Kangana Ranaut starrer Dhaakad released on May 20. The buzz was very limited and yet, it was expected that the film might open to respectable numbers. Hence, the industry and trade were left stunned when the day 1 figures were a mere Rs. 50 lakhs. The day two figures were in the same range. The three-day collections were Rs. 1.55 crore while the lifetime of the film will be less than Rs. 3 crore.
What went wrong with Kangana Ranaut’s Dhaakad? Trade experts share their views on whether Kangana’s box office standing is affected after giving 8 flops out of last 9 releases
We asked the trade experts what they think went wrong with Dhaakad. Trade expert Komal Nahta said, “It deserved to fail as it’s such a bad film. People don’t bother about the form as much as they bother about the soul of the film. If there’s no soul, then no amount of uniqueness of the action or that it’s being helmed by a lady protagonist matters as the content was so poor. They did work a lot on the action but to no avail.”
Film trade veteran Taran Adarsh stated, “The content of the film has gone wrong. It’s a routine story with the focus only on action. That is a major drawback. People want wholesome entertainment to balance the heavy proceedings. The action is very stylish and very well shot. But the content has to do the talking and here, the content falls flat. The director has not been able to provide the audiences what they want to watch. Also, the title is very ‘desi’ but the content is very English. Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta have done very well. However, performances alone cannot make the film run.”
Akshaye Rathi, a film exhibitor and distributor, emphasized, “I haven’t seen the film yet. But nothing precedes the mandate of the audience. The audience has given its mandate and not turned up in the kind of numbers that the makers wanted it to. That is unfortunate. It’s a clearly a film that was mounted with a lot of scale and ambition. I truly believe that the success of a film like Dhaakad would have opened so many doors for many such kinds of films involving female actors. Had it done the right kind of numbers with an Alia or a Deepika or others, action films of this size and scale would have been mounted going ahead. I still hope that Kangana and other actresses still attempt to make such films as that’s something that the audience deserves to see.”
Does Dhaakad’s debacle affect Kangana Ranaut’s box office standing?
What has compounded the problem for Kangana Ranaut is that this is her 8th flop. She had a golden run in 2014 and 2015 with the success of Queen (2014) and the super-success of Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). From thereon, she has given 8 flops, except for Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi (2019), which put up huge numbers but was too costly a film. Her 2021 film, Thalaivii, was also a disaster although it was affected by the closure of theatres in Maharashtra and the refusal by multiplexes to play the film. Dhaakad, meanwhile, has released when things are close to normal and yet, opened to such numbers.
So does Dhaakad’s super-debacle affect her box office standing? Komal Nahta replied, “Yes, it does as this is her worst flop. Collections wise, it is one of the worst films in recent memory. It collected Rs. 50 lakhs a day in the weekend. Which mainstream actor’s films open in lakhs? Even B-category films collect better. Hence, this is a very terrible mark on her report card.”
The costs of Dhaakad are reportedly Rs. 70-80 crore. In terms of ROI, does this emerge as one of the biggest flops ever in Hindi cinema, at par with Bombay Velvet (2015)? “100%,” said Nahta.
Taran Adarsh opined, “You are as good as your last Friday. The last few Fridays of Kangana may not have been good. However, she’s a very good actress. She just needs to have those kinds of projects to get the audiences in. Why do we still recall her films like Queen or Tanu Weds Manu Returns with a lot of fondness? That is because those were well-packaged, family films and that got reflected in the numbers. But if you alienate a big chunk of your audience, then it becomes a problem.”
Taran Adarsh continued, “Hits and flops are a part of every actor’s life. But when your collections are so low, then it raises eyebrows and rings alarm bells. If a film flops, people would claim that maybe the film was weak and it’s not the actor’s fault. But jab koi aapki film dekhne hi nahi aaya and the numbers are so shockingly low, then I think there’s a problem. And it’s not like the actor didn’t promote the film. Kangana does very good promotions of her films.”
Rathi disagreed saying, “We have had male stars who have given dozens of flops in a row and then have become superstars. We have also had actors who had glorious runs and suddenly fell from glory. I don’t think that box office standing is the result of films working or not working. It’s the result of films being made well and the actors having a true-blue fan following that brings them to cinemas just with the particular actor’s face on the poster. I am pretty hopeful that not just Kangana Ranaut but all actors deliver successful movies at the box office in the post COVID-era. The entire value chain definitely needs that.”
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 to blame?
Kangana Ranaut’s supporters have been writing on social media that Dhaakad got affected as it released along with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, which is on its way to become a blockbuster. At this, Taran Adarsh retorted, “Sorry, I don’t agree to that. Pushpa released with the gigantic Spider-Man: No Way Home. The Kashmir Files Radhe Shyam ke saath aayi thi aur agle hafte, Bachchhan Paandey ko usne pachaada tha. Toh aise bahane mat dijiye. Also, let’s not say that people don’t have money. If that’s the case, how did Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 manage a weekend of Rs. 55 crore? People also saw Doctor Strange, KGF and RRR at inflated ticket prices. Ek aur ghatiya bahana hai ki pandemic hai. Bhai, maaf karo!”
He added, “I am not saying Dhaakad’s makers have given this excuse. They have been silent and very dignified. However, the industry, in general, tends to give these excuses that film flopped due to the pandemic, examinations, IPL, cold wave, heat wave, monsoons etc. Industry waalo, bahar niklo yeh sab se. Apne gaal par chaata maar ke yeh mat kaho ki hamare gaal kitne laal hai! Accept that the film has been rejected.”
Question mark on the box office of Kangana Ranaut’s future films?
The trade and industry are now concerned about how Kangana Ranaut’s upcoming films like Tejas, Sita - The Incarnation and Emergency would fare. Tejas is her immediate next release, scheduled to hit cinemas on October 5 this year.
Akshaye Rathi, however, explained, “It’s such a weird time that the impact of the film that an actor did previously is hardly felt on the next one. Shahid Kapoor’s biggest hit of his career was Kabir Singh (2019). Immediately after that came Jersey and it didn’t open to Kabir Singh’s kind of numbers. Tiger Shroff’s Baaghi 3 (2020) was one of his biggest openers and it was followed by Heropanti 2 (2022) and which opened to poor numbers. On the other hand, Kartik Aaryan opened at Rs. 12 crore for Love Aaj Kal and then he progressed with an opening of Rs. 14.11 crore with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Therefore, it’s more about the intrinsic value of the film and whether it appeals to the audience enough for them to buy the tickets and turn up in big numbers in the cinemas.”
Taran Adarsh also didn’t agree with the notion, “If Tejas is a good film, then it can work. Amitabh Bachchan bounced back with Aaj Ka Arjun (1990). He had a string of flops, and no one had expectations from this film which was directed by a new filmmaker (K C Bokadia). It emerged as a smashing hit. People wrote off Aamir Khan after Mangal Pandey (2005) but he bounced back. The same happened with Salman Khan before Wanted (2009). If people want to see a film and if the content matches the expectations, then there’s no stopping it.”
Komal Nahta, in agreement, added, “When it’s an established hero or heroine, one film’s opening doesn’t have the bearing of another film’s opening. Also, a lot of people are claiming that it’s the end of her career. That’s not true at all. Such stars have proven themselves far too often to be affected by 7, 8 or even 10 flops in a row. Each film is weighed for what it is worth.”
More Pages: Dhaakad Box Office Collection , Dhaakad Movie Review
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