Commenting on the lukewarm response to "Laal Singh Chaddha", actor R Madhavan on Wednesday said filmmakers need to realise that they are catering to a "completely changed" audience who have consumed world-class content during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. At the teaser launch of his upcoming film "Dhokha - Round D Corner", the actor was asked to comment on the underwhelming performance of the recent big-ticket Hindi films, including the Aamir Khan-starrer "Laal Singh Chaddha".
The duo has previously shared screen space in "Rang De Basanti" and "3 Idiots".
"If we knew (why 'Laal Singh Chaddha' didn't work), we would all be making hit films. Nobody starts off thinking that we're making a wrong film. The intent, hard work behind it is just as intense as with every film that an actor works on or doesn't. So, all the big films that have been released... the intent was to make a good film and make it work," Madhavan told reporters.
The actor also reflected on the success of his directorial debut "Rocketry: The Nambi Effect", which was simultaneously shot in English, Hindi, Tamil and dubbed in Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
"I think the only big difference with my film is that I was lucky that mine was a biopic so it is not time agnostic. It would have worked at any time, irrespective of whether it was pre-COVID-19 or post-COVID-19," he said. A film not working was nobody's fault, added Madhavan.
"But other films which have come after COVID-19, you're playing to a completely changed, highly educated audience, highly exposed to world cinema. They're going to judge you with that sort of a yardstick. It is nobody’s fault. I think it is going to take us a little time to pull up our socks and make a screenplay that works very soon in theatres," he further said.
The 52-year-old actor also shared that he was asked to remake "3 Idiots" in Tamil, an offer he refused. "I don’t remake my films. I was asked to remake '3 Idiots' in Tamil, but I didn't do it. It is difficult for me, as an actor, to do a scene for the first time, and then to recreate it. It is impossible for me. There is comparison in remakes and the whole fun of doing a film goes away," he noted.
According to Madhavan, the audience will flock to the cinema halls to watch a film provided it is good, language no bar. "As far as south films are concerned, 'Baahubali 1', 'Baahubali 2', 'RRR', 'Pushpa', 'KGF: Chapter 1' and 'KGF: Chapter 2' are the only south Indian films that have done better than movies of Hindi film actors. It is only six films, we can't call it a pattern. If good films come, they'll work.
"Post COVID-19, people's liking and preferences have changed... So if we make the kind of films that people will watch, with the kind of films that are coming today, we'll have to become a little bit more progressive," he said. He also expressed disappointment over theatres being shut in parts of the country.
"Earlier people would go in a bus or taxi to a theatre but today they have a car or two-wheeler and there’s no parking place in theatres. Hence, because of infrastructure issues also theatres are getting shut and not just because a film is not doing well. So, just how these theatres are being shut, there will be new theatres that will come up with new infrastructure where there will be more screens.”
Producer Bhushan Kumar of T-Series, who was also present at the event, said filmmakers should opt for theatrical releases rather than OTT as that will lead to growth of more cinema halls. He also said a good film helps to revive the cinema business.
“Many people were taking the route of releasing films on OTT directly, including us because of COVID-19. The films should be given theatrical release because if a film does well in a theatre then only we can have more theatres. When we talk to exhibitors, the way films are not performing well and with some producers releasing films on OTT, theatres won’t be able to sustain for a long time or else they will keep shutting down. So, we need good content films,” said Kumar.
Darshan Kumaar said he hopes "Dhokha – Round D Corner" replicates the success of his last release, “The Kashmir Files”.
“I am getting a lot of love and that is the dream of every actor that they get love and their films turn out to be successful. I am grateful for all the love. Box office matters.
"I have been receiving a lot of offers and I have started and almost finished work on a film called ‘Kaagaz 2’, there are many offers. We hope this film is also loved as much as ‘Rocketry’, ‘The Kashmir Files’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ was,” he added.
Directed by Kookie Gulati, "Dhokha – Round D Corner" also stars Aparshakti Khurana and Khushalii Kumar. The T-Series production will be released in theatres on September 23.