Once considered a permanent fixture on the yearly slate of most production houses, the masala film, a hodgepodge of romance, action and comedy that revolves around a flawless hero, is slowly losing its sheen among Bollywood audiences.
Box-office figures for such films during the last six months suggest that they have missed expectations. This includes the returns on Salman Khan’s latest release “Jai Ho”, a film that has earned the star — credited with the return of these films — his lowest opening in cinemas yet.
Mostly remakes of campy south Indian films that rely on loud dialogue, garish dance sequences and a healthy dose of morality delivered amid much violent action, the genre faded during the 1990’s and the early years of the last decade.
Khan helped return the genre to Bollywood with 2009’s “Wanted” (a remake of the Telugu-language film “Pokiri”). He followed it up with “Dabangg” the following year, then “Bodyguard” and “Ek Tha Tiger”, both of which went on to break records at the box office despite being panned by critics.
Along the way he developed a fanatical fan following and was wooed by every producer and studio. Last year, Khan signed a 5 billion rupee deal (about $80 million) with Rupert Murdoch’s Star India, for the television rights of all his films for the next five years, the first of its kind in Bollywood.