Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Is Shah Rukh Khan's movie Pathaan too late to the shared universe party even though it has the potential to change the industry?

 If Pathaan is successful, it may forever alter Bollywood. If Shah Rukh Khan's film actually makes a boatload of money, it would be easier to achieve multi-starrers with A-list actors, regional unity, and cross-border appeal.

India is finally catching on to the idea of shared universes in movies, more than a decade after Kevin Feige and the Marvel team introduced it to modern audiences. However, despite the fact that Pathaan is primarily being watched for reasons related to Shah Rukh Khan, it is essential to keep in mind that the movie is practically a test for in-house shared universes.

We have had two major attempts so far to create franchises that are interconnected. Both of these attempts were made retroactively, probably around the time when Marvel was at its peak. The first Singham film directed by Rohit Shetty was released in 2011; however, it wasn't until 2018's Simmba that he first hinted at his larger-than-life plans. The buildup came to an end with the movie Sooyavanshi, which was released in 2021. It brought together Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh, and Akshay Kumar on the big screen and changed a lot. Shetty will keep expanding the franchise on streaming with the Indian Police Force, led by Sidharth Malhotra, and a new film that Ranveer recently said will blow the audience away.

In another location, producer Dinesh Vijan made the decision to expand the universe that was first established in the successful horror film Stree; however, this project has not quite taken off in the manner that they would have liked. The commercial underperformance of Bhediya from the previous year was what really raised some eyebrows, despite the fact that Roohi bombed and received harsh criticism from critics. Things got so out of hand that they stopped calling it a horror comedy at all and instead called it a "creature comedy." They also insisted that despite a reported budget of around Rs 80 crore, a Rs 70 crore gross was worth boasting about.

After his ambitious franchise-starter Brahmastra tapped out with over Rs 400 crore worldwide, a strong number, but only when you consider that it was produced on a reported budget of Rs 400 crore, the producer Karan Johar also resorted to the strategy of blowing one's own trumpet. In a recent podcast appearance, Johar himself discussed how distributors, producers, and other parties split revenue. To begin turning a profit, a movie must gross twice its budget, according to common wisdom. However, in order to instill confidence in the venture, Brahmastra needed to be a more undeniable success because it is anticipated to launch the "Astraverse" series, which will include sequels, spinoffs, and streaming series, according to director Ayan Mukerji. Regardless, Johar and the team continued to post the movie's box office numbers, insisting that reports of a budget of Rs 600 crore were exaggerated and stating that the Rs 400 crore budget would be used for any follow-up.

With the films Kaithi and Vikram, which have made a combined total of over Rs 500 crore, director Lokesh Kannagaraj has been largely successful in creating his own shared universe in Tamil Nadu. The series will continue with sequels to these two films as well as Vijay's yet-untitled Thalapthy 67.

There is a lot riding on Pathaan's shoulders, in addition to the responsibility of reviving SRK's career, with the country's biggest players pooling all of their resources into a franchise model that is arguably losing its sheen abroad as well.

The YRF spy universe, which includes Salman Khan's Tiger and Hrithik Roshan's War action films, will be firmly established by the movie. Anupriya Goenka and Ashutosh Rana reprise their roles from War in Pathaan, which is directed by Siddharth Anand. Salman will also play Tiger, which is more appealing, and Hrithik Roshan will almost certainly make a cameo as Kabir, his classy character. Although the film will feature Shah Rukh, Salman Khan, and Hrithik Roshan in a massive action sequence, which sets the stage for a subsequent film that will only grow in size, nothing in the promotional materials has yet revealed anything.

Certainly, that is the fundamental formula that this "series" has adhered to. Ek Tha Tiger has not held up well over time; It's a corny romantic film that claims to be edgy, but the series didn't really find its feet until Tiger Zinda Hai. The second movie didn't make any of the same mistakes as the first one did. It also didn't have the cringe-worthy comedy and had a spy story that was more grounded. Due to a larger budget, war elevated the action to the next level. However, even at that point, there was no indication of what YRF was planning, perhaps because they were unsure whether or not three male superstars could ever work together in a single film.

In contrast to the West, where the star system started to break down years ago, it has historically been hard for Indian directors and producers to make movies with multiple stars, especially when they need two or more actors of the same height to share the screen. The few occasions when ensemble films actually come together in India are when one star has a noticeable higher profile than the others, whether it's because of egos or disagreements over pay. like the Golmaal or Housefull series.

The success of Pathaan may alter the industry. A much-needed vote of confidence could be given to the star-studded Ramayana and Mahabharata films that they've been teasing for years. And the intersection of franchises is the easiest way to connect the regional language industries. On January 25, we will find out.

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