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Decoding The Gadar 2 Phenomenon: Is The Theatre Audience Back For Good? The 'hand pump man' has pulled off the unexpected. No one expected the Sunny Deol Ameesha Patel starrer Gadar 2 to make any sort of impact on the box office, let alone break records.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Not only did the film release, but contrary to all expectations, has broken box office records.

The 'hand pump man' has pulled off the unexpected. No one expected the Sunny Deol Ameesha Patel starrer Gadar 2 to make any sort of impact on the box office, let alone break records. There wasn't really any pre-release hype around the film, it was just a sequel one had heard of, in the beginning when the trailer had released thinking that this was probably not true, maybe a fan made trailer or just an announcement to create some buzz but no real film was going to come out of it. However, not only did the film release, but contrary to all expectations, has broken box office records.

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Directed by Anil Sharma, the film released on August 11 to capture the Independence Day mood. The six day net collection of the film has been 263.48 crore INR, with the August 15 collections being a record breaking 55.40 crores INR. The film has already become the second highest grossing movie of the year, after Pathaan, which had made over 540 crores INR in India. One of the people who had predicted this was film trade analyst Komal Nahta, who had said that film shall be a super hit and collect over 200 crores in its first week.

Manish Gupta, known for directing the movies One Friday Night (2023), The Stoneman Murders (2009) and Darna Zaroori Hai (2006) and writer for Sarkar (2005) and Section 375 (2019) feels that Gadar 2 has been a hit because it has all the ingredients that the masses love- patriotism, Pakistan-bashing, etc plus the equity of the original film Gadar which was a blockbuster and is still very much alive in the audience's memory.

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But does he consider this a one-off phenomenon for the theatres or does it mean that the audience is back in movie halls for good?

"Eventually, theatrical viewing of films will become a premium experience that will be patronized mostly by the privileged upper class. Masses will continue to watch most films on OTT because it's way more convenient and cheap. However, every now and then, there will be that special film that'll bring masses to the theatre," Gupta believes.

But this isn't a phenomena restricted only to Gadar 2 or Pathaan. Akshay Kumar's OMG 2 and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani have delighted theatre goers, which word of mouth spreading the news all over, apart from reviews on social media ofcourse. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani has been a game changer for Ranveer Singh, who's earlier films such as Cirkus and Jayeshbhai Jordaar didn't do well, and those who have seen the movie loved not only his role but the concept overall. In 12 days, the film made 113.68 crore INR. The satirical drama OMG 2, sequel to 2012's OMG- Oh my God! has made 80 crore INR and has been produced by Cape of Good Films, Ashwin Varde, Vipul D Shah and Rajesh Bahl.

Kumar also thanked the audience on social media, putting out a post saying, "A big thank you to our audiences for all the love for #OhMyGadar and giving us the greatest week in Indian Film History! Pyaar aur aabhar (Love and gratitude) #Gadar2 in cinemas #OMG2 in cinemas."

Another film which was severely criticized for multiple reasons, Adipurush, had also surprised everyone with kits box office collections. The epic fantasy, a retelling of the Ramayana, directed by Om Raut, starring Prabhas as Raghav (Rama), Kriti Sanon as Janaki (Sita) and Saif Ali Khan as Lankesh (Ravana), shocked everyone by earning a whopping INR 340 crore in its opening weekend, crossing the record set by SRK's Pathaan, which earned INR 313 crore on its opening weekend.

So what's missing in Bollywood which some of these films had?

According to Prashen H. Kyawal, Creative Producer of Rakkhosh (Netflix) and Post Producer of Kathal (Amazon Prime) and Chhorii, Gadar 2 is a testimony to Bharat, the other India. Through its massive success it proves the abundant love and money Bharat has to offer for the film industry.

"It clearly shows that cinema is not dead, but Bollywood is not able to reach Bharat. They are stuck in unrelatable stories closer to the multiplex audience only," Kyawal says.

The author can be reached at bkabir@entrepreneurindia.com and Instagram.com/kabirsinghbhandari

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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