THERE was a time when a Karan Johar directed movie would generate a lot of excitement and guarantee a big opening weekend at the box office. Even though he celebrated 25 years as a filmmaker at a recent London event, the mood for his first directorial outing since 2016 is decidedly different, with confidence being replaced with unpredictability.
After a couple of postponements, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani will finally be released in cinemas globally on July 28 and a blockbuster hit is no longer guaranteed for Johar.
Even though a lot of money has been spent on it and the trailer has received rave reviews, the romantic comedy starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt doesn’t have the excitement associated with it like his previous directorial outings. That is because he has become public enemy number one with certain sections of Bollywood fans in recent years. Various things have led Johar to having a lot of negativity directed towards him, especially on social media and that may spill over into his soon to be released film. That hatred from some corners will mean many will call for a boycott of this film, despite it having much loved Bollywood legends Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi in the supporting cast.
While in the past, he had a hit rate strong enough to absorb any failures, the same is not the case with Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. The filmmaker has delivered a lot of costly flops as a producer in recent years, which means he needs this film to score big at the box office to make up for those losses. The movie doing well would also help re-establish him after his recent dramatic fall. The budget being obviously high means it needs to clock up huge numbers, which Hindi films haven’t been doing in recent years.
Romance as a genre has also largely done badly in Bollywood in the past decade.
Johar isn’t the only one with a lot riding on this film because lead star Ranveer Singh has also been on a dramatic downward spiral of box office disasters in recent years and is desperate for a hit. Colossal failures 83’, Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Cirkus have seen him go from A-list status to a big career crisis. So, if this film fails, it would do huge damage to the director/producer and its lead star.
The precarious nature of this film hasn’t gone unnoticed by those associated with it. It has seemingly run away from clashes with other films by moving the release date. It also looks like numerologists have been roped in to give some added luck because the original spelling of the title seems to have been changed.
A movie that would have generated a lot of excitement a decade ago, is ultimately limping its way to a global cinema release on July 28. That despite the eyecatching teaser and superb first song.
By the first week of August, we will know if it has resurrected Ranveer Singh’s career and whether Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani will help a filmmaker, who has been out in the cold a way back in. With everything conspiring against it, including movies set to drop on August 11, the signs are not certain. The only one who won’t be worried is Alia Bhatt, who has her debut Hollywood movie due for release on August 11 and remains one of the most in demand leading ladies in India.
All the unpredictability has made the Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani release interesting.