Editor’s Comment: ‘Haider’ vs ‘Bang Bang’ – Which Film Are YOU Hedging Your Bets On?
Filmmaking is a risky proposition. It’s a crowded market and with piracy, torrents and streaming online at an all time high, films have to ensure they grab maximum eyeballs right at the very onset and as soon as they release.
Which is why it often baffles me, when two or more producers in a battle of wits, secure a release date that will inevitably hit the business and profitability of their cherished projects, films that they’ve literally poured their blood, sweat and tears into.
Occasionally, when two big films release on the same day, they are able to make their individual marks and score at the box office (Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar, Lagaan and Gadar, Dil and Ghayal, Fashion and Golmaal Returns), but more often than not, one film scores above the other with producers seeing red, and going on to regret their respective decisions subsequently (cases in point: Saawariya vs Om Shanti Om, Don vs Jaaneman, All The Best vs Blue and Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, Golmaal 3 vs Action Replayy, et al).
This year’s big clash is coming next month in the form of Hrithik-Katrina’s ridiculously titled Bang Bang and Vishal Bhardwaj’s far more sensible and intelligent looking adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the intense looking Haider.
As they stand, both films seem to have made their mark in the form of attractive trailers and captivating song promotions, but undoubtedly, one of the two (or both) films are going to rue their decision of hitting the marquee on the same day – 2 October 2014. Priyanka Chopra’s boxing biopic Mary Kom was supposed to vye for the audience’s attention on the same date, but producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, quite wisely, pre-poned the film’s release date, leaving the arena wide open for the box office battle of the year: Hrithik Roshan vs. Shahid Kapoor. Makes perfect business sense, given that a solo heroine didn’t stand a chance against actors who have a devout fan following.
So which film is going to leave the competition eating dirt next month? Vishal Bhardwaj must be pretty darned confident of Haider if he’s pitted it against what looks like the far more commercially viable Bang Bang, an adaptation of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz dud Knight And Day. Although, why anybody would want to remake that film is beyond me given that it proved to be a colossal failure at the box office when it released back in 2010.
With that in mind, we list the pros and cons of each film highlighting what they have going for them, and why they may score over the other in the weeks to come:
Haider – The Pros:
- Enticing theatrical trailer: For some reason, the trailer of Haider is far more appealing than the one for Bang Bang. It looks intriguing, gripping, out of the box and promises never before, stellar performances from its principal cast comprising of Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon and Irrfan Khan.
- Kashmir: Shooting in the troubled, snowcapped valleys of the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, whereby the setting serves as a character in itself, is enough to grab anyone’s attention given that the beauty of the area has to a large extent, remained unexplored. If the story bores, at lease the visuals of an area we may never get to visit will grab our attention!
- Shakespeare: The film is an adaptation of Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet — the author's longest play and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature. It will undoubtedly have content and layered characters and promises performances to die for, if the early buzz for the film is anything to go by.
- The untried combo of Shahid-Shraddha: Shahid Kapoor has a fan base that refuses to fade irrespective of the duds he keeps smacking across our faces. He’s definitely talented which is why he’s still going strong and from the trailers at least, it looks like him and Shraddha make for an interesting pair – audiences always want to see how a new pair and how their chemistry will pan out on screen.
- Shraddha Kapoor: Shakti Kapoor’s doe eyed daughter is on a roll after a shaky start and she too has her fair share of followers. She’s talented and breathtakingly beautiful, and she looks like she’s delivered something meaningful and substantial here. I for one am quite keen to see her as a Kashmiri journalist, Arshia and how she fits into Haider’s life and moves the plot along.
- Tabu's comeback: Undoubtedly one of the more talented actresses of the 90s, Tabu makes a comeback with this film. And her role looks spectacular – if anything, she has almost as much prominence as the film's hero Shahid, and I can't wait to see how director Vishal has utilised her volcanic talent.
Haider – The Cons:
- Off beat/Lack of masala: Perhaps the biggest thing going against Haider is that it looks like an off beat, arty film, and while critics love films like that, audiences seem less keen on giving films like Haider the time of day on the off chance that they might be too grim, dark and not very family friendly.
- Shahid Kapoor: Despite his obvious talent, that one huge hit still eludes this gifted actor. He’s given some unforgettable performances, but nothing succeeds like success, and even though his last film R… Rajkumar turned the tide slightly, he still doesn’t have that one outright stonking, Rs. 100 crore film which he can claim his stakes on. Will Haider turn the tide?
- Vishal Bhardwaj: This man is undoubtedly talented, but in a similar vein, he doesn’t have that one big hit he can boast of. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola was a disaster at the box office and while Kaminey and Omkara were cult films in their own right, they didn’t really set the box office ablaze.
Bang Bang – The Pros:
- Polished slickly packaged product: If a project is backed by Fox, it's bound to have a reign free budget. From its teaser and songs, Bang Bang looks great and all set to take a winning shot at the box office. The general consensus with this project is that it… Just. Cannot. Fail.
- Hrithik Roshan: With a few bumper hits behind him, Bang Bang looks like it hones all of Hrithik’s advantages – from his looks, ability to perform daredevil stunts, and making the mundane look plausible, director Sidharth Anand seems to have used all of the actor's advantages and put them to great use.
- Katrina Kaif: Katrina looks smoking hot in the film and has a die hard fan base regardless of the fact that she can barely act for nuts. That and the fact that she has an unprecedented box office track record, works majorly in this film's favour.
- Hrithik-Katrina’s scorching chemistry: If the clips of this film are anything to go by, their chemistry in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was merely the tip of the iceberg. The actors looks simply fabulous together, and audiences are known to be fickle. They’ll let a sub standard product pass, if the lead pair look good, and by peek we've had of them in Bang Bang, there’s clearly not going to be any problem in that department.
Bang Bang – The Cons:
- Did anyone see a f….d up film called Anjaana Anjaani? It ended Ranbir’s winning streak in 2010, and even Priyanka who usually does no wrong, was slated in the film for her inconsistent, hammy performance. So dependable Sidharth Anand is most definitely not, and that could work against the film and undo it to a large extent.
- Knight and Day sucked. Tom Cruise was too old for the part and he had zero chemistry with the usually likeable Diaz. Of all the films why did they choose to remake this travesty? We'll never know.
- Colossal expectations: An audience can be ruthless as it can be fickle. If you feed them a trough full of BS, they’ll snub your film entirely. Word spreads quickly in the very digital world we live in so this film runs the risk of buckling under its own expectations.
- Sub standard content: You may have a great looking lead pair, amazing stunts, scenic locations, catchy music, the works, but no amount of dazzle can take away from a coherent script. Lets hope they’ve worked on the original script and its not just a rehash of Knight and Day. If it is they’re in trouble.
- Katrina Kaif: Three Words: She. Can't. Act. Period.
At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer of content being king. Part of me really wishes these films hadn’t clashed. However strong its content, I’m inclined to say that Haider might suffer purely on the basis of its packaging, and given that the film looks all set to knock it out of the park, it seems a darned shame they decided to pitch it against Bang Bang – a film that seems to have so many odds stacked in its favour.
Which film are YOU hedging your bets on? Haider or Bang Bang? Let us know below!