🙅 Public trust erodes
The repercussions of Adipurush's hugely negative feedback are quite concerning for an already ailing Bollywood industry, write Swati Goel Sharma and Sanjeev Newar in Swarajya.
Context: Every aspect of the Prabhas-starrer has been slammed, from its pedestrian dialogue and lacklustre acting to subpar visual effects and unaesthetic costumes.
Social media has been inundated with derisive memes and furious outbursts against Adipurush.
Audiences argue that the film fails to capture the essence of the source material — the great epic of Ramayana — and lacks the reverence and depth expected from the adaptation of a sacred text.
Even professional movie critics, evaluating the film solely on its entertainment value and business potential, have labelled it a “disappointment”.
Bollywood sinking? Fair to say, Adipurush has further eroded public trust in Bollywood when it comes to cultural sensitivity and portrayal of Hindu scriptures and figures.
Swarajya has previously written on how the portrayal of Lord Ram has been unflattering in Bollywood since at least the 1950s.
Notable films like Awaara and Chhalia depicted Lord Ram as responsible for wife abandonment and betrayal.
As social dramas made way for masala films in the 1970s and 1980s, mocking Lord Ram became the norm.
Ramlila, a traditional dramatic reenactment of the Ramayan, became a source of laughter, with scenes deliberately portraying Lord Ram and Lakshman as beaten and humiliated characters.
The industry’s negative portrayal of Lord Ram seems perplexing, considering the unprecedented success of the TV series Ramayan, which captivated audiences across India.
Flipping the script. Bollywood has also been elevating the status of Ravan, often portraying him as an underdog hero.
Films like Raavan and Bhavai (previously titled Ravan Leela) present Ravan sympathetically and question Lord Ram's greatness.
The initial criticism directed at Adipurush in 2020 was also over this growing trend as Saif Ali Khan, who plays Ravan, indicated that the film would justify Ravan's abduction of Sita and present him as humane.
The statement ignited concerns even before the release of the teaser two years later, which then faced heightened scrutiny from viewers.
The disappointment ultimately was palpable.
Bollywood can't deliver quality? It also seems like the industry has yet again failed to deliver high-quality storytelling and technical expertise that justifies the audience’s time and investment.
Recent films that seemed to ride on the nationalistic wave, Ram Setu and Samrat Prithviraj, also left the audience disappointed because of the poor screenplay, acting, and dialogues.
Shadow over Bollywood biz. After Adipurush's release, shares of PVR-Inox shares declined nearly 3 per cent on Friday.
While the box-office fate of Adipurush is yet to be determined, the film's initial criticism sends a warning signal for other big-ticket movies slated for release this year.
These include Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani featuring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, Animal featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Jawan and Dunki featuring Shah Rukh Khan, and Tiger 3 featuring Salman Khan.
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