Since Chak De India SRK fans were waiting for a film that could make them proud and give them back their lost voice. With last few films of him the hope was dwindling when the news of Fan came to surface. With the rocking trailers it was all set to be a universally accepted film.
But what went wrong with Fan? Or did something really go wrong as far as the business is concerned?
Let’s analyze the scenario from two different angles:-
First, business-wise the film is surely not performing as expected. Now going by the Srk fan-base the situation is indeed shocking in the world of cinema. Let’s do a simple math to explain my statement.
Roughly amongst 127 cr Indian population atleast 2.5cr (only 0.5%) must definitely be a loyal fan of megastar SRK going by a conservative estimate. Assuming average ticket price is Rs 100 then a SRK film would/should effortlessly gross 250cr, which is around 190 cr net*. Previously, trash Happy New Year earned 201 cr net (in 2014) & a bigger trash Dilwale earned 148 crnet(in 2015). It can be safely assumed that only SRK fans would take the risk to watch the above mentioned films. Thus the collections of these films are garnered by Srk fans almost.
But now one of his better films Fan is struggling to reach even the “coveted” 100 cr (predicted life-time).
So is Srk’s fan base declining? Some are giving bromide statements like Srk’s comments on intolerance is the main culprit. Or maybe it is the perfect example of the story of the kid who falsely cried wolves. With strings of trashy films audience made up their mind to ignore this one as well which actually turns out to be good.
But, to be honest if we check the box officehistorically it’s being observed Srk’s good films have all bombed at the box office except for Chak De India. From the cult KabhiHaanKabhiNaa to Dil Se to Swades the films weren’t embraced wholeheartedly when they were released. They grew with times and now have reached respectable status. The generic conclusion to the trend showed that loyal fans of Srk were more inclined towards his entertaining mainstream films rather than his appreciable films. With Fan can we seal this logic for once and all that Srk fans are inclined towards his bad films more than his good ones?
Wait, here comes my second argument which comes from a different observation that shows majority of Indian cine-goers are not open to dark and layered cinema. Rarely a film like this comes in bollywood which is kind of meta-film and shows deconstruction of stardom and that too by the star himself. At some point the reel and real merges uncannily as the director starts being a hard-hitting critique of a society that thrives on star worship. Do the trade really believed that such a SRK film that is devoid of regular songs and typical female lead will be lapped up by the mainstream audience. With AnuragKashyap & Vishal Bhardwaj starting the trend in the mid-2000s many directors are coming up with interesting subjects that gives a glimpse of the darker, flawed side of human emotions or society.
Those films become too harsh and brutally real for Indian audience to digest who were once dished with utopian entertainment. It must be admitted that audience choices are changing thus making films like Badlapur, NH 10, Haider, Talvar, even star-studded Talash a success but when we see the revenues they are not as big as universal hits like Pk,3 idiots, bajrangibhaijaan or even a chennai express. That clearly shows that base for dark films are small albeit growing and in such a universe Fan is a big success story. The film does have loop holes but at a thematic level if a film like Fan touches 100cr net in India that should give the stars the kick to accept more such different and adventurous subjects. In that sense Srk should be credited to take the bold decision of doing this film and so did Aamir with Talash in 2012. They should be doing more such films and pushing their boundaries as well as audience preferences. With changing milieu and access to various content audience would gradually accept such films in more numbers thus keeping the producers impetus to put money on risky subjects. And I believe it is coming??
So Fan succeeded or not is a matter of perception and its high time film media needs to educate people that not all films reaching 100 or 200 cr are good films or hit films… Each film has its target audience, appeal and differentiating factor. And therein lies success of a film like Fan or most of the films of directors like Kashyap, Bhardwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, SriramRaghavan and ilk.
P.S : By the way did I miss out in mentioning about visual spectacle The Jungle Book which is on his dream run at the Indian box-office?
*Net value is the amount which is received after deducting various taxes. When trade talks about box office collection in India they go by the net value and not gross.