Reacting to the cancel culture, Javed Akhtar had told ETimes that this is just a passing phase. “It is very evident that it doesn’t work. If the film is good and is appreciated by the audience, it will work. If it is not good and not appreciated by the audience, it won’t work. I don’t think this kind of announcement of cancel culture and boycott works at all.”
Film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh who was ‘disappointed’ with ‘Brahmastra’ gave it 2 stars. When ETimes contacted Adarsh, he said, “My opinion is my personal opinion. I did not like the second half of the film. I felt there was more focus on the love story than on the main issue in the second half. I wanted to see that, but it was lacking. So I was disappointed with the second half. In terms of business the film is doing very, very well. In the first three days, it was fantastic, but the examination begins from today, like it is for every film on a Monday. So tomorrow we will get to know the exact figures.”
Adarsh has been receiving flak on the internet for speaking in favour of films that tanked at the box office and were unanimously panned by critics. He has also been criticised and called biased for disliking several blockbuster films including ‘Brahmastra’. When asked about his consistent low ratings of recent Bollywood releases, he said, “There is a vast difference between what critics like and what audience likes, which means that one has to bow down to the box office. We have to respect the audience.
Janta ne jo bol diya wahi final verdict hota hai. I completely respect the audience and I bow down to them. In 42 years of my career, I have produced films from Rajesh Khanna to Amitabh Bachchan to the Khans to Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt also. There are times when I have liked certain things, but the audience hasn’t, and vice versa. I respect those differences also. The critics are doing their job, but it is the audience verdict that is final.”
Trade analyst Komal Nahta was confident the film would cross 100 crore in the first weekend. “I think the film will easily touch 300 crore,” he says. “This is a tight slap in the face of #BoycottBollywood trend. I think it is the visual effects that worked in favour of the film. This kind of CGI was never seen before in Hindi films. And also the superhit music, Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt pairing. There is a different level of curiosity after a Bollywood couple gets married.”
Filmmaker Prakash Jha too addressed the increasing boycott of Bollywood movies on social media. “That will keep on happening,” he said to ETimes. “Certain section of people will be against you, not like something that you are doing will be influenced by something, but that has always been there. Now it has become visible, because they can come on social media and talk about it. I will be able to comment on something like this when I have a good great film, whether it is ‘Lagaan’ or ‘Dangal’, and that gets boycotted, and people don’t come to see it, then I will say yes, boycott has an impact. But when you make a weak film, then it’s very difficult to examine, whether it didn’t succeed because of its weakness.
Because boycott toh ho gaya, it used to happen before also. It’s not like cinema shut down. People came in huge numbers to see a film.”
Sunny Deol agrees that opinions are always going to be there. “I’ve been in this industry for so long, so most of my fans will always want something more out of me and will always be praising. And there are certain people who don’t like you, so they will always give negative comments. So, I don’t think one should really go deep into it or go for what it is. And again box office has never got anything to do with this. I myself am a cinemagoer. If I like a trailer, I will go watch it. Nobody is going to influence me. I do read them, but I don’t go too much into detail. And I don’t like to reply because then the whole day I will end up doing that only (laughs). They may get upset,” he said.