There was a time, not so long ago, when the Indian film industry was brimming with anticipation for the release of the much-touted movie, AdiPurush. The film was shrouded in tremendous hype, largely fueled by its association with the universally revered Hindu epic, Ramayan. The film industry and the audience alike expected the movie to conquer the box office with staggering figures. However, the reality starkly contradicted this rosy expectation, resulting in a dramatic plummet in ticket sales and a searing audience rejection.
One of the foremost indicators of the film’s decline was the alarming 34% drop in its Sunday collection during the last week, followed by an unprecedented 77% decline in its Monday collection. The Hindi version of this high-budget project could only muster a meager INR 8 crores on Monday, dropping further to INR 5.15 crores on Tuesday. These figures were, in no uncertain terms, a dismal outcome for the movie.
In order to understand the reasons behind AdiPurush’s rapid downfall, we need to dissect several factors. These encompass controversial dialogues, misleading marketing tactics, and overconfidence in the film’s success due to its religious undertones.
- Controversial Dialogues: Manoj Muntasir, the writer of AdiPurush, attracted considerable ire from the audience due to his frequent media appearances where he attempted to defend the film’s contentious dialogues. Interestingly, Muntasir had previously criticized Deepika Padukone for donning an orange bikini in the movie ‘Pathan’, claiming that filmmakers should respect the nation’s sentiments. However, his stance seemed hypocritical when he, despite promising to adhere strictly to Ramayan, later asserted that AdiPurush was merely an ‘adaptation’ of the epic. This contradiction between his claims fueled the audience’s frustration, tainting the writer’s reputation and credibility.
- Misleading Marketing Tactics: The filmmakers of AdiPurush, including director Om Raut and Manoj Muntasir, initiated a massive media blitz to defend the film after the release of its underwhelming teaser. This, along with the promise of a comprehensive overhaul of the movie’s special effects, created an illusion of responsive filmmaking. However, despite the high-pitched promises, the changes made were negligible, giving the audience a distinct feeling of deception. The filmmakers’ attempt to shield the movie by associating it with religious sentiment was perceived as exploitative, causing skepticism among the audience.
- Overconfidence and Complacency: Om Raut’s previous success with ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ had set a high bar of expectations. However, his dismissive attitude towards criticism and overconfidence in his vision contributed to the audience’s disappointment in AdiPurush. Comparisons made with ace directors like SS Rajamouli and Sanjay Leela Bhansali added to the disillusionment.
Despite the presence of a popular star and a sacred epic as its core plot, the film’s creative liberties turned it into a convoluted mix of Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Planet of the Apes, which were far from a respectful adaptation.
While it is still uncertain whether this debacle will influence the upcoming epic projects by Nitesh Tiwari and others, the future of the Indian film industry post-AdiPurush will certainly make for a fascinating case study.