Boycott Bollywood – a slogan that people did not take seriously until Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise. For the longest time, Bollywood took its audience for granted. The industry made fun of their belief and social value while providing stale content in the name of entertainment. However, Boycott Bollywood is no longer just a slogan, it’s slowly turning into a reality that is scaring the Hindi film industry to its core.
Chhapaak vs Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
Remember the clash between two important films that were released in 2020? While on one side, Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone’s ‘Chhapaak’ was going to hit the theatres, Ajay Devgn was too prepared for a tough box office fight with his ‘Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior’. While Deepika’s Chhapaak had the support of the film industry and a PR agency behind it, Ajay Devgan was disliked by people not for his acting but for his Vimal advertisement.
What does ‘Boycott Bollywood’ have to do with the release of these films? Well, the trend soon turned into a reality after Deepika Padukone reached JNU for a publicity stunt. She sympathised with those protesting against the nation’s interests. This is exactly where she failed. Despite the good performance, fresh content, and amazing storyline, the movie fell flat at the box office which means that the propaganda backfired badly. On the contrary, Tanhaji performed exceptionally well and was declared a superhit.
At the time when the anti-CAA protests were at their peak, Deepika reached the left’s stronghold JNU and joined the protests to make people realise that she understands their ‘pain’ and feels for them. People, however, understood that it is nothing but a publicity stunt and called for a ‘mass boycott’ of the film which ultimately benefited ‘Tanhaji’ immensely.
The public was fed up with the garbage being served in the name of Bollywood for so many years. What happened with ‘Chhapaak’ was nothing but the years-long frustration of people as they were being served garbage in the name of entertainment for years. What added fuel to the fire was the news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate death. It shook the conscience of the whole country and people began openly calling out Bollywood for not allowing the outsiders to shine and if they did, they were made to face consequences like that of Sushant.
‘Boycott Bollywood’ gained momentum
The ‘Boycott Bollywood’ campaign started gaining momentum as the industry was being slammed for nepotism, propaganda-ridden films, and increasing female objectification. The first target of this campaign was Aditya Roy Kapur starrer and Alia Bhatt starrer Sadak2 which faced fierce opposition and humiliation on YouTube. Even today, its trailer is considered one of the most disliked videos on YouTube. The primary reason was Mahesh Bhatt because was in the news for all the wrong reasons. He was believed to spread misinformation about Sushant Singh Rajput that led to Sushant being thrown out of multiple projects.
With the success of Sooryavanshi, it appeared that this campaign will no longer exist. But then appeared films like 83, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui and Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, based on the life of Gangubai Kathiawadi, who ruled the infamous streets of Mumbai for so long, couldn’t manage to get labelled as a hit film. Why? Well, it is because it glorified the underworld, projected only men as the culprits, and also hyped prostitution. Similarly, 83 was all about propaganda. The result? It too failed to perform well at the box-office.
Samrat Prithviraj too failed because it was a highly propaganda-ridden film. The unnecessary Urduisation and twisting of facts led the people to boycott Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and it was a total disaster for Bollywood.
Meanwhile, the cinemagoers also had options like KGF, RRR and Vikram and people found it better to spend on these movies rather than on Bollywood’s disasters. Bollywood now has only two options, either improve its ways or keep witnessing the destruction silently.
However, with the films like Shamshera and Lal Singh Chaddha, there seems to be little to no hope for Bollywood to escape from its end and survive after five years.
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