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BY SUGANDHA RAWAL
Gone are the days when Bollywood stars rejoiced entering the Rs 500 crore-in-a-year club. It is the era of the new Rs 700 crore-in-a-year club — all thanks to Akshay Kumar.
Backed by the success of four films — “Kesari”, “Mission Mangal”, “Housefull 4” and “Good Newwz” — Akshay scripted a new chapter in the history of Indian showbiz by minting over Rs 700 crore at the box office in 2019. Now, there’s going to be ripple effect in Bollywood showbiz with the tempering of box office expectations in 2020, and top stars reworking their strategy.
Trade experts credit Akshay’s strategy behind achieving this feat, and believe that matching his hit rate can be tough but not impossible.
“The volume of business is increasing. Now, actors have to focus on content as well as box office performance. The content has to be good, because if the content is appreciated by the audience, then box office numbers also follow… Akshay did four films last year, and all from different genres and touching different topics,” trade analyst Taran Adarsh told IANS.
“It is important for actors to experiment as well. They should try to give audience something new every time. If you give something new to the audience, which is also commercial, then it will get appreciated and get numbers well,” Adarsh added.
According to a list by Bollywood Hungama, Akshay minted Rs 735.42 crore last year, followed by Hrithik Roshan who registered business of Rs 464.85 crore with his act as math wiz Anand Kumar in “Super 30” and mega-hit “War”.
In fact, Riteish Deshmukh had ‘dhamaal’ at the box office in 2019 as he is third in the list by raking in over Rs 396 crore with three releases (“Total Dhamaal”, “Housefull 4” and “Marjaavaan”). Then there is Tiger Shroff (Rs 387.020 crore) for “Student of the Year 2” and “War”.
Superstar Salman Khan is fifth in the list with total of over Rs 356 crore (for two films — “Bharat” and “Dabangg 3”), who is followed by actor Ayushmann Khurrana with business of Rs 324.520 crore (“Article 15”, “Dream Girl” and “Bala”).
“Akshay comes out with four films in a year — that is why he can reach a new target. It is difficult for one individual with one release in a year to get that figure. He played smart by picking up different subjects… The choice of scripts were good. If we see, ‘War’ and ‘Dabangg 3’, individually did good. But Akshay comes with more films so he can get to that figure. Also, hats off to audience who got that figure,” trade expert Rajesh Thadani told IANS while breaking it down.
“The others can do if they do more films, with one film it is tough… They will have to rework their strategy, probably, to reach that figure,” he added.
It was in 2015 when Salman established the “Rs 500 crore-in-a-year club” with the success of “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”. Bollywood’s eclectic Ranveer Singh joined Salman in the club in 2018, with the help of “Padmaavat” and “Simmba”.
“The number game keeps on changing… There will be consistency when stars give something different,” Adarsh noted.
And it’s not all about having more releases in a year.
“There has to be acceptance as well because overexposure can backfire. Akshay picks right projects, which are entertainers,” trade expert Vinod Mirani told IANS.
With films like “83”, “Baaghi 3”, “Angrezi Medium”, “Chehre”, “Radhe”, “Coolie No. 1”, “Laxmmi Bomb”, “Shamshera”, “Laal Singh Chaddha” and “Bachchan Pandey” in pipeline, Indian cinema in 2020 will be moving portrait of diverse stories, with projects led by superstars like Akshay, Aamir Khan and Salman set to clash at the box office.
The year 2020 will not only test the might of stardom, but also whether the Rs 700 crore-in-a-year club is here to stay or not.
“We can do better. But again one needs to focus on box office along with content… If you make art-house movie, then you can not expect to garner numbers. Our audience needs entertainment and that’s why you need to add entertainment into it,” Adarsh said. (IANS)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.