Boycott Pathaan: Why boycott calls are justified?

    The meeting between UP CM Yogi Adityanath and the Bollywood fraternity was in the news for some time. The comments made by actor, Suniel Shetty are still circulating on the internet. During the meeting, Shetty brought the boycott Bollywood hashtag and requested CM yogi Adityanath to solve the issue. He requested CM yogi to discuss the issue with PM Narendra Modi.

    This is where a new debate has arisen on social media. Many are slamming Shetty for his statements as they portrayed that both yogi and Modi are running the hashtag. After Shetty made these statements, the issue took a political turn. Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Samajwadi Chief Akhilesh Yadav trained their guns towards the saffron party and added fuel to the narrative saying BJP was behind the boycott Bollywood hashtag.

    Is BJP really behind this? If not who is? Why is Bollywood speaking up about this now? Is this related to Pathan? Let’s look at it now.

    2022 was a disaster for Bollywood. This is the industry which once delivered blockbusters one after the other for decades. Bollywood is or should I say was…. the face of Indian cinema for a long time. Is that changing now? As for now, we have to say yes.

    While several south Indian movies like RRR, KGF Chapter 2, Vikram, and Ponniyan Selvan became blockbusters, Bollywood struggled to give at least one clean hit.

    Sure Kashmir Files, DRushyam 2 and Bhool Bhulaiyya 2 were blockbusters. But they all were different. Kashmir Files was never seen as a Bollywood movie. In fact, a Bollywood lobby worked against the movie to make it a box office failure. But they failed.

    As for Bhool Bhulaiiya 2, the movie had Karthik Aryan in the lead role, replacing Akshay Kumar from the predecessor. Unlike several nepo actors, Karthik has no background. This worked in the favor of the movie. Sure, similar to many Bollywood movies, Bhool Bhulaiiya 2 had jokes mocking Hindu culture. But the team hid it from the trailers and promotional activities. By the time movie’s Hindu phobic content gained traction, the movie completed its run. In this way, Bhool Bhulaiiya escaped from becoming a flop.

    As for Drushyam 2, the movie didn’t have a big budget. Even its lead actor, Ajay Devgan’s previous film, Thank God was a dud at the box office. The actor was slammed for mocking Hindu Gods in that movie. But still, Drushyam 2 became a massive hit. Why? Because of its promotion, content and the predecessor’s reception.

    What does this tell you? It tells you that the content is the king. If the content is good, the movie will work no matter what.

    As for BJP orchestrating a boycott of Bollywood, if that’s the case, then how did Samrat Pruthviraj become a massive disaster? The movie was about a valiant Hindu ruler. It was directed by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi who acted, produced, wrote and directed the cult series Chanakya. The movie was promoted by none other than Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Along with Shah, CM Yogi Adityanath, RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and Sah karyavah Dattatreya Hoshabale promoted the movie by praising it. Was it helpful? No. This proves that BJP was not behind in orchestrating this movement.

    Then who is behind this movement? It’s difficult to answer. Because if we observe the situation, looks like the people are leading the movement. You may ask Why? Aren’t these the same actors whom Indians have been watching for decades? Didn’t They make them stars? Yes.

    But this took a jolt at the time of lockdown. The country was confined to their homes during the covid period. That’s when the news came out that Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide. Let’s not get into what really happened. But the response from the industry really changed its fate. The actors who once were considered demigods became a liability. Akshay Kumar who is known for delivering hits gave consecutive flops. Even Aamir khan didn’t escape from this. Even though his Thugs of Hindustan bombed at the box office, it collected the biggest number for the opening day at that time. The first-day collection was over 50 crores. But his latter film Laal Singh Chadda collected barely 10 crores on the first day.

    These examples show how the audience are rejecting the Bollywood bigwigs. Be it Khan or Kapoor or Yash Raj movie or Karan Johar movie…..the end result is just another debacle after another.
    You may ask why? The answer is simple. The controversy surrounding Sushant’s murder at the time of lockdown made the audience think about who they were encouraging. Several YouTubers and Twitter handle like gems of Bollywood started to expose Bollywood’s Hinduphobia and pro-Pakistan mindset.

    Despite several promotional strategies, Bollywood is not able to bring the audience into theatres to watch their movies.

    So are they laying a new plan now? Is Suniel Shetty laying the ground for that? After the 2022 debacle, 2023 has become a do-or-die for Bollywood. If they don’t perform well, they’ll perish.
    The first big test for them is Pathaan. Shah Rukh starrer Pathan movie is releasing on January 25. It is part of the Yash Raj spy universe. It means Sharukh’s Pathan, Salman’s Tiger and Hrithik’s War are all interconnected. Tiger and War movies were blockbusters and given the recent trend, there are doubts about Pathan’s performance.

    Is this the reason why Bollywood raised the boycott Bollywood hashtag? One cannot be never sure. But given the promotional tactics of Bollywood, one can never deny that this could be their promotional strategy.

    But the industry’s intentions in raising this issue are clearly opaque. A few weeks ago, when the Mamata Banerjee government organised a film festival, several bigwigs from Bollywood attended the festival. Actors like Shah Rukh Kha, Amitab Bacchan and a few more attended the event.

    When we look at the people who attended the meeting with Yogi Adityanath, there are no big wigs. If the industry really wants to deal with this issue with the government, why didn’t the biggies take part in the meeting? Are they having any other plans?

    Whatever it is, Suniel Shetty’s comments have already started to backfire. Netizens are slamming Suniel Shetty’s comments. Why wouldn’t they? When Sanjay Dutt was arrested on allegations of being part of the 1993 Mumbai blasts……many Bollywood celebrities came out in support of him. They held placards and expressed their support for the actor.

    But the same industry maintained stoic silence when T Series founder Gulshan Kumar was brutally murdered by Pakistani Islamic terrorists. Reports emerged that D-Comapnay was involved in this murder. Police accused Bollywood music director Nadeem paid for the murder. Later Nadeem fled the country and stayed in the UK.

    One doesn’t have to say the grip Dawood has on Bollywood. Several movies were made which depicted Dawood on a positive note. Don’t get surprised. This is the same industry which came out in support of Pakistani actors and cricketers. After 2016, when Pakistani actors were denied offers, Salman khan jumped in support of them and told everyone to see actors from a different perspective.

    After 2008, shah rukh khan vouched for Pakistani cricketers and said they were the best cricketers in the world. He expressed disappointment for not letting them play IPL. Farhan Akthar didn’t know the full form of CAA but came out in support of the tukde tukde gang. How one can forget Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan’s intolerant remarks?

    While all these were not noticed by Indians at that time, the lockdown made them view it from a different perspective.

    All their acts were widely circulated on the internet. Because of Bollywood’s actions, a section of Indians have started to consider them as Hindu-phobic, pro-Pakistani and anti-Indian. This led to boycotting Bollywood.

    So in a way, boycotting Bollywood is the result of Bollywood’s own actions.

    As for Pathan, while the teaser didn’t get as many views as expected, Besharam Rang got record views. Because of the controversy, the song got huge traction. The team released another song. This again didn’t get as many views as the first song as it didn’t land in any controversy.

    So the team may be using controversy as a marketing technique to promote the movie.

    By raising the boycott Bollywood trend, the industry tried to paint BJP and its followers in a negative colour. Will it work in favour of the movie? We have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure….as long as Bollywood follows the anti-India narrative and sings a pro-Pakistani tune, it has no future.

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