Friday January 17, 2020
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Time to Break Gender Stereotypes! Akshay Kumar’s Movies Now Emphasis More on Gender-Based Equality

The "Khiladi" star also spoke on the need to provide equal opportunities to children

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gender stereotypes, gender-based equality
Akshay Kumar is now attempting to break gender stereotypes. Flickr

Having dealt with taboo topics such as menstrual health and women’s sanitation though his films, Akshay Kumar is now attempting to break gender stereotypes. And he offers us some real life examples to emphasise the need for gender-based equality.

“There is a lady who manages the finances of her house, corporate finance and the finance of our country. She was in the Defence Ministry earlier. The change is happening,” said the actor at a promotional event of his upcoming film “Mission Mangal” here on Friday. He was referring to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has come to lead positions in the government, so far seen as strictly “male domains”.

Likewise, “Mission Mangal” chronicles the struggles of five women scientists as they embark on a mission to send a satellite to Mars. The characters have been essayed by Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Nithya Menon.

gender-based equality, gender-based stereotypes
The “Khiladi” star also spoke on the need to provide equal opportunities to children. Wikimedia Commons

However, Akshay is unwilling ready to call “Mission Mangal” a ‘women-oriented’ film. “I feel irritated when someone says it (a film) is a women-oriented subject. What do you mean by women-oriented? If we are equal, then there should not be anything as male-oriented or female-oriented, it should just be a film. That’s what I feel,” he said.

Akshay also revealed his intention behind choosing the subject. “I’ve made this film mainly for children so that they feel encouraged to become scientists. Scientist as a profession is not very likeable, but after ISRO’s launch of the Chandrayaan, people are becoming more aware of the need and importance of scientists. I hope this film conveys what a great profession it is,” said the actor who plays a scientist in the film.

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The “Khiladi” star also spoke on the need to provide equal opportunities to children. “Right from my childhood, I’ve seen parents who discourage a girl if she aspires to be a scientist or an engineer on the excuse that these are male-dominated professions. Instead, they encourage the child to become a doctor or a nurse or choose any other woman-dominated profession. Even our history books do not tell us stories of women, rather they emphasise mostly on men. I think the time has come to change this and the process has already started,” he added. “Mission Mangal”, directed by Jagan Shakti, hits theatres on August 15. (IANS)

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Bollywood’s 700cr Club: New Reality or One-time Strike?

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

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The #18to82 campaign
Actor Akshay Kumar. IANS

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 Kumar
Actor Akshay Kumar also reacts in the context of CAA protests. Wikimedia Commons

“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.

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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)