India Insight

How the Bollywood numbers game works

On Nov. 23, along with its usual glut of interviews and news about Bollywood stars, the Bombay Times featured a solemn announcement: “Box Office column discontinued.”

The column, written by Priya Gupta, editor of Times of India Metro Supplements, said it was getting increasingly difficult to get good numbers for how films are doing at the box office because filmmakers and production houses “jack up their numbers.”

“While filmmakers have no hesitation in picking up the phone and trying to convince us about their false data, they will not send formal emails confirming the data as they are scared of subsequent expose,” the column said.

The Times of India is India’s most read newspaper, and its entertainment supplement is a crucial part of the package, often used as a platform for Medianet, the newspaper’s service where individuals or entities can buy front-page coverage.

But the fact that even the Bombay Times was forced to shut down its column goes to show the lack of credible box-office figures in the world’s largest film industry. Figures disseminated by studios and collated by trade analysts and those in the business almost always differ, and there is no credible authority to authenticate these figures.

Movie Review: Krrish 3

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Rakesh Roshan’s third film in the “Krrish” superhero franchise is the film you have been waiting for. It has world-class special effects, some brilliant acting, and a plot so gripping it will keep you entranced for two-and-a-half hours.

I am kidding, of course. There’s nothing of the sort in “Krrish 3”.

The tacky CGI animation — characters flying through walls and catching planes mid-air — reminds you of the special effects in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan” television series two decades ago. Lead actor Hrithik Roshan twitches his facial muscles in his attempt to play an annoying old man, while flexing his biceps to play a younger avatar. And instead of a credible story, the plot of “Krrish 3” involves, among other things, a pen that captures the sun’s rays and brings the dead to life.

Hrithik Roshan does double duty here, playing ageing scientist Rohit Mehra and his son Krishna aka Krrish, who is married to Priya (Priyanka Chopra). All is going well till Kaal, a diabolical villain clearly inspired by Magneto from Hollywood’s X-Men series, makes an appearance.

Bollywood banks on superhero saga “Krrish 3″

Actor Hrithik Roshan returns as Krrish this Friday in the third instalment of the namesake film series, which pits the Indian superhero against a new villain out to destroy the world. “Krrish 3” opens two days before Diwali, India’s festival of lights and traditionally a time of Bollywood blockbuster movie premieres.

The film, made for an estimated 800 million rupees ($13 million), is coming out in 3,600 movie screens across India — a record — and is expected to pull in crowds with Hollywood-style special effects and a healthy dose of Indian “family values”.

“This is a film that appeals to pretty much everyone, and kids especially. They are the ones who will drag the families in,” said Shailesh Kapoor of research firm Ormax Media. “Also, it is the Diwali weekend, and a time when people are looking for entertainment and willing to spend.”

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