Actor Anupam Kher says the Hindi film industry is going through a transitory period currently as the post-Covid movie watching audience can see through films which they find “fake”. The actor, who has been in the industry for nearly four decades and has been a part of more than 500 films, says it is time for artistes to pause and “rethink” how they want to procced.
This year, only a handful of Hindi films have worked at the box office, including Kher’s The Kashmir Files, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Brahmastra, with biggies like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar faring poorly at the box office.
When asked if there is anything the Hindi film industry is not getting right, Kher said, “I think people have changed in the last two years. With the Covid and lockdown, the audience has gone through a change. Anything that is fake doesn’t touch them, anything that is real, they will go for it.
“It is a good churning for us. We need to rethink. People have gone through their own tragedy, trauma, fears. So, they won’t like anything fake today. If is film is made with honesty, from the heart, it will resonate with the audience. In these two years, they also got to see a lot of world cinema. They have a choice now.”
Citing an example of his own film Uunchai, Kher said the film’s trailer was received well, sans any negativity. The upcoming Sooraj Barjatya directorial also stars Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani and Parineeti Chopra among others.
“Today, whatever we post, there is some negative comment. But for Uunchai, I didn’t see a single negative comment. No one even wrote, ‘Ye teen buddhe kya karege’ (What will these three old men do in a film). This is the purity of the film which has reached out. People have understood ‘ye bande sahi hai’ (These guys are nice). This is instinctive.”
While the Hindi film industry is battling poor box office, it is also routinely subjected to social media hate. Aamir’s Laal Singh Chaddha, Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer Brahmastra, Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandha braved intense online negativity. When asked if he senses that the industry is up against a lot of negativity, Kher said, “I don’t think. It is a great churning period and at the end of it, it will benefit Hindi cinema.”
Kher said this year, two of his films have emerged as blockbusters, with The Kashmir Files clocking Rs 350 crore and the Telugu mystery-adventure Karthikeya 2 earning Rs 130 crore. The Kashmir Files, which chronicled the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley during the early phase of the armed insurgency, received strong political support with several states, including Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, declaring it tax-free.
“If it is a good film, it will do well. Karthikeya 2 is the biggest example. It opened in 50 cinema halls in Hindi and by the end, it reached 2000 screens. Same with Kantara. Why is it happening? Because it is something genuine. If you look at it, and I say it proudly, The Kashmir Files did Rs 350 cr, Karthikeya 2 did 130 crore. I am riding on Rs 480 crore right now! So, I am rocking,” he added.