice and now Selfiee’s box office performance has shocked the industry. Despite starring Akshay Kumar in the lead, it opened at just Rs. 2.55 crores. It barely crossed the Rs. 10 crores mark in the weekend. Sadly, for Akshay Kumar, this is his fifth consecutive theatrical flop, that too in less than 365 days.
With Selfiee bombing at the box office, trade experts discuss whether Akshay Kumar is losing his golden touch: “Every actor, be it Akshay or anyone else, needs to take a lesson that a gap has to be there. You can’t have 6 releases in a year”
We asked trade experts what went wrong with Selfiee. Trade veteran Taran Adarsh said, “Your first impression is your most important impression. In the case of Selfiee, the trailer did not work. They did go all out with the promotions. But somewhere, the masses want a larger-than-life entertainer. The second half of the film was too verbose and had long sequences; it’s not something that the masses want to watch. They want a lot of drama and entertainment. Moreover, except for ‘Main Khiladi’, the rest of the songs didn’t work either.”
Film exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi remarked, “It’s a mystery why the numbers are (so dismal). The premise of the film is interesting. The cast comprised true-blue heroes. Their following is not limited to urban areas but expands to the heartlands as well. Hence, its box office performance confuses you and leaves you a little shocked. The reports of the film are pretty nice. The song ‘Main Khiladi’ had picked up and got a lot of traction. It was all over social media.”
He added, “Maybe, it was the case of the movie not having a cinematic value. Hopefully, it’ll get a lot of love on streaming and television. Recently, we have seen Pathaan raking up big numbers, resulting in people shelling out a lot of their disposable income not just once but a couple of times. It probably was a combination of all these factors put together.”
Trade analyst Atul Mohan was puzzled by Selfiee’s box office outcome, “The film is not bad. Reviews were also more or less positive. I guess the audience has changed now. Pathaan has set a benchmark that films aisi honi chahiye. They don’t want routine films like Selfiee or even Shehzada for that matter. Moreover, the original film, Driving License (2019), didn’t have the ‘Wow’ factor like say a Drishyam.”
Raj Bansal, the owner of Entertainment Paradise in Jaipur, observed, “The success of Pathaan damaged the prospects of not just Selfiee but also Shehzada. But then, the collections shouldn't have been so less. Picture acchi hai ki nahin, woh toh tab pata chalega jab log theatre aayenge. An opening of Rs. 2.50 crores that too for Akshay Kumar is unheard of. I don’t think in the last 15 years, his films have had such collections. The opening of his films on average used to be Rs. 10-12 crores. And Selfiee, meanwhile, came with no competition and was a solo release. Yet, it struggled to reach the Rs. 10 crore mark in its weekend.”
Is Akshay Kumar losing his golden touch?
Akshay Kumar revived the industry with Sooryavanshi (2021), which was the first major film to release in cinemas after the pandemic. Directed by Rohit Shetty, it collected Rs. 196 crores. Sadly, all his 2022 theatrical releases – Bachchhan Paandey, Samrat Prithviraj, Raksha Bandhan and Ram Setu – failed at the box office. As Raj Bansal pointed out, “His frequency of coming with a theatrical release is very high, which no other actor has.”
Taran Adarsh stated, “Akshay Kumar had 4 theatrical releases and 1 OTT release in 2022. Every actor, be it Akshay or anyone else, needs to take a lesson that a gap has to be there. You can’t have 6 releases in a year.”
He also gave examples of other stars to prove how a gap between two releases can be beneficial, “Shah Rukh Khan had a release after 4 years. Salman Khan was last seen in Antim – The Final Truth 1 ½ years ago. Ajay Devgn asked Maidaan to be postponed so that it doesn’t come too close to the release of his ambitious film, Bholaa. Hrithik Roshan’s Fighter will come nearly 16 months after Vikram Vedha.”
Raj Bansal agreed to this point and added, “Also, he is seen in several ads and he roams everywhere to promote his film. Log inko dekh dekh ke bore ho gaye hai. On the other hand, one of the reasons why Pathaan worked was because Shah Rukh Khan returned to the big screen after 4 years. Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan usually have 2 films in a year while Hrithik Roshan has a release every 2 years.”
Akshaye Rathi also agreed on the over-exposure factor, “Selfiee was his 5th release in less than a year and there are more around the corner. I am not saying that he shouldn’t do that many films. During the pandemic, he made many films that got ready and kept releasing one after another, in a short period of time.”
Atul Mohan, however, said that Akshay Kumar doing multiple films in a year used to be his strength earlier, “He anyway came with multiple films. Every year, out of 4 films, at least 3 of them used to be guaranteed hits. In 2019, all his films were huge hits. Maybe this time, there was an overdose of Akshay Kumar and the audience got fatigued.”
Will his next films be affected?
The disastrous fate of Selfiee has made trade wonder how his upcoming films like Soorarai Pottru remake, OMG Oh My God 2 and Capsule Gill will open and fare at the ticket window. Raj Bansal said, “Akshay Kumar does 4-5 films a year and on top of that, many of his films do not have a good script or director, music, supporting cast etc. And this string of debacles will affect his next films.” He also warned, “My advice is that he should take a break from releasing a film for 6 months or a year. He should release his next film at the end of the year. If his next film releases in a few months, its opening will be even more disastrous.”
Taran Adarsh, on the same lines, opined, “He needs to give a gap between releases. His next film shouldn’t arrive in cinemas for a couple of months. Akshay Kumar is a great actor. I loved him in Selfiee. He has proved his potential as a box office performer year after year. He has had bad times even in the past. I am sure this is a phase and he’ll bounce back.”
Akshaye Rathi disagreed, “I feel the fate of every film depends largely on its own merits and demerits. After giving close to 10-11 flops, Salman Khan delivered Wanted (2009) and since then, there has been no looking back in his career. Even for Akshay Kumar, 2007 was one of the spectacular years of his career. After that, he gave several duds but he bounced back. So it’s all about which film you have rather than what your last film has been like.”
Also Read: BREAKING: Selfiee passed with U/A certificate; a record fourth film for Akshay Kumar post-pandemic to be cleared with ZERO cuts
More Pages: Selfiee Box Office Collection , Selfiee Movie Review
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